New to UAV Coach


Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone . . . I am a professional photographer (www.studio63.us) and just breaking into the world of aerial photography.  I intend to use my Mavic Pro Platinum to shoot cinema films for weddings and to shoot real estate listings.  I do need to get my FAA Part 107 pilots license . . . any thoughts on a good process to get ready for that?  I see there are a ton of educational programs out there; any thoughts on your experience with these programs?  Has anyone just watched the videos online and passed the test without taking one of the educational programs.  I would appreciate your feedback.  (Frank)

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Studio 63, welcome to our community (and the drone industry)!

Big fan of the Mavic Pro Platinum. Packs a powerful punch for such a small and portable bird.

When it comes to Part 107 test prep, there are many ways to study. Online programs like ours (and RemotePilot101, DroneLaunchAcademy, DARTdrones, etc.), $20 test prep books on Amazon, iPad apps with test questions, 3DR's free test prep portal, the FAA's study guide, YouTube, cheap Udemy courses and I'm sure a few more I haven't seen yet.

You could probably get away with just watching some YouTube videos and passing, but what I've found is that a lot of that information is just about passing and not much more. And a lot of the test questions / industry information is out-of-date. Stuff like airspace authorization, applying for a Waiver, and really understanding the nuances of Class E airspace.

If you're leaning toward a more premium online course, I think the two biggest things to consider are:

  • Time saved. You're being told exactly what to study, and through online learning best practices — like a video with motion graphics and dynamic illustrations, lesson notes broken up into digestible chunks, on-going quizzes, full-length (and timed) practice tests with real FAA test questions, knowledge gap reporting, etc. — you'll be able to digest the information much more effectively.
  • Real world support. The FAA has done an OK job with the test, but they leave out so much of what's happening in the real world. We do a lot of 1:1 support with our students, helping them understand what systems to buy, what software to consider, where people are getting jobs, etc. And we have bonus lessons in topics the FAA doesn't necessarily teach you on. Things like Flight Operations Management, Legal Considerations, Real Estate Marketing, and Drone Insurance. It's a more premium price to enroll in a course like ours, but you get a real person on the phone to speak with.

To answer your question more directly....yes, I've spoken with a number of folks who have self-studied using the FAA's website (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/part_107/remote_pilot_cert/) and YouTube. It's definitely possible. But anecdotally, I believe the majority of the 100,000 FAA-certified pilots have used some kind of test prep program. That's not just based on our own students, but looking through other industry forums, FB groups, and folks I've connected with at conferences and other industry events.

Hope this helps and happy studying! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Alan Perlman said:

@Studio 63, welcome to our community (and the drone industry)!

Big fan of the Mavic Pro Platinum. Packs a powerful punch for such a small and portable bird.

When it comes to Part 107 test prep, there are many ways to study. Online programs like ours (and RemotePilot101, DroneLaunchAcademy, DARTdrones, etc.), $20 test prep books on Amazon, iPad apps with test questions, 3DR's free test prep portal, the FAA's study guide, YouTube, cheap Udemy courses and I'm sure a few more I haven't seen yet.

You could probably get away with just watching some YouTube videos and passing, but what I've found is that a lot of that information is just about passing and not much more. And a lot of the test questions / industry information is out-of-date. Stuff like airspace authorization, applying for a Waiver, and really understanding the nuances of Class E airspace.

If you're leaning toward a more premium online course, I think the two biggest things to consider are:

  • Time saved. You're being told exactly what to study, and through online learning best practices — like a video with motion graphics and dynamic illustrations, lesson notes broken up into digestible chunks, on-going quizzes, full-length (and timed) practice tests with real FAA test questions, knowledge gap reporting, etc. — you'll be able to digest the information much more effectively.
  • Real world support. The FAA has done an OK job with the test, but they leave out so much of what's happening in the real world. We do a lot of 1:1 support with our students, helping them understand what systems to buy, what software to consider, where people are getting jobs, etc. And we have bonus lessons in topics the FAA doesn't necessarily teach you on. Things like Flight Operations Management, Legal Considerations, Real Estate Marketing, and Drone Insurance. It's a more premium price to enroll in a course like ours, but you get a real person on the phone to speak with.

To answer your question more directly....yes, I've spoken with a number of folks who have self-studied using the FAA's website (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/part_107/remote_pilot_cert/) and YouTube. It's definitely possible. But anecdotally, I believe the majority of the 100,000 FAA-certified pilots have used some kind of test prep program. That's not just based on our own students, but looking through other industry forums, FB groups, and folks I've connected with at conferences and other industry events.

Hope this helps and happy studying! 

Thanks for the information and the welcome to UAV Coach, Alan. (Frank)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Studio 63 and welcome to the forum.

Here's some thoughts regarding your pending transition from terrestrial to aerial photographer.  

Like any business you have several choices where your going to hang your hat - what's your value proposition.  Some photographers focus on creating a look and a style they can charge more money for, some are more efficient and charge less but offer more.  Generally speaking you can do one but not both.  The first is high touch, high quality low volume which is antithetical to the second.

It appears from your photography that you've chosen to create a style your clients would appreciate.  I'd go as far as to say that, and I do this just for my own amusement, your using some pretty nice full frame 50Mp Canon 5DSR or Sony A7RIII hardware.  My point is your not using a GoPro.  

From a photographers perspective a MAVIC of any flavor is less than a GoPro.  Everything is infinity, crappy 8bit compression which although they claim some outlandish dynamic range by the time you clean it up to add to something that's shot with a real camera there's just nothing left.  

People will offer up all kinds of "great" video shot with a MAVIC, sure looks good if the only place your going to look at it is Youtube but anywhere else - not so much.

I realize this sounds like a downer but keep in mind that when you buy that MAVIC and you want to compete for real estate gigs and weddings that your potentially opening your already existing business up to everyone with a MAVIC and a 107.  Not sure how you use any drone for a wedding shoot, but with DJI it doesn't start to get interesting until the X5 with interchangeable lenses but you need an Inspire and if your going there you might as well use an Inspire2 with an X7 but then your pushing $15K.

At least some 15 year old pinhead won't show up to steal your clientele.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chuck . . . Your thoughts were most appreciated.  Professional photography is loaded with 15 year old pinheads that don't necessarily steal your images but they undermine your pricing. I find today that couples choose their photographers based on price first and quality later.  Then there is Uncle Joe that has a "really good camera" and can shoot the wedding!  Who needs a professional?

The low end of the market is very hard to compete with, and, as a professional, something that I really have no desire to do.  Yes, those "guys with cameras" are busy every weekend, but sooner or later the couple will realize that you "get what you pay for".  Perhaps you have heard the same story.  Even my #2 shooter went the "cheap" route years ago . . . and she dearly paid for it in terms of what she received.

I am slowly building Studio 63 (www.studio63.us) into the higher end market and yes, shooting with full frame Nikon DSLRs.  My drone photography is a personal adventure and will be transferable into my business.  I shoot Cinema Films for weddings and I anticipate the Mavic will do well as a beginning.  That Inspire2 has been on my wish list, but not on my budget list.  Then again, by the time I am ready for it, there will be something new and a little further on the end of the stick.

Again, I appreciate your thoughts . . . keep in touch.

All the best,

Frank

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Frank!  

Alan is too modest.  Go for Drone Pilot Ground School.  

The test itself wasn’t that difficult (and the pass rate is very high), so anything can prep you to pass.  DPGS will fully prepare you.

I chose DPGS because I thought it was well put together and comprehensive beyond the basics to pass a test.

Upon completing the course, and passing the test easily, I really believe in DPGS.  It covered so much more than I merely needed to know.  The format - video, transcription, printable notes - helped all my personalities types learn the material.  I gained a lot of appreciation for the many nuances to be a safe pilot.

I’m no drone pro, just learning a lot and enjoying it.  May do a bit commercially at some point.  But between the school and this forum - you’ve found a good spot.

Best of luck!  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings Frank,

And welcome to the forum.

I have a single piece of advice for preparing for the Part 107 Knowledge Test:

Ennroll in the Drone Pilot Ground School course.

Period.  There is no better course offering or test-passing rate anywhere.

Kind regards,

Jay Burnham

NorthShoreDroneServices.com

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just signed on. Up from P1, P3, now fairly new at P4 and looking at stretching its distance legs. Former F4 pilot with a bit of Vietnam time.  Sometimes find the drones more of a challenge and still grappling with the fact that had we had GPS at that time and even later, a lot of equipment and time spent would be just extra weight.  Not an expert flying these things, but would like to fly longer distances, instruments only. Can that be done reasonably with current or other ac’s? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on how serious you are about flying long distances.  There’s no real magic to flying long distances, however there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  

First is the obvious fact that flying beyond line of sight is illegal.  I’m not an FAA official but I also don’t want to be accused of encouraging anyone to break the law. It’s quite easy to extend the range of the electronics, video downlink, primary flight telemetry and data (up to 26Mb/s) to about 25km for about $1000. There’s some latency with the video but not much more than there is on a MAVIC but enough that it’s not a good idea to be flying FPV.  

Also, the P4 is not self aware.  The standoff distance for obstacle avoidance is measure in feet, fine if you your flying slowly — which is why it doesn’t work in sport mode, and you don’t want to run into a mountain but not something you should trust to detect powerlines or other moving objetcts.  There is no redundancy for primary flight, video downlink, or telemetry.  If you have a problem with a motor a quad crashes and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Same is true if your flying line of sight but at least there you can see what it hits walk over and pick it up.  Things get rather exciting when your beyond line of sight and you lose your video feed.  All you can do then is hit the RTH button and wait to reaquire the video signal or until you can hear the drone and find where it is visually.  

Working with the Navy, on a test range over the ocean we can fly up to 10 miles, but there’s a lot more to it than extending the range of the avionics to be able to fly those distances safely.  As a science project to collect empirical data it’s interesting but we don’t see much of a need for it in the near future to make the development of it worth doing.  

Something else to consider is that DJI’s implementation of GEO Fencing is buggy, often times you can be flying in an area where there is no restriction and it thinks there is.  If your flying long distances across or near NFZ boundaries what’s the P4 going to do?  It’s  not uncommon for it to stop, hover in place (waiting to be told what to do?) and if your signal strength is low because of the distance you might not be able to control it and you won’t know where it’s going to land when gravity takes over.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.