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My name is Alyssa, I've just been hired on as a director of operations to a company called Drone School Incorporated.  My job is to get this business up and running by the end of the year so im in charge of advertising, marketing, creating a syllabus etc.  My boss wants this to be a 3 hour classroom course and 2 hours of simulator time (we have the realflight drone simulator) eventually building up to use real drones for training.  We dont have a minimum or maximum age for this class since for now we are only going to be using a simulator.  I was an air traffic controller so i have a general idea of the rules and regulations regarding drones but thats about the extent of my knowledge.  My main question is what should I incorporate into the syllabus when i start putting this together.  If you guys could give me any feedback on this I would be extremely thankful.

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Hi Alyssa, great to meet you.

What are the goals of the company / course? When you boss wants this to be a 3-hour classroom course and 2 hours of simulator time, why those numbers / constraints? Hard to know what to incorporate into a syllabus without understanding the goals  purpose, so if you can share some more details there, hopefully we can help give you some good direction.

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The goal right now is just to teach people of all ages how to safely fly drones and give them a better understanding of the rules and regulations pertaining to drone use.  The time constraints are in place because my boss plans to try to reach out to parents who will be buying their kids drones and he thinks that anything longer than 3 hours wont be able to hold the attention of a teenager and even some adults.  Basically he wants to be able to bring in someone who knows absolutely nothing about drones and in 5 hours teach them how to not crash it, understand the rules to follow, and just have a better general knowledge about drones.

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Are you charging for that class?  If so, how much?  What kind of drones are you planning on using?  What types of drones is this targeted at?

Im the skeptic on this forum...  If this is targeted at consumers, keeping anyone's attention for more than five minutes is going to be tough.  Sorry but Phantoms, MAVIC's, and Spark's fly themselves.  Anyone who's played a video game will know how to operate it in less than five minutes.  Also, crashing is part of learning.

if it's a safety seminar for parents then I don't see why it would take more than an hour.  The reason most people break the rules has little to do with flying the drone, the allure is that it has a camera and YouTube is full of idiots trolling for click bait.  Unfortunately the more feedback they get on YouTube the more likely consumer drone operators are to take chances.

sorry, Alan don't take this the wrong way, but studying for the 107 is boring, but you have to do it.  Consumers don't have to take a class to buy a drone and go fly.  I'm not sure what sylibus you could use to attract enough customers to  be profitable? If it's a non profit then you might consider aligning you corriculum with a high school STEM program or local flying clubs.

But if your business model is to attract responsible parents, well that topic probably belongs in a whole different forum.  

 

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Helpful, thank you.

In that 3-hour classroom portion, I'd make sure to not only discuss rules / regulations, but to have a few systems the students can see, where you're walking through the differences between something like a Hubsan X4 or UDI model vs. a DJI Phantom 3/4 or DJI Inspire model. That'll help provide some context when you're discussing what these things can do, and why the rules / regulations matter.

I think it's also important to discuss industry opportunities. Help the students understand WHY they're sitting in the class, and what things look like now vs. what they looked like 5 years ago and what they could look like 5-10 years from now. Show real examples of companies / organizations using drones, there are plenty :)

Finally, I'd make sure to talk about not just flying, but the whole operation. One of the realities of flying drones commercially that not many people understand is that the actual flying only represents say, 10% of what you're actually doing. There's the airspace research, the pre-flight routine, the post-flight routine, the logging and maintenance, etc. Helping students adopt a pilot mindset around all of this stuff is something I'd focus on.

Hope that helps!

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3 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

sorry, Alan don't take this the wrong way, but studying for the 107 is boring, but you have to do it.

Not boring for everyone. Many of our students are fascinated by this stuff and attack the subject matter with gusto.

Agree re: aligning curriculum with high school STEM program.

Found some good resources / ideas over here:

https://www.k12irc.org/tools/drones.php

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I'll add my opinion to this thread. If you want to teach kids about drones have them build their own. Not only will it teach them how drones work but its a lot of fun. Also when they crash they will be able to repair it.

Edited by Spitfire76
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I think many part 107 holders and hobbyists have a hard time with where airspace is regulated and safe to fly - even with all the electronic tools out there to help. It is one thing to learn about airspace and restrictions on drones in general but it is hard to translate that into specific locations used by new pilots or newly minted part 107 holders. 

Using your drone simulator, especially if you have realistic local 2d/3d mapping capabilities built in - locate very specific locations pertinent to the students. For instance, is it ok to fly in the student's own yard? What if the students live in an apartment building - can they fly in their parking lot?  Next what about the local parks next to their houses? What about flying at popular scenic locations around your city or town. For instance if you wanted to fly a drone next to a cool looking bridge - can it be legally done and how can the flight be flown? What if you want to fly a drone along a beach and/or a river - can it be done and what authorizations need to be obtained? 

These scenarios can be developed to eventually include commercial applications - if someone wants you to inspect a specific building rooftop in your city - how can the flight be safely done and how to obtain the necessary authorizations.

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On 10/19/2017 at 11:25 AM, Av8Chuck said:

Are you charging for that class?  If so, how much?  What kind of drones are you planning on using?  What types of drones is this targeted at?

Im the skeptic on this forum...  If this is targeted at consumers, keeping anyone's attention for more than five minutes is going to be tough.  Sorry but Phantoms, MAVIC's, and Spark's fly themselves.  Anyone who's played a video game will know how to operate it in less than five minutes.  Also, crashing is part of learning.

if it's a safety seminar for parents then I don't see why it would take more than an hour.  The reason most people break the rules has little to do with flying the drone, the allure is that it has a camera and YouTube is full of idiots trolling for click bait.  Unfortunately the more feedback they get on YouTube the more likely consumer drone operators are to take chances.

sorry, Alan don't take this the wrong way, but studying for the 107 is boring, but you have to do it.  Consumers don't have to take a class to buy a drone and go fly.  I'm not sure what sylibus you could use to attract enough customers to  be profitable? If it's a non profit then you might consider aligning you corriculum with a high school STEM program or local flying clubs.

But if your business model is to attract responsible parents, well that topic probably belongs in a whole different forum.  

 

We do plan on charging for this class and for your other questions we really havent got that far yet. 

We are going to eventually work our way into training people on how to use drones for different professions such as photography, thermal imaging, surveying etc. But for now were really going to have to hope that some people want to learn about drones before flying them.

Were located in Jacksonville, FL and as of now I can only find one local flying club but thats more aimed toward flying model airplanes not drones.  Weve been looking into buying land to set up a drone flying club.

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22 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Helpful, thank you.

In that 3-hour classroom portion, I'd make sure to not only discuss rules / regulations, but to have a few systems the students can see, where you're walking through the differences between something like a Hubsan X4 or UDI model vs. a DJI Phantom 3/4 or DJI Inspire model. That'll help provide some context when you're discussing what these things can do, and why the rules / regulations matter.

I think it's also important to discuss industry opportunities. Help the students understand WHY they're sitting in the class, and what things look like now vs. what they looked like 5 years ago and what they could look like 5-10 years from now. Show real examples of companies / organizations using drones, there are plenty :)

Finally, I'd make sure to talk about not just flying, but the whole operation. One of the realities of flying drones commercially that not many people understand is that the actual flying only represents say, 10% of what you're actually doing. There's the airspace research, the pre-flight routine, the post-flight routine, the logging and maintenance, etc. Helping students adopt a pilot mindset around all of this stuff is something I'd focus on.

Hope that helps!

This is super helpful thank you!! 

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19 hours ago, Spitfire76 said:

I'll add my opinion to this thread. If you want to teach kids about drones have them build their own. Not only will it teach them how drones work but its a lot of fun. Also when they crash they will be able to repair it.

I hadnt thought about doing this but it is a really good idea and a great way to bring kids in. Thank you!

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1 hour ago, eColumbia99 said:

I think many part 107 holders and hobbyists have a hard time with where airspace is regulated and safe to fly - even with all the electronic tools out there to help. It is one thing to learn about airspace and restrictions on drones in general but it is hard to translate that into specific locations used by new pilots or newly minted part 107 holders. 

Using your drone simulator, especially if you have realistic local 2d/3d mapping capabilities built in - locate very specific locations pertinent to the students. For instance, is it ok to fly in the student's own yard? What if the students live in an apartment building - can they fly in their parking lot?  Next what about the local parks next to their houses? What about flying at popular scenic locations around your city or town. For instance if you wanted to fly a drone next to a cool looking bridge - can it be legally done and how can the flight be flown? What if you want to fly a drone along a beach and/or a river - can it be done and what authorizations need to be obtained? 

These scenarios can be developed to eventually include commercial applications - if someone wants you to inspect a specific building rooftop in your city - how can the flight be safely done and how to obtain the necessary authorizations.

I personally didnt know that doing local 2d/3d mapping was even an option but now that i know i think i will look into a different simulator than the one we have just to see whats out there.  It would not only be helpful for the students but moving forward it would be extremely helpful like you said in helping us plan out a safe flight for commercial use.

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23 minutes ago, Alan Perlman said:

Finally, I'd make sure to talk about not just flying, but the whole operation. One of the realities of flying drones commercially that not many people understand is that the actual flying only represents say, 10% of what you're actually doing. There's the airspace research, the pre-flight routine, the post-flight routine, the logging and maintenance, etc. Helping students adopt a pilot mindset around all of this stuff is something I'd focus on.

Hope that helps!

This is why there are so few, on a percentage basis, profitable drone companies.  How can you make money when your only doing the thing you get paid for 10% 0f your time!?

Granted, it will never be 100%, but it need to be a lot closer to 80% than 10%.  

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On 10/21/2017 at 12:24 PM, Av8Chuck said:

This is why there are so few, on a percentage basis, profitable drone companies.  How can you make money when your only doing the thing you get paid for 10% 0f your time!?

Granted, it will never be 100%, but it need to be a lot closer to 80% than 10%.  

I think an ideal scenario when starting out is to streamline a lot of those practices so they become habitual. Once you are able to start making money, hiring a virtual assistant or even an in-person assistant to gather all that information and have it ready for you frees you up to focus on flying and marketing.

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On 10/19/2017 at 11:32 AM, Alan Perlman said:

Not boring for everyone. Many of our students are fascinated by this stuff and attack the subject matter with gusto.

I think I was one of those freaks... lol

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On October 23, 2017 at 4:54 AM, Jason Clark said:

I think an ideal scenario when starting out is to streamline they become habitual  

When I retired from the entertainment industry i wanted to do something very different so I coached college football for seven seasons.  At that level a lot of my time was spent undoing the bad habits they were taught in high school.

And why does this have to be so complicated that we need to hire someone to streamline the process?  

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On 10/19/2017 at 8:25 AM,  Av8Chuck said: 

sorry, Alan don't take this the wrong way, but studying for the 107 is boring, but you have to do it.

Not boring for everyone. Many of our students are fascinated by this stuff and attack the subject matter with gusto.

Agree re: aligning curriculum with high school STEM program.

Found some good resources / ideas over here:

I'm one of Alan's students.   The day I decided to turn  my UAS  into a commercial business I couldn't stop thinking about it.  After signing up for Alan's course  I listened to and dissected every line with enthusiasm.  I wanted to know every aspect  of how to operate a  successful UAS business and what the FAA required me to know and do.   I went through Allen's course twice!  not because I didn't think I couldn't  pass the test the first time I went through it, but because I wanted to  devour  and master every aspect of this curriculum for my own knowledge and growth as UAS pilot. Lastly,  to run any business successfully there is a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears behind the scenes.  There is licensing, insurance, website advertising, promotions, accounting, maintenance, record keeping, login information and flight,s and  financial investing  just to name a few.  Flying is what we all thoroughly enjoyed doing. However if and when we decide to integrate that into a business we must take on the 90% behind the scenes.

 Safe and happy flying to all..

Edited by Derrick Ward

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2 hours ago, Derrick Ward said:

Flying is what we all thoroughly enjoyed doing. However if and when we decide to integrate that into a business we must take on the 90% behind the scenes.

Amen :)

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I don't think the issue is whether people enjoy flying drones, kind of a given.

Can you fly drones profitably?  Part 107 is a good framework for commercial operations but if it takes 90% of your time dealing with "behind the scenes" logistics then you can't. Losing money is never fun whether your flying a drone or not.

 

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If the question is...  can you fly drones profitably?   Then the answer is yes. But like with most businesses not everybody.  And you are right, the issue isn't whether people enjoy flying drones or not. The issue is a different one when you decide to fly for profit.  And like with any business the operations that takes up 90% of your time behind the scenes are the very operations that will make you or break you in your business  If not done correctly.  Part 107 actually gives you an advantage in creating a lucrative business flying drones. It helps separate the serious commercial pilot from the hobbyist. But flying drones is not what makes you money.  It's the very information or technology that you are handing over to the customer. How the customer receives that information does not matter to them.  To be successful consider these reasons below in building a successful business. 

  • You have a passion and love for what you'll be doing, and strongly believe -- based on educated study and investigation -- that your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace.
  • You have drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude. When others throw in the towel, you are more determined than ever.
  • Failures don't defeat you. You learn from your mistakes, and use these lessons to succeed the next time around. Studies of successful business owners have shown they attributed much of their success to "building on earlier failures;" on using failures as a "learning process."
  • You thrive on independence, and are skilled at taking charge when a creative or intelligent solution is needed. This is especially important when under strict time constraints.
  • You like -- if not love -- your fellow man, and show this in your honesty, integrity, and interactions with others. You get along with and can deal with all different types of individuals. 

 I can truly understand the frustration and legalities you point out.  We are in "one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history  of technology.  This UAS industry is growing so rapidly,  it is accelerating beyond anything I have seen since our cell phones became smart phones.  The successful UAV operator  will  have to continue to navigate their way through FAA regulations 's  and state governmental  authorities.

 

 

Safe and happy flying to all..

 

Edited by Derrick Ward

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If your in the drone business then flying drones IS what makes you money.  If you spend the majority of your time not flying, your losing money.  

In industrial applications although the value of drone services is generally NOT the act of flying the drone, if the drone isn't flying then it's not collecting the data that IS the value.  

Part107 is not much of a barrier to entry.  It only costs $150, there's no skills component and the test is not that difficult.   

 

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 Myself and thousands of other enthusiast are in the drone business.  And yes flying drones makes you money but the act of flying the drone alone won't make you a dime.  I spend most of my time behind the scene and very little flying. However I have found this to be very lucrative. Not just speaking for myself,  I am connected with  many others in the industry that are doing the same.  I agree with you that there is no skill component in passing the 107 test I'm pretty sure everybody agrees with you on that.   As far as it being not difficult, I guess that depends on the individual.  There is a lot of crucial information that is continually changing in that test.  For me the first time was very foreign.  I have several certifications in many different areas, I don't think part 107  Is something  I or anyone else should take lightly.

Edited by Derrick Ward

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