Here’s an interesting stat that speaks volumes about the drone industry: Drone Pilot Ground School, which is one of the biggest online training programs that prepares students for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Certificate test (commonly referred to as the Part 107 test), just enrolled its 20,000th student.
All drone pilots wanting to operate drones commercially (yes, that means for money) must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, and passing the test is one of the key steps toward getting that license. And with that license in hand, drone pilots have reported earning 6-figure incomes (or more!), often while working fewer than 40 hours a week.
For context, as of December 2018, there were just over 116,000 remote pilot certificates issued by the FAA, which likely means close to 20% of those students could have learned their airspace knowledge through Drone Pilot Ground School (of course, enrolling in the course doesn’t necessarily indicate someone also signed up for and/or passed the test).
I personally used the Drone Pilot Ground School course to study for my Part 107 test, which I passed on my first try. (Read more about what my Part 107 test experience was like here.)
The training program is run by husband-wife duo Alan Perlman and Lana Axelrod, as well as a robust team of employees. (Alan is the CEO, while Lana is the Chief Strategy Officer.) Despite being an online course, the team have made their course seem personal, by actually responding to individual student questions.
“If you contact us with a question, there’s a real person on the other end who will do everything they can to help you,” Axelrod said (hence, the need for many more employees, given the 20,000 students all asking individual questions). “That goes a long way in creating a good experience for our customers.”
Over the years, Drone Pilot Ground School has offered college scholarships for high school students, waived online test prep enrollment fees for students and more. In addition to online programs, they have also expanded to offer drone flight training classes in locations including Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, specializing in training students on how to use DJI flight software and flying Mavic, Phantom and Inspire drone models.