Flying a drone is an exciting hobby – and it offers a lot of opportunities to make money! If you’re a wannabe drone entrepreneur there are certain things you need to do before launching your business: get a drone (of course!), apply for appropriate certification, and… get the new fully updated edition of Become a U.S. Commercial Drone Pilot by John Deans! Why is this book a must read for drone pilots? The author explains in today’s interview.
How did you get from being a computer programmer to a drone pilot and book author?
The primary reason I am a commercial drone pilot today is due to accumulating all the prerequisite skillsets for this career over my entire professional lifetime. Starting in the early 1980s as a computer programmer and then analyst, I entered the computer industry. I have watched mainframes shrink down to handheld smartphones over the past 35 years.
After getting my FAA Private Pilot’s license at the age of 19, I have always wanted to get into aerial photography, but trying to fly a plane and take good pictures at the same time was way too tricky.
Then in 2014, I found a way to utilize my computer, photography, and aeronautical talents by becoming an aerial drone photographer.
What is Become a U.S. Commercial Drone Pilot about?
In 2015, the industry was just getting started with the first 1000 FAA 333 Exemptions costing five to ten grand in lawyers fee’s followed by waiting months for the paperwork for the tail numbers. I looked for a book on how to become a commercial drone pilot and found nothing of value.
After months of trial and error testing vertical UAV markets, attaining my FAA 333 Exemption, getting my November numbers for my Phantoms, and finally finding commercial UAV insurance, I had gathered ample information to write my own book. SCP had previously published another book of mine ten years ago, so I pitched them the idea and we went for it.
I wrote it in under two months and it was quickly edited by SCP. Become a U.S. Commercial Drone Pilot went into e-format within another 90 days before the end of 2015. The paperback came out in February 2016 and has done quite well.
The book is a comprehensive guide on every step it takes to become a commercial drone pilot and how to start and run that business.
Why did you write this book?
As of early 2015 there was no other officially published book on how to become a commercial drone pilot, and I had done the whole process from scratch in just a few months. There were too many amateurs and drone outlaws out there breaking the FAA rules and putting out low quality aerials, so I wanted to help new professional UAV prospects to know the right way to go about it.
Who should read it?
Small business people trying to get started in the drone industry should definitely read this book to help then know what that are getting into. This is work. This is starting and running a company with customers. This is a highly technical endeavor and it will be very competitive now that FAA Part 107 will be taking effect in the fourth quarter of 2016.
What else have you written? You’ve mentioned your previous book published also by Self-Counsel Press.
This is my second book with the first one ten years ago called Start & Run a Rural Computer Consultant Business. My first book taught burned out IT professionals, like myself, how to get out of the big city rat race and start a computer consulting business in small town America. This is what I have been doing mainly for the last 15 years, but having been in the IT industry going on 35 year now, I am growing tired of it.
What was your writing process?
My process was starting out with a large outline of what I want to deliver. Next I started making each major section a chapter and knocked one at a time out until I reached the end of the outline.
Next I gathered all my interesting aerial photos and video clips as examples of flight maneuvers and deliverable examples to insert into the book. That was followed by numerous editing and proofing phases by my brilliant daughter Jacqueline and then members of the SCP staff.
Many writers are also readers. What are you top three reads of all times?
Since I’m into survivalist stories, a favorite book of mine is Lights Out by David Crawford. This novel depicts quite well how society can crash quickly without any power across the country.
My second favorite book is a “how to” on personal security called PreFense – The 90% Advantage by Steve Tarani. This book teaches you how to avoid trouble and how to become a hard target therefore less likely to be stalked by predator criminals.
By far my favorite book is Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse
Writing by James Wesley Rawles. This almost happened for real in September of 2008.
Are you thinking of writing another book? On what topic?
After I get a few more years under my belt as a drone pilot, I’ll probably do another one on this fast growing and fascinating airborne industry. I am currently writing a monthly column for the Drones Magazine!