FAA approved drone flight training (no it does not exist)


Most sUAS News readers have been flying for years so I am preaching to the converted here.

Around the world training becomes a hot topic once rules start rolling out. Here in South Africa the first schools have had problems. In the UK one company very much tried to sew it all up but that was not allowed to happen.

If you are in America and think that PPL training for a 333 is too expensive just wait until there are only 5 or 10 schools approved to train RPA drivers in the entire US.

Some folks have caught my eye claiming, or making it look like they offer FAA approved training.

Dart Drones, claim to be “one of the only FAA Certified drone flight schools in the country.”

http://dartdrones.com/our-company/ There are no FAA certificated flight schools. The closest thing you can get to a certificated drone flight schools is the exemption for Kansas State University which is the ONLY 333 exemption approved for flight instruction in the US. Dart Drone’s exemption is only for aerial data collection only, not closed-set. I don’t think they are being intentionally deceptive but they need to look at  what their own exemption says.

They asked for flight instruction but the FAA didn’t give it to them.

The FAA started adding to the exemptions after Dart received theirs explaining this area by saying,

“The petitioner requested authority to conduct UAS training. At this time, the FAA is unable to authorize UAS operations for training until a further assessment is completed. When the FAA completes its review, we will proceed accordingly and no further action will be required by the petitioner. However, the petitioner is permitted to train its own pilot in commands and visual observers in accordance with Condition No. 5 and the other conditions and limitations in this exemption.”


One thing great I can say about them is they seem to go out of their way to hire quality pilots to be their instructors which is a rarity in the industry. Kudos to you guys for that.

Drone University (Not to be confused with Drone U which is another company).

These guys are doing the same thing as Dart Drones. They are only approved for aerial data collection, not closed-set or flight instruction.


They also have no excuse to be ignorant of the exemption restriction because they also offer section 333 exemption services.

Funny thing is with them they hired an attorney to do their exemption and I guess they now feel confident to help you out!


I think the take away from this is that perhaps with good intentions people are offering services that they should not.

Until the final rules are in place to me any local AMA field should be able to give you training and experience of model aircraft flying. They will give great safety tips and sensible flying advice borne of experience. I know the AMA have not covered themselves in glory to date in the UAS in the NAS regulation efforts but they do know model flying.

Quality training will save you money in the long run. Less crashes and a safer mindset.