Drone Flying & Creating Your Hustle

As with many things in life remote control flying, in this case drone flying, starts with an interest of doing something new and fun. Without a question drone flying is all of that and more. Like its hobby predecessors of RC cars, boats, planes and helicopters, drones are exciting and challenging to master but can offer much more…even pay for itself.

Full transparency here…I am a techno-tinker. I enjoy digging much deeper into the details than the average person. Sometimes that serves me poorly in the long run but more often than not I get to understand the nuts and bolts of devices which ultimately helps me transcend the average level of knowledge. As I got deeper into the drone rabbit hole I realized I am only a few short steps from this hobby providing returns other than just smiles.


Like most people I got started with a small indoor $40 job that had a rudimentary camera which I could see first person view on my phone. I thought it was very cool but the controls were sketchy and it was hard to truly master. After poking around a bit online looking for a better option to get going I found information on building a UAV. Well, that’s right up my alley so I started researching the process and began ordering the framework. I am going to write a future blog on building a drone so I am not elaborating on that here. However, what I will tell you is this process was invaluable to me.

After I built my first drone (I have built four to date) the world of remote control engineering opened up to me. It no longer was just a hobby but a real education in the concepts of flying, telemetry and all the available possibilities in these small unmanned aircraft. It made the process of flight training easier for me as I mostly understood the answer before the question was formed in my head. I simply got it and knew why the appropriate actions worked. I also learned how to troubleshoot issues as they arose.

As I continued to practice the flying techniques it became evident to me there is more to flying drones than traversing the skies. With the high quality of video streaming to my controller there needed be a level of courtesy not realized previously. Residential areas present a situation where the respect of your neighbor must take precedence over the goal. This realization pushed me down the path of learning and understand the rules and regulations for being an FAA Part 107 certified pilot.


Studying for the exam is not too difficult. Much of the exam surrounds the basic rules and regulations of flying. Many are common sense and easy to grasp. There are definitely some tricky however. For example, understanding airspace and how to manage the weather can definitely challenge you. I have listed below the tools I used to study. After about a month of studying and soaking it in I felt confident.

  • Audiobook - FAA Part 107 Drone Exam by AudioLearn Content Team
  • 2021 Remote Pilot Test Prep and FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement
  • FAA Part 107 Drone Study Guide: A Quickstudy Laminated Reference Guide

After passing my exam and receiving my flight certificate from the FAA, flying became even more rewarding. I understood how to fly and I understood best practices, rules, regulations and safety procedures. It was time to see if I could do this professionally and the answer was a resounding yes!

I spent the next several months building a business plan, becoming a proficient aerial and ground photographer and learning the ins and outs of both real estate and inspection oriented flying. There are many tools out there to lead you down this path at a very low cost. Udemy is a wonderful source for almost anything and UAV flying and photography are no exception.


Even when you are getting your program off the ground, making income to support the growth of your business is not terribly difficult. It turns out there is a great need and very many untapped resources to grow your business. There is also a great community of professional and hobby minded individuals that are willing to link up to forge the path of this new exciting industry.

I flew my first drone about five years ago. Since then the arena has changed quite a bit from a mainstream hobby to a skill with huge potential. As the equipment evolves the flight tools improve, the cameras on these systems get better and the cost of these highly capable drones drops. Do not think you need to spend a thousand dollars to get into this arena and learn the proper flying and photography skills to move forward. There are very capable drones on the market for about $300 to get your feet wet without huge risk. Some of these are even capable of delivering high quality imagery.

Feel free to reach out to a local hobbyists, professionals and most certainly me to get answers. The bottom line is, while this can pay bills, it is definitely fun! No matter what your final goal is or your skill level, there’s only once place to start. Get flying!