Having a drone can be extremely fun, allowing you to take jaw-dropping videos and photos from places you can't naturally reach. However, drones can be over overwhelming and confusing for new pilots when they haven't had training or received tips from a professional. Taking a hands-on drone training classes is an excellent way to learn and hone your skills as a pilot.
There are numerous guides on the internet that can help you learn how to play with your new gadget. However, some people prefer having a hands-on training class to learn alongside others. There are hundreds of hands-on training classes taught throughout the US. How will you decide which one is best for you?
What Are Drone Training Classes?
Drone training classes are courses that teach pilots how to operate a drone or learn new skills. All courses vary, depending on the school, company, or independent instructor that is teaching. There are varying topics and course titles offered too. Generally speaking, drone training classes will educate you on how to best fly a drone and teach best safety practices while giving hands-on advice on ways to avoid accidents.
Additional classes will teach you more advanced skills, including how to use your drone to capture incredible video or photos, and even how you can use your quadcopter professionally to help emergency service providers across the country. It is important to understand that you will need basic knowledge of how to use a drone first, and may need to possess an FAA license before you can take any of the more advanced training courses.
Why You Should Consider Taking a Hands-on Class
There are several reasons why you should consider taking an in-person training class. First, doing so will help you gain a strong foundation of the basic knowledge and skills of flying drones. This includes how to power on, launch, fly, and land safely. These intro courses are great for beginners who want to fly a drone but have zero experience.
Drone training classes are also great for hobbyists who are already familiar with their quadcopters. Anyone who already feels confident with their flying abilities can take a more advanced course to learn additional skills. These may include how to use a drone for professionals for employment, how to work in emergency services, or tips and skills for photographers and videographers. The options are endless.
Why a Drone Training Class May Not be Right for You
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to taking hands-on training. One instructor teaches most in-person training classes to groups of several people. This means that the instructor will focus on training all members of the group, and it may be challenging to ask specific questions.
It is also important to remember that these classes are limited to specified times. There will be allotted time for flying drones, but it will be equally split between you and all of your classmates. By the end of the class, you may feel that you did not have as much time with the quadcopter as you would have liked.
It may also be frustrating to find the right drone course for your interest and level of experience, based on where you live. While most community colleges offer generic drone training classes, the more advanced and higher-quality classes are typically located in more densely populated areas. This can prove to be problematic if it requires travel, lodging, food, and time away from home.
The 5 Best Hands-on Drone Training Classes
As mentioned above, a quick Google search will tell you that a majority of drone training classes are done online and through video. But don't be discouraged if you have your heart set on an in-person class. There are dozens of courses available in the United States that include hands-on training.
Many classes exist at local community colleges, and we suggest that that be your first place to look. There are several classes provided by specific companies that are, generally speaking, of a much higher caliber than those from community colleges. Since these drone training classes can be somewhat tricky to find, we've put together our five best hands-on drone training classes to help you out.
You can take a look below to read more about our top drone classes. We've included information on where you can take the course, what you will learn, and the price of each class. Take in all of these factors, as well as your own desires and limitations, and find one that works best for you.
DartDrones Pilot Training
DartDrones offers a hands-on training class. The firm's Drone Pilot Training class aims to provide students with all the knowledge and skills needed to become an expert drone pilot. The course lasts an entire day and includes both classroom training and on-hands sessions. The eight-hour class is designed to educate you on FAA rules and regulations, as well as the various features of several quadcopters. The class also provides students with a one-on-one flight instruction session where users are given a DJI quadcopter.
The Drone Pilot Training class is available in dozens of cities in states across the US, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California, and others. When signing up for a class, you will have to select one of several dates and locations available on the website. Beware- classes book quickly, particularly since they only allow up to eight students per class. We suggest that you plan ahead.
DartDrone's class costs $580 per student, and the company typically offers one class per month in each city. Weather can be an issue, so DartDrone promises to postpone classes to a later date if the weather is too dangerous to fly.
You can find out more about DartDrones’ Pilot Training Class here.
DJI’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Center (UTC)
DJI is offering its own training class in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems (RMUS) and Dronitek. The DJI UTC is a professional training class that is officially taught by DJI itself. It provides users with drone flight training, testing, certification, and much more. Unfortunately, the class is only taught at the Dronitek school in Sacramento, CA, which includes both indoor and outdoor flight fields. UTC instructors are experts in drone flying. Classes are taught in both group settings and private one-on-one sessions.
DJI UTC trains users on safety and how to react in emergency situations. They teach students how to use the DJI mobile app, as well as how to maintain DJI equipment. The class is divided into both online and on-site instruction. All online sections must be completed before students can attend the on-site portion of the training. According to DJI UTC's website, the online portion of each class takes between three to five hours to complete, and the on-site training is three full days. A professional instructor administers all instruction.
The class cost is $1,449 and covers both the web and in-person instruction. In addition, once completed, each student is issued an official manufacturer-certified license, endorsed by UTC, DJI, and Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems.
Discover more about DJI’s official Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Center right here.
UAV Coach’s Hands-On Drone Training
UAV Coach is a company offering drone training classes. The company operates worldwide and across the United States. The UAV hands-on class provides students with 30 to 45 minutes of hands-on flying time with a DJI quadcopter provided by a UAV Coach instructor and a walkthrough of the DJI Go 4 mobile app. The hands-on course also teaches students how to handle various issues, including lost GPS and low battery. It also instructs students on best practices of flight, and basic instruction to capture photos and video while flying.
What's more, UAV Coach's is available for individuals, teams, and instructors who are FAA-certified. Classes are taught in outdoor locations like parks and athletic fields. When signing up for a class, you will find that UAV Coach's have classes in over 20 states, and cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Miami, and more.
Prices range from $300 for a one-on-one lesson that is two-hours. More in-depth and classes start at $600 and may include up to three-students and last for three hours. If you are looking to book a class for four or more students, contact UAV Coach directly for a quote. UVA Coach offers gift certificates, which can be an excellent gift for someone in your life who owns a drone or who you would like to fly with you.
Take a closer look at UAV Coach’s Hands-On Drone Training class here.
Unmanned Vehicle University UAV Pilot Training
Unmanned Vehicle University runs a drone training course called UAV Pilot Training class. The class trains both groups and individuals who want to fly drones professionally. The program consists of three phases: a web-based ground school, a PC-based online simulator conducted from your home, and a hands-on flight training portion. The third and final phase must be taken at one of the university's flight schools located throughout the US.
By the end of the program, students are given a free preparation course for the FAA Part 107 written test and receive a UAV Pilot Certificate. Students will have amassed a total of 10 hours of flight simulation, 16 hours of ground school, and 16 hours of flight training. Some of the modules that students study include safety when flying, controlling your drone, weather principles, the history of unmanned aircrafts and drones, and plenty more.
The entire package costs $3,500, though a discount of $500 is offered if you pay everything upfront. Alternatively, as stated on the Unmanned Vehicle University's website, you can play in two installments of $2,000 and $1,750.
Take a look at price plans at the Unmanned Vehicle University’s website here.
DartDrones’ Emergency Services Training
DartDrones offers a special emergency services training class that teaches drone pilots how to operate their drones to support emergency services teams. Services teams that drones can assist include police, firefighters, SWAT teams, crime scene investigation, accident investigation, damage assessment, and more. During this class, expert flight instructors who are licensed FAA Pilots teach the skills and knowledge needed for people to use their quadcopters in supportive ways in emergencies.
The course is offered in cities where DartDrone already operates or they have options to send a certified DartDrone Emergency Services Training Instructor to a town and facility near you.
DartDrone does not list their prices for this course online. By sending an inquiry, they will return with a direct quote to you. This is the perfect in-person class for the drone pilot who desires to use their drone and skill to help others.
Discover more about this unique class at DartDrones’ website right here.
Hands-on Training Classes: Are They Worth It?
Taking a hands-on, in-person drone class is dependent upon the student. Many people report that these hands-on training classes are well worth the time and money. They allow students to take a deep dive in and to be part of a learning community. Other pilots report growth from learning online and through video tutorials.
So, before you go and book anything, think about how you learn best and what you enjoy about owning a drone. Again, review the classes that we listed above. Do a quick Google search of your own to see if there are additional classes in your area. Try a few online modules, or watch some YouTube videos to get a better idea of each company and their offerings.
Whether you decide to take a hands-on training class or follow online instructional videos, we're confident that further drone learning will be helpful. You will receive great instruction, tips, and new knowledge that will translate into skills and insight that will support you to become a professional drone pilot.