Drone Advice chats with drone industry leader, Chris Anderson, about his work at The Drone Trainer.
DroneAdvice: Was your journey into the drone industry a deliberate decision or was it something that happened more by chance?
Chris: I can credit a lot of it to chance. I was already heavily invested in ground-based photography, and one evening in January 2014 before bed I read an article about a realtor in California that was using something called a “drone” to shoot photos of his high-end oceanfront listings.
I quickly started researching drones, and pulled the trigger and bought my first one the next day, a Phantom 2, with Zenmuse gimbal for a GoPro Hero 3. I immediately started researching the regulatory side, and began to plan a 1 year trial to see if I could make this work.
At that time I couldn’t find much at all on the operational side of things, so I had to learn how to fly and shoot all by trial and error. Thankfully I had a large and enclosed training area by my house, so I was able to fly safely while learning all about my new drone.
Since then, it’s been an awesome journey of new drones, technology, and meeting people from countries all around the world.
DroneAdvice: We imagine that you would have flown quite a few drones in your time! Is there any model in particular that you’re a big fan of?
Chris: I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a variety of drones, including the Phantom 2, Phantom 3 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 1, Inspire 2, S1000, Mavic Pro, eBee, and a few others. Each drone has its own uniqueness, but overall I’m a big fan of the Phantom 4 Pro. It’s a very capable drone, that comes in a small package. It’s definitely my go-to for mapping, modelling, photography, and videography.
DroneAdvice: As an industry leader at the forefront of drone training, every day would probably bring something a touch new or different. Can you give the readers an idea about what the world of drone training is like and perhaps a bit of insight into the responsibility it also involves?
Chris: Yeah, just when I think I’ve seen or heard it all, I’ll get a new question or a fresh look on a new topic from someone that visits my site. As with anything that moves, there are a lot of variables that go into each flight. While I can try to prepare drone pilots for most situations they’ll face, occasionally they will come across something they haven’t experienced yet, so my goal is to get everyone as confident as possible with the basics. With a solid foundation, drone pilots will be able to fall back on their training if they find themselves in a pinch, and hopefully safely bring their drone back home.
DroneAdvice: You’ve done some really great work with your drone training podcast. We’ve listened to quite a few of these at Drone Advice and we think they’re a fantastic resource for people wanting to learn more about flying drones. Are there any episodes that stand out in your mind as being particularly memorable?
Chris: Thanks! I have a lot of fun creating and sharing the podcast with everyone, and look forward to publishing a new one every Wednesday. I don’t know if I have a favourite myself, but based on listener numbers the top episodes so far are:
- Mavic 2 Pro review with Elijah Browning: https://thedronetrainer.com/dji-mavic-2-pro-review/
- Flying in the middle of an airport with Sparky Sorenson: https://thedronetrainer.com/drone-podcast-56-sparky-sorenson/
- Selling drone prints with Merr Watson: https://thedronetrainer.com/drone-podcast-042-merr-watson/
DroneAdvice: Lastly, what are your thoughts around the importance of certification and the importance of drone training more generally? Also, do you have any new courses in development that people might want to keep an eye out for?
Chris: Certification is a key element to maintaining aviation safety. I am a big fan of both written and hands-on exams to ensure that you can do what you say. What I’m surprised with is that there are still some countries, such as the USA, that don’t require flight reviews. It’s one thing to pass your written exam, but it’s a whole other world when you put your hands on the sticks for the first time.
For all pilots, both new and old, I recommend going through my free drone flight training course where I show you everything from safe take-offs and landings, to a couple of drills to sharpen your skills that will help get you out of a bind!