FAA Certified Flight Instructors and Part 107 Training Preparation

 150+ years of Aviation and UAS Experience

About Drone Universities:

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We offer intensive, one and two-day drone university courses, covering everything from basic drone concepts to advanced aerial photographyGIS/Mapping programs and even help you achieve you Light Sport Aircraft Certificate. Our schools are offered in several cities making it easier to get the education you want, and in person.

Drone Universities was founded by drone and commercial aviation professionals with close to 100 years of combined experience. We understand the needs of the industry, and our curriculum is developed by working industry pilots. Our goal is to provide a practical education in order to position students into becoming airworthy drone professionals. Students will interact with real industry insiders, receive hands-on training, learn practical flying techniques, build, test and understand their machines before taking them home.

We are proudly a Section 333 Exempt organization. (Exemption Number: 13350, Regulatory Docket Number: FAA-2015-3102.)

Our Team

Mr. John Fischbeck, Director of Training, Aviation, CFI

Mr. John Fischbeck, the Director of Training, is an FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) with 38 years of aviation experience. He has earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics, Masters of Arts in Computer Resource Management and is an FAA licensed Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic.  Naval Aviation, corporate aviation and airline operations under 14 CFR part 121 and 135 in passenger and freighter aircraft are a few of his past experiences. Mr. Fischbeck is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP) in Technologically Advanced Aircraft. In his free time, he is a volunteer ASTEM Teacher. Organizations include AUVSI, AOPA, EAA Chapter 14, And CAF Air Group One.

Mr. Kavi Amarasinghe, Lead Instructor, UAV Designs and Systems Integration

CEO and Founder of AerialPixels in Los Angeles, Kavi pioneered brushless gimbal technology for the DIY markets. His knowledge of electronic circuits and programming code resulted in numerous hardware and software innovations centralized around custom camera control devices across universal platforms. Today his products are trusted and relied on for professional operating mission critical equipment in harsh environments worldwide. In 2015 his revolutionary joystick controller for brushless gimbals became the industry standard.

Mr. Joe Papa, Lead Trainer, Aerial Cinematography

Joe Papa, is a UAV technical expert, drone pilot, engineer, photographer, writer and speaker.

His company, Aerial Drone Worx, is on the forefront of UAV photography, cinematography, custom drone builds, training, and consulting. Along with being a seasoned drone pilot, Joe has engineered heavy lift drones and gimbals for cinema and also has over 20 years of professional photography experience.

Joe runs the popular Multirotor Podcast, is a regular contributor to Drones Magazine, and is executive editor of DroneLife.io where he researches, tests, and authors unbiased technical product reviews.

Notable clients include Jerry Seinfeld, Mashable, BMW, Lexus and Coneflower Studios. His work has appeared on Netflix, PBS Nature, Crackle and VH1.

Mr. Thomas Davis, Lead Trainer, GIS/Mapping and Precision Agraculture

Mr. Thomas Davis is owner of Drone For Hire (DFH), a Modesto, California based firm that specializes in research, design, and commercial applications of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As an early industry leader, Mr. Thomas created his Section 333 exempt, precision agriculture business six years ago. Well educated, Mr. Davis earned his first degree with a double major in Anthropology/Statistics from San Diego State University-California State University, then earned his second degree in Physics from San Francisco State University. His past employments include Hewlett-Packard and the University of California, San Francisco.

Mr. Matthew Elyash, Pilot and Videographer

Mr. Matthew Elyash first became a licensed pilot in 1975. In 1976, Mr. Elyash joined the Navy, and began a career in Airborne Antisubmarine Warfare that spanned a total of 24 years active and reserve in Naval Aviation. He is an award winning photographer and videographer, with credits on Natural Geographic and Animal Planet. His footage appears in shows such as Wild Justice, Animal Rescue, and the NBC Nightly News among others. As an early adopter of drone technology, Mr. Elyash built his first drone in 2011 and quickly began building them for others. In his spare time, he is designing a unmanned aerial survey program for a state agency with the hopes of taking the risk out of tasks that traditionally have been done with manned aircraft.

Mr. Brandon Williams, AGI

Mr. Brandon Williams is an FAA certified Advanced Ground Instructor and Commercial, Instrument-rated Pilot. He spent two years as a Shadow UAV operator deployed to Afghanistan, logging over 1,000 hours in support of the US Army and Special Forces combat missions. Mr. Williams has earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science and holds an FAA Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic’s License. His past employment includes being a Flight Support Specialist for one of the largest and fastest-growing Private Jet Charter companies in North America.

Mr. Jay Bernstein, AGI, IGI, CFII

Mr. Jay Bernstein started flying in 1995 in the Seattle area.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science from Arizona State University where he studied a wide range of aviation related subjects including aircraft design, aviation law, weather, aeronautical decision making, and physics. He has worked in aviation for part 135 and part 121 air carriers and brings a wealth of real world aviation knowledge to our courses.   Mr. Bernstein holds an FAA Commercial Pilot License with an instrument rating for both single and multi-engine airplanes, is an advanced ground instructor (AGI), an instrument ground instructor (IGI), airline dispatcher, and a former instrument flight instructor (CFII).

Mr. Jonathan LaQuay, CPL

Mr. Jonathan LaQuay is an officer in the U.S. Navy. After completing flight training in 2011, he branched off into the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) community, where he deployed overseas operating the Navy MQ-8B. He then stood up the Navy’s first all-UAS unit in 2014, which is the repository for all MQ-8B aircraft. There, he completed extensive work with the air station and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop a plan that would integrate the MQ-8B into the local operations and National Airspace System (NAS). In 2015, he received a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA to operate remote control quadcopters commercially. He holds a commercial pilot’s license and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Mr. Michael Robbins, Founder & COO, UAS 107 pilot

Mr. Michael Robbins has over 30 years of experience with Drones. He built his first gas powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at age 12 and has since earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Design and Engineering. Mr. Robbins has worked with Monterey Bay Aquarium, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Hearst Castle, CNN, Adobe, Oracle, HP, Cisco Systems, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Audi, Mythbusters and NASA.

Mr. Sam Estrin, Member, Board of Advisors

Mr. Sam Estrin is a serial entrepreneur working with over 20 years of experience working with Internet startup companies. At age 15, Mr. Estrin co-founded his first public company, Mother Nature, which reached a peak valuation of $600M and at age 20, he co-founded his second public company, MediaWebcast, which reached a peak valuation of $73M. Recently, Mr. Estrin was the CTO for TASER International (now Axon), Evidence.com division. Today, Mr. Estrin splits his time between San Diego, California and Los Angeles, California and focuses his energy on consulting and advising startup companies.

Our Training Cities:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • El Paso, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angles, CA
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Miami, FL
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New York, NY
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Orlando, FL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Richmond, VA
  • Riverside, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Luis Obispo, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Toledo, OH
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Virginia Beach, VA