Until the FAA works out a permanent set commercial drone rules, drone operators will have to first earn (at least) a Sport Pilot Certificate before flying their drones commercially. This fact has been the source of frustration for many potential commercial drone pilots. To quote Arthur holland Michel, a writer for The Verge, “In the absence of new rules, drone owners are taking advantage of bizarre legal loopholes.”
One such “loophole” has turned into a cost effective solution to the FAA’s pilot certification requirement.
Several days a week over the past month, Alon Sicherman has found himself sitting upright in bed at 4:45AM in a motel near a town called Poughquag, in upstate New York, asking himself the same question: what the hell am I doing? He gets up, eats a granola bar, and heads to a nearby farm, where he spends two hours learning how to fly a hot air balloon.
Sicherman, a freelance photographer who lives in New York City, about two hours by car from Poughquag, does not want to fly balloons for a living, or even for fun. He, like many professional picture takers, wants to fly a drone commercially. That requires a pilot’s license, and as it turns out, the fastest, cheapest way to acquire one is to learn how to fly a giant balloon.
You don’t have to travel to Poughquag to learn how to fly a hot air balloon. We’ve got you covered at Drone Universities. Complementing our complete drone curicullum, we also offer light sport aircraft certification (read: hot air balloon). Fun fact: If you enroll in any three of our courses, this includes your hot air balloon training, you qualify for free Section 333 Exemption services.