We've wondered where the drone pilots of the future will come from. Will they continue to be the solo entrepreneurs we've always seen in our monthly Aeon Academy Drone License classes? Or will more of them be employees of companies and agencies that sponsored their training to create an internal drone team?
So we looked at the trends in our own Part 107 license class training. In 2017, the first full year of drone license availability, 66% of our students were private or self-employed individuals. 34% of of our students were sponsored by an employer.
But in 2018, the numbers have swapped. This year, 35% of our students have been private, and 65% have been sponsored by their employers. These have included police departments, national science laboratories, construction companies, gas and oil operators, and even reality TV video crews (you can spot their drone shots on reality TV shows!).
We think the growing percentage of employer-sponsored Drone License students demonstrates that, as companies discover the critical value of drones to key internal processes, more of them will hire or train internal pilots who will handle company drone operations.
And yes - we are happy to help employee-sponsored students get their commercial drone licenses!