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UAV Coach 2019 Year in Review: Company Highlights and Achievements

BY Isabella Lee
3 January 2020

The year twenty nineteen has come to a close, and we’re ready for the “roaring 20s” to bring new and exciting initiatives for our team here at UAV Coach and Drone Pilot Ground School. In the new year, we’ll continue to drive forward with our mission to train smarter, safer drone pilots as a leading provider of drone training, news and education for the small unmanned aerial vehicle (sUAV) industry.

2019 Year in Review

UAV Coach 2019 Highlights and Achievements

We finished this decade with one heck of a year and want to take some time to look back on some of the biggest company moments of 2019.

1. We Issued Our First Annual Drone Industry Survey

In April 2019, UAV Coach surveyed 1,389 U.S. drone pilots on topics including how much they earn, how often they fly, their industry and much more. We learned A LOT and shared our findings with our community. The full report is available for free here.

Of the respondents who identified themselves as self-employed/freelance drone pilots, 10% made $10,000 or more in the prior 12 months, while 68% made less than $1,000. Insights like these can help drone pilots better position themselves for success in the industry.

2. Drone Pilot Ground School Enrollment Reached 20,000+ Students

With 20,000+ students and 1,500+ four- and five-star reviews, UAV Coach’s flagship training course, Drone Pilot Ground School, has become the industry’s #1 online test prep course for the FAA’s drone pilot exam for those looking to become a certified commercial drone pilot under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations.

We recently updated the course to offer 70+ video and text lessons, including lessons on recertification (required by the FAA every two years). We continue to see a 99% pass rate among our students when they take the FAA’s Part 107 exam for their commercial drone license.

3. We Added Three New Locations for Hands-On Drone Flight Training

In October of 2019, we announced the addition of three new cities (San Francisco, Atlanta, and Orlando) where we offer hands-on drone training. With the addition of these new cities, UAV Coach now runs hands-on classes in 14 states. Browse drone training locations here.

Group Drone Flight Training

The outdoor training sessions are available for both individuals and groups and can be customized to your goals. Students build knowledge about what to do before, during and after a flight mission to stay compliant and safe. They also practice Intelligent Flight Modes and other photo, video and data capturing techniques.

4. We Celebrated UAV Coach’s 5-Year Anniversary

Also in October, UAV Coach celebrated the five year anniversary of its founding. Company CEO Alan Perlman put together this video, sharing five insights he’s gained while working in the drone industry for the past five years.

5 Insights from 5 Years in the Drone Industry

5. The FAA Selected UAV Coach Among 12 Drone Stakeholders to Help Develop the Recreational Drone Flyer Test

The biggest news we received as a company this year was UAV Coach’s selection as one of 12 organizations chosen by the FAA to assist in developing the Recreational Drone Flyer Test administration process.

UAV Coach was selected on account of our response to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the FAA earlier this year. We look forward to meeting with the FAA in early 2020 and discussing our ideas for making the recreational drone flyer testing process as straightforward and seamless as possible.

6. We Published a Directory of Safe and Legal Locations to Fly a Drone

We are frequently asked by drone pilots, “Where can I fly my drone?” Determining a safe and legal place to fly your drone can be tricky, with a maze of sometimes conflicting local, state, and federal rules to navigate through.

Our team poured hours, days, weeks and months of research into creating an extensive directory of safe and legal locations to fly a drone. In our Where to Fly Your Drone Guide you’ll find three to five places to fly in 50+ U.S. cities. If your city isn’t listed, we also put together this helpful article on how you can conduct airspace research on your own and determine a safe and legal location to fly.

7. We Provided Two Students With College Scholarships

Twenty nineteen marked the second year we have awarded the Drone Technology College Scholarship, which was created to provide financial support for college students who demonstrate an interest in pushing the drone industry forward.

Each of the two scholarship recipients for 2019 received $1,000 to support their college studies. You can meet the winners and read their winning essays here.

8. We Initiated a Give-Back Program

In 2019, we started a new initiative − the 1% pledge. This means that every year we’ll donate $1 out of every $100 we earn.

Why? Because we believe that running a business is not just about making a profit. It’s also about rallying our customers, partners and employees around issues that impact many of us, and it’s about helping the communities where we operate.

All of our chosen organizations are rated 4 out of 4 stars by the non-profit Charity Navigator, an unbiased and objective evaluator that uses a numbers-based system to rate each charity on two dimensions — 1) Accountability & Transparency and 2) Financial Health. Learn more about the organizations UAV Coach supports through our 1% pledge.

9. We Provided Curriculum to Help Launch High School Drone Programs

Drone technology has given rise to a multitude of new career opportunities, and educators are eager to get involved. In order to offer young pilots more avenues of entry into drone-related careers, colleges and high schools have begun to add unmanned aerial systems (UAS) courses to their curriculum.

Bisbee High School Drone Program

In 2019, UAV Coach assisted two high schools in the development of drone programs: Roseville Area High School in Roseville, MN and Pleasant Valley High School in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania (learn about each school’s program here and here, respectively). The Drone Pilot Ground School scholarship provides students at these schools with free access to our online Part 107 test prep course ($299 value), preparing them to become FAA-certified drone pilots.

We’re already planning our initiatives for 2020. We want to hear from you. What can we do to enrich the education and training sector of the drone industry in 2020? Whether it’s a new guide, class, or hands-on resource, let us know in this thread on our community forum.

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