Recommended Posts

Good morning everyone in Drone land! My name is Sean and I'm new to this site and just wanted to introduce myself and see about building connections and career paths here at uavcoach.com. A brief  (I'll do my best) history about me and where I'm at now. I chose to have my career be a drone operator just over a year ago when I realized I could make my hobby long term and be paid to do it. I did the leg work to see what it would take to become an "official drone pilot"  (as everyone says). I ended signing up with a "drone school" that promised me I would leave totally educated on everything drone and be a "certified drone pilot" (sounded pretty official). Well...about 3 months later I received my computer printed "Drone Pilot Certificate" (sadly not FAA acknowledged) reminiscent of the ones you got for being a good boy in pre-school, a $5000 debt to pay off, and pretty much no more education and flight skills than I already had. Oh and the school promised to hook you up with jobs and possible perminent employment (over 9 months and nothing yet...not even a check in call). Unfortunately I fell into the pit of people who where fooled about "official" drone flight schools and lack of any legal way of becoming a "drone pilot" since the FAA had yet to do so (107 looking hopeful or at least a good start). Fast foward to today...I currently have been doing jobs in real estate, commercial, and little here there things but nothing consistently. I am almost 4 months past my promised delivery date of my 333 (shocking right?) and am enrolled in real ground school to obtain my pilots license or 107 once it becomes a little more clear. I would love to meet some people to work with or just simply chat about maneuvering through this industry. I think I'm going to be going the "working for the man" route since I need stability and have a family to support. But....I am open to consistant solo work if I can make it successful. I'm sure I'm not alone in my stories and would love to build some new relationships in this industry. I believe working together can build this new world into something great. I hope I didn't draw this out too much and hope to get some communication going in this community! Thanks again and fly safe! Oh and I apologize for the excessive "quotation" abuse! :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sean--good to meet you.  I have similar goals of flying drones commercially.  Also looking forward to 107 certification becoming available soon!  Right now I'm close to retirement from the military (almost 19 years) and would like to start an aerial video services business on the side to see where it goes.  Thank you for the lessons learned...!  Good luck.

Jason Taylor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome @Industry Drone Systems,

Glad to have you here, sorry that it has been a rocky path to find us but you are in a great community. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, sorry to hear that the certification program was  a let down and that money could have been spent on your pilots license.  Out of curiosity when did you apply for the fabled 333 exemption? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the welcoming. As far as my 333 went...we sent in the documentation on November 17th of 2015. I got my comment tracking number on January 7th 2016. The guy who was doing it for me said it was filed faster than he's ever seen. But shockingly now I'm still waiting and it's going on 2 months past due. I have contacted the FAA multiple times and get the same response back. "from time of filing on January 7th it will take less than 120 days to process and receive your exemption". So...now I contact them that it's past due and I get more or less..."don't contact us we'll contact you". Gotta love it. No problem FAA I'll just put my entire career on hold while you get your s*#& together. Funny thing is I have yet to work with or know of any pilots that are taking the 333 seriously. It's like warning people that the drone police will get you but there aren't any enforcing it unless you're a 'Skypan' level outfit making millions....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what's scary. I'm trying to be ahead of the curve and 107 might saturate the market. The guys I know have all concurred though that even with 107 you might be better off getting your pilots license as well because it can put you in possibly a "more attractive" position to companies wanting to hire experienced operators. It still scares the hell out of me that I'm going to miss the bus in this industry of trying to be set before the "big bang" of the industry when things become more streamlined...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal opinion is that market saturation will take a while as this is an emerging market that has been slowed by regulation, and the natural tendency should be that growth in the industry will match or exceed the new providers that are entering with part 107. As we seek out new and novel uses for drones, the market should expand as well. Now i cannot guarantee matching growth, but it should help to alleviate the immediate saturation effect. As with all business it will become even more important to differentiate yourself to potential clients; being able to soften pain points they have while also being able to show your self in a unique light that helps you provide services for your niche. 

This may also create a driving force in the market for some smaller companies to consolidate into larger ones focusing on volume driven revenue models. As they begin to form larger companies the need for pilots to work for them should also increase; which in theory should help to create jobs in the market. Don't forget that there is a lot of other work, aside from flying, that comes with being a professional drone pilot, people only tend to think about the time that they will be in the air and forget to factor in the time to keep detailed records and report to the FAA monthly, maintenance, pre and post flight work, When you break it down you will find that actually flying is a very small percentage of a successful business. This will be a wake up call to a lot of those who are dreaming about just going out and flying, without considering what their day to day experiences will be like.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very true RemotelyPossible. In addition stands the fact that I believe like many other new industries there's a surge, plateau, and drops. Alot of people are going to give this a shot and decide not to continue, loose interest, or just find it not financially feasible. I don't have enough fingers and toes of the amount of people I've talked to who's friends or family members have either purchased a drone or received one as a gift, gone up in the air and taken a picture and now find themselves being "professional drone photographers" and starting a business. I'm all for opportunities and following your dreams but things like that seem like they might become more spur of the moment or fad and will fade over time. 

Bigger companies coming into the market will definitely create more jobs and opportunities for us pilots. I think the challenge will be partnering or joining the right one. Just like most start ups alot don't stand the test of time. Finding the right one is daunting. This world is going to be quite an adventure to move through! I'm just gonna buckle in, do my homework, build relationships, and eventually decide what suit to wear on the cover of Forbes! ;)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great discussion guys. Welcome to the forum, @Industry Drone Systems. Sorry to hear about your negative experience, but it sounds like you've got a great head on your shoulders and are tackling this the right way. Look forward to hearing more about your progress along the way. Blue skies and safe flying!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @alanperlman. I know most of us are trying to pursue each building our own drone business but I think just as strong if not more is working as a unit. Hopefully working through forums, going to meets and conventions working all the angles will pay off and me as well as others will see the benefit of a good team.

  • Like 1

Share this post


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.