To the mad pilot of Marblehead, who crashed his drone into a crowd of spectators at the town’s Memorial Day parade, here’s a word of advice: Park that thing until you learn how to fly it.
Such mishaps are likely to be much more common as drones become the next breakout technology. Businesses of all kind are eager to fill the skies with the buzzing miniature aircraft, from real estate agents seeking a God’s-eye view of their properties to electric utilities wanting an easier way to inspect power lines.
The demand for skilled operators is likely to soar if, as expected, the Federal Aviation Administration loosens its limits on drone flights for business purposes. But as the hobbyist in Marblehead proved over the weekend, flying a sophisticated machine that looks like a large model aircraft is beyond the skill of most amatuer pilots.
Thus, the emergence of a new ground-level business: For as little as $225 anyone can now learn to operate a drone like a professional.
Abby Speicher is among the entrepreneurs who are launching companies to capitalize on the sudden popularity of this new technology.
Fresh from receiving a Master’s in Business from Babson College, Speicher has started DartDrones, one of the first flight schools to teach people how to fly a drone. Since December it has trained about 250 fliers.
Her timing is propitious. In February the FAA proposed a set of new regulations for commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles — or UAVs, as drones are also called. The government expects it will take at least a year to finalize the rules, which will likely create a new type of pilot’s license that will be much easier to get.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com