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5 Best Drone Training Schools & Academies

5 Best Drone Training Schools & Academies

Drone training academies train drone pilots. Are you brand new to flying drones and looking for some helpful information on how to fly? Or are you looking to take your passion to the next level and start your career as a drone pilot? Either way, there is a drone training course out there that can help you. If you are a beginner it is a good idea to buy a drone that is friendlier for beginners, but if you are looking to start a career you may want to consider a mid price range drone or high end drone.

Top Drone Training Academies

Some drone training courses are designed for more advanced pilots– those looking to fly commercially and who need certification, for example, and they cover topics such as FAA regulations, the science of aviation, ethical considerations regarding drone use, and more. For beginners, there are courses covering the basics of flying, videography, photography, and other topics of interest.

There are dozens of drone academies that offer courses on drones, both in person and online. In-person learning means you’ll get interactive, real-world experience, while online learning means you can go at your own pace, and you’ll never be subjected to a teacher droning on and on about a boring topic. (Get it?) To help you find the ones that best fit your needs, we’ve put together a list of the best drone training courses around.

Dart Drones

As the self-proclaimed nation’s leader in drone training, you may recognize Dart Drones from the TV show Shark Tank where they pitched their business to potential investors. They provide in-person drone training in 28 cities across America. Not to be confused with toy dart drones, Dart Drones academy has courses tailored to your goals, whether you want to become an enterprise pilot, start a drone business, aid in disaster response, or become an aerial photographer.

Their most popular course is the Professional Drone Pilot Package, which actually combines three courses into one. For $1649, you get a full day of in-person drone pilot training with a flight professional who educates you on the relevant equipment through a classroom session and hands-on practice.

The next in-person course is a day of training for the Part 107 Drone License exam. You can continue your study at home with six months of access to online study materials. The final component takes place online: courses on Real World Flight Planning and Execution. This consists of 14 scenario-based classes that help you plan for flight issues and emergency situations.

Options in Courses

If that’s more than you can commit to right off the bat, those three courses are available a la carte: In-Person Drone Pilot Training for $580, Part 107 License Test Prep for $670, and Online Real World Flight Planning and Education Course for $399.

A video based course (Drones for Beginners) offers One of Dart Drones’ more affordable options for $50 (on sale for $20 at the time this article was written). It answers common questions about drones, including FAA rules and regulations, things to consider when purchasing a drone, drone models and equipment, a guide to registering your drone, safety guidelines and checklists, and trends and projections in the professional drone industry.

They also offer a range of enterprise training programs geared towards companies and organizations. Their user-friendly website and large selection of courses makes Dart Drones a great place and one of the top drone training academies to start your drone education.

Drone Launch Academy

Drone Launch Academy is an online drone training school that has been trusted by industry leaders such as Microsoft, Sprint, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Amtrak, Keller WIlliams, Northrop Grumman, and countless media outlets and universities. This shows you how diverse of a course load they offer.

Their crown jewel is the Part 107 Remote Pilot Exam Prep Course, offered for $199. They are so confident in the success of this course that they guarantee you will pass your FAA exam on the first try or you’ll get your money back. They will even credit you back the $150 it costs to take the exam. No risk involved. Given the 99.02% pass rate of their 9,000+ students, they have reason to be confident.

Other courses offered include Aerial Photo Pro ($199) and Aerial Video A to Z ($397). If you’re new to working with drones with cameras, these courses may be of interest to you. Both programs will equip you with skills to take your professional camera work to the next level of skill and profitability.

The Drone Launch Academy website also offers a list of resources for all your professional drone pilot needs: job networks, drone insurance, drone repair, legal advice, flight management, drone mapping, flight automation, drone accessories, weather, and accounting. There is also a blog and podcast that contains helpful and interesting information for drone enthusiasts.

While their educational offerings are limited, if you’re looking for a no-fail way to prep for the Part 107 exam, this might be the best drone training academies for you.

King Schools

While their website is less friendly to navigate than some other schools, King Schools offers a number of online courses to help you become a better pilot. Founders John and Martha King have educated more than 500,000 pilots from beginner to pro in the aviation industry. Their three drone courses are offered at very affordable rates.

The Drone Pilot License Test Prep Course (to prepare for the Part 107 exam) is available for $129. It has a 5-star rating. The course is a collaboration between King Schools and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The AUVSI is the world’s largest nonprofit organization for unmanned systems.

Their work aims to foster, develop, and promote unmanned systems and technology. This course uses short video clips as an engaging way to digest information, then reinforces learning by answering questions in the style of the FAA exam. Another perk is the lifetime course access so you can go back and review at your leisure.

King Schools also offers a Recurrent Test Prep course for recertification of the Part 107 exam for $59. This course also includes lifetime access, which is helpful since pilot certifications come up for renewal every two years. They even offer a FREE course on how to fly drones in a controlled airspace, allowing you to try the school before purchasing the test prep course. If you’re on a budget and are looking to study up on basic drone piloting, you’ll find what you’re looking for at King Schools.

Drone U

Drone U represents all things drone-obsessed. The amount of information on this platform is overwhelming, but thankfully they’ve assembled it in a very comprehensive and organized way. They currently offer both online courses and in-person training, while an enterprise training program for companies is forthcoming. You can search for in-person trainings by subject matter and geographical location.

The folks at Drone U know what they’re talking about– they literally wrote the book on the drone lifestyle. “Livin’ The Drone Life” is an Amazon bestseller by Drone U teacher Paul Aitken on how to fly safe, fly right, and build your business as a new or seasoned drone pilot.

All Access for $47

To access the wealth of online courses, you need a subscription. For one monthly rate of $47 (or a discounted rate of $470 per year), you have access to any and every course you’d like to take. This includes a full Part 107 test prep program (both for the initial and recurring exam). They have an extensive course library that they claim is constantly being updated.

The wealth of information on this website is divided into easy-to-digest modules by subject: beginners, drone systems, flying technique, photography, videography, business & commercialization, motion & cinematography, industries, optics, certified pilot, and legality. Subcategories break down each module. Within each subcategory is a list of podcasts, videos, webinars, resources, articles, and live streams.

Current offerings include:

  • beginner and advanced mapping
  • FAA test prep
  • launching a drone business
  • using photography filters
  • night photography
  • tracking fast-moving subjects
  • and many more.

The courses are all online, so you can access them at any time and in any order. It’s easy to get lost in this black hole of drone information. The realty is Drone U offers the most training for the lowest price of all the drone training academies. If you’re a drone enthusiast this feels a bit like heaven.

The FAA

You have to get certified through this governing body anyway. Who better to prepare you for FAA certification than the FAA itself? This material isn’t quite as engaging as some of the other drone training courses. The FAA does offer training information related to certification. The FAA also hosts drone-related webinars.  They also offer a number of community engagement tool kits to help you learn.  This yields the best use of your drone in a variety of situations.

To get information straight from the source, check out publication FAA-S-ACS-10A. It is also called “Remote Pilot — Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Certification and Recurrent Knowledge Testing) Airman Certification Standards.” It’s available to download for free through the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Simply stated, it lists the knowledge standards for aeronautical certification.

It discusses the safety management system (SMS) framework. The SMS has four components: safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion. Topics covered in service to these safety objectives include:

  • regulations
  • airspace classification and operating requirements
  • weather
  • loading and performance
  • operations

Since this information comes directly from the governing body giving the exam. You can bet the test will cover this information.  You will likely get material in the same type of language. This may be the best way to get use to the phrases and abbreviations on test. The FAA doesn’t release any actual exam questions for review purposes.

Drone Training Academies Wrap Up

No matter how much you know, there is always more to learn. From taking the certification exam to start your hobby or career as a drone pilot to exploring the minutiae of complicated equipment and technique, there is a course out there for you. There will always be new photography filters to master, apps to sync up with, and advanced drones to pilot.  We highly recommend that if you are a beginner you should consider the purchase of a less expensive drone that is ideal for beginners, but if you are moving toware a career as a drone pilot you may want to consider a mid price range drone or high end drone so you can perform at a higher level. Drone pilot journey covered for all levels. The training courses on this list cover everyone (all levels).

Hal Simmons

When I first started flying drones I was always afraid of damaging my drone. I would always be thinking what if. I questioned myself often and as a result it made me question various aspects of flying drones. In the process I learned a lot. This is why I feel I have a lot of information that will be helpful to beginners and intermediate drone enthusiasts. Of course I still have a lot to learn so join me on this journey and I am sure you will enjoy the adventure ahead of us.

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