Hot Air Balloons + Drones = <3?

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Hot Air Balloons + Drones = <3?

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.

The cheapest way to get a drone license is to take hot air balloon lessons

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.

By |2016-03-02T14:05:57-08:00March 2nd, 2016|333, Drone Education, Drones, Exemption, FAA|Comments Off on Hot Air Balloons + Drones = <3?

About the Author:

Sam Estrin
I'm an avid drone enthusiast and part-time drone blogger living outside of the DC area. I track drone news and write editorials and timely drone news stories that I find interesting. If you like my stories, you can follow me on Twitter or visit me at LinkedIn. If you'd like me to write for your drone oriented publication or blog, you can contact me at