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Drone Pro Academy: Is It Worth It? (Must-Read)

Due to your busy schedule, you’ve decided that enrolling in an online drone school is the best choice for you. After reading our series of drone school reviews, you’ve narrowed it down to several options, one of which is Drone Pro Academy. Is this drone school a good one?

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Drone Pro Academy is a worthwhile online drone school for those who want to pass their Part 107 exams to earn their commercial drone license. Aspiring pro drone photographers may also enroll. You can even learn how to make a career out of your drone. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Drone Pro Academy, including a breakdown of the courses and the supporting material. We’ll also delve into pricing and reviews so you can make an educated purchasing decision!

What is Drone Pro Academy? Who’s the founder?

Drone Pro Academy is an online drone school that can prepare you for what will be on the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA Part 107 exam. This exam is required for aspiring commercial drone pilots (those who make money flying their UAVs), so many first-time test-takers enroll in online drone courses. 

More than just offering Part 107 exam prep, Drone Pro Academy also has several proven courses on improving your drone photography. If you’re interested in taking things to the next level once you obtain your Part 107 license, you can even take a course through Drone Pro Academy on how to turn your drone into a business.

Who is behind Drone Pro Academy? That’s none other than Chris Newman. As a drone pilot himself, Newman’s area of expertise lies in photography. Newman boasts more than two decades of cinematography and film experience, not to mention he’s a skilled videographer as well.

Newman’s resume is extensive, with past clients including such major names as Monster Energy, Bass Pro Shops, Subaru, Mountain Dew, Ford, McDonald’s, Lexus, and Mercedes. 

On top of that, Newman has produced IMAX films as part of MacGillivray Freeman, a production company. He also has done aerial videography for Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall films, respectively.

To underline his credentials, Newman custom-built a videography/photography drone, which you can learn more about via his other project CineChopper. 

Newman has, in the time since founding Drone Pro Academy, worked with 12,000 students and counting. 

What can you learn at Drone Pro Academy?

If you’re contemplating signing up with the Drone Pro Academy, then naturally, you’ll wonder about the courses offered. You have four to choose from: Cinematic Drone Secrets, Drone Photography Secrets, FAA Part 107 Bootcamp, and the Professional Course.

Let’s take a much more in-depth look at each course that’s available.

Cinematic Drone Secrets

Starting with Cinematic Drone Secrets, this workshop includes five modules. Here’s an overview of the modules.

Module 1 – Navigating the FAA Crash Course

  • Introduction to Drones/Safety
  • How to Register Your Drone with the FAA
  • How to Get Permission to Fly in Airport Airspace

Module 2 – Getting Started with Your Drone Bootcamp

  • Beginner Drone Options, Setup, and Operation (Inductrix)
  • How to Fly – Flight Training and Drills
  • How to Use the DJI Flight Simulator
  • Tips for Flying in Wind

Module 3 – Pro Drone Secret Sauce Settings Workshop

  • General Best Camera Settings Explained
  • (Mavic Mini) App Best Menu/Camera Settings
  • (DJI Go 4) – Best Camera and App Settings (Quick Start)
  • “Secret Sauce” Smooth Camera/Gimbal Settings
  • Intelligent Flight Modes Explained
  • How to Set Correct Exposure – Daylight and Lowlight
  • Why and When to Use ND & Polarizer Filters
  • Top 12 Apps to Use with Your Drone

Module 4 – Cinematic Foundation Masterclass

  • Drone Composition/Framing Masterclass
  • The Effects of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO
  • How to Maximize Each Flight with Proper Drone Shot Coverage
  • Choosing the Proper Drone Focal Length
  • How to Know the Best Time of Day to Film
  • How to Fully Utilize Point of Interest Mode
  • How to Set Up and Execute an Automatic Drone Lapse
  • How to Create a Manual Drone Lapse

Module 5 – Cinematic Drone Shot Secret Framework

  • How to Achieve Cinematic Camera Movement Secrets
  • The Static Moving
  • The 180 Wrap-Around
  • The 360 Wrap-Around
  • The Birds’ Eye View
  • The Chicken Shot
  • The Close-Up and Pull-Away
  • The Followed Shot
  • The Drone Jib
  • The Skywalker
  • The Forward Tilt-Down
  • The Tilt-Up Reveal
  • The Twist ‘n Shout

That’s not all! As a student of the Cinematics Drone Secrets workshop, you can join the Drone Pro Academy exclusive members-only Facebook group. Newman himself will recommend you his top drone models and drone gear. You also get the Top Cinematic Drone Shots eBook for free.

Oh, and the material you pay for is yours for life, so you can go back and brush up on anything you’re getting a little fuzzy on.

Drone Photography Secrets

If you want to learn even more about Newman’s best tips and advice for flying a drone, then try the Drone Photography Secrets course. Newman put together this class for those who want a crash course on all things drone photography so they can learn fast.

The Drone Photography Secrets course includes seven modules in all. As we did before, let’s examine each module individually.

Module 1 – Navigating the FAA Crash Course 

  • Introduction to Drones/Safety
  • How to Register Your Drone with the FAA
  • How to Get Permission to Fly in Airport Airspace

Module 2 – Drone Photography Theory

  • The Best for Photos!
  • Exposure Cheat Sheet (PDF Download)
  • Drone Photography Theory/Framing/Composition
  • Drone Photography Shot Coverage
  • How This Crazy App Helps you Know the Best Time of Day to Film
  • The 3-Step Magical HDR Framework!
  • RAW vs. JPEG – What Is Best?

Module 3 – Pro Photo Drone Secret Sauce Settings Workshop

  • The Best (DJI Go 4 App) Menu/Camera Settings!
  • The Best (DJI Fly App) Menu/Camera Settings!

Module 4 – Capture Amazing Drone Photos Masterclass

  • How to Transfer Your Photos to Your Computer/Phone
  • How to Master Night Photography 
  • How to Create Amazing Long-Exposure Nighttime Photos
  • How to Edit Your Night Photography Photos Like a Pro
  • How to Create Incredible Daytime Long-Exposure Photos
  • How to Take Stunning Low-Light Photos of Moving Objects (Train)
  • How to Edit the Night Train Photos Part 1 (with Photo Downloads)
  • How to Edit the Night Train Photos Part 2 

Module 5 – Photo Editing with Luminar and Aurora Masterclass

  • The Best Desktop Editing Software? (Luminar vs. Lightroom)
  • Merging Bracketed Photos to Create HDR in Aurora HDR
  • Luminar Photo Editing Software Intro
  • Luminar Photo Editing Part 1 – The Canvas Settings
  • Luminar Photo Editing Part 2 – The Essentials Panel: Basic Correction 
  • Luminar Photo Editing Part 3 – The Creative Panel and Sky Replacement
  • Luminar Photo Editing Part 4 – How to Export High-Quality Images

Module 6 – Photo Editing with Adobe Lightroom Masterclass

  • Claim Your Adobe Creative Cloud Student Discount!
  • Lightroom – Introduction, Importing, Photo Merge
  • Lightroom – Everything You Need to Know About the Editing Panel
  • Lightroom – Get Your Crop On!
  • Lightroom – It’s Time to Heal and Clone
  • Lightroom – Just Brush It!
  • Lightroom – It’s All About Gradients
  • Lightroom – Export Like a Boss
  • Lightroom – Other Settings You Need to Know!

Module 7 – Phone Editing/Panoramics and Time-Lapse with Your Drone

  • How to Use the DJI Automatic Panoramic Feature
  • Manual Panoramic Photography Lightroom Merge and Editing Tutorial
  • How to Set Up and Execute a DJI Automatic Timelapse
  • How to Create and Edit a Manual Drone Timelapse
  • Charging Batteries on the Road

As a member of the Drone Photography Secrets course, you can also join the exclusive Facebook Group and take advantage of Chris Newman’s own drone models and gear recommendations. Further, Drone Pro Academy offers a student discount for Adobe Creative Cloud. You could save $360 per year! 

FAA Part 107 Bootcamp

This is the course that many students enroll for, the FAA Part 107 Bootcamp. Newman makes the course accessible by dividing topics into six modules. Let’s take a look at what’s included.

Module 1 – The Rules

  • Part 107 Eligibility
  • Night Operations
  • Maximum Speed and Altitude
  • Pre-Flight Checklist
  • Right of Way Rules
  • Operations from a Moving Vehicle
  • Certificate of Waiver
  • Operations Over Non-Participants
  • Contingency Planning-Flyaways
  • Drone Maintenance
  • Accident Reporting
  • Lost Link Procedures
  • Abnormal and Emergency Situations
  • Battery Fires
  • NTIA
  • Practice Quiz #1

Module 2 – Crew Resource Management

  • Crew Rules
  • Task Management – Hazardous Attitudes
  • Hyperventilation and Stress Management
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Practice Quiz #2

Module 3 – Aircraft Performance

  • Load Factor
  • How to Calculate Load Factor
  • Center of Gravity Performance
  • Weight and Balance
  • Performance
  • Practice Quiz #3

Module 4 – Weather

  • True North vs. Magnetic North
  • TAFs
  • METARs
  • Weather Briefing
  • Visibility and Cloud Clearance Requirements
  • Thunderstorms
  • Stable vs. Unstable Air
  • Fog
  • Surface Friction
  • Practice Quiz #4

Module 5 – Airspace/VFR Charts

  • NOTAMs & TFRs
  • AGL vs. MSL: Towers
  • Longitude vs. Latitude
  • Airspace
  • 3D Airspace with Google Earth
  • Sectional Chart Symbols
  • Sectional Chart Symbols Part 2
  • Airport Traffic
  • Astronomical Chart Download
  • Airport Legend
  • Locating an Obstacle

Module 6 – Practice Exam and Final Remarks

  • Final Remarks
  • Part 107 Practice Exam
  • How to Fill Out Your IACRA Form

In addition to the information in the six modules above, the FAA Part 107 Bootcamp also includes the Part 107 Secrets Cheatsheet eBook. This 37-page book in full color is meant to improve your recall of the information you’ll see on the FAA test.

Drone Pro Academy also throws in a Part 107 practice exam with 116 questions, many of which are taken from the real FAA exam. 

Professional Course 

Last but certainly not least is the Professional Course from Drone Pro Academy. Here’s a breakdown of what this course will instruct you in.

From the Cinematic Drone Secrets Workshop:

  • Navigating the FAA Crash Course
  • Getting Started with Your Drone Bootcamp
  • Pro Drone Secret Sauce Settings Workshop
  • Cinematic Foundation Masterclass
  • Cinematic Drone Shot Secret Framework
  • Top Cinematic Drone Shots eBook

From the Drone Editing Secrets Workshop:

  • Basic Video Editing
  • Intermediate to Advanced Editing
  • Gorilla Grain Premier Epic Transitions
  • How to Create an Incredible Demo Reel That Gets You Work
  • How to Edit to Music
  • Color Correction/Color Grading
  • Sample Iceland Footage to Practice Editing 

From the Drone Business Secrets Workshop:

  • How to Set Up Your Drone Business
  • How to Build an Online Presence
  • Building a Drone Website
  • Setting Up a Google Business Account
  • Business Call Scripts and Real Estate Call Scripts
  • Drone Quote Calculator
  • Drone Sales Email Templates
  • How to Determine Your Day Rate

From the Drone Job Secrets Workshop: 

  • Real Estate Job Shadows
  • Car Commercial Job Shadows
  • 47 Virtual Total Job Shadows
  • Music Video Job Shadows
  • IMAX Film Job Shadows 

Besides everything above, Drone Pro Academy also has a Feedback Friday where Chris Newman and his team will critique your demo reel. You can also watch other demo reels from students of the course for inspiration.

Further, you get a 60-percent discount on Adobe Creative Cloud. 

What are some other features of Drone Pro Academy?

The scope of information you can glean from the Drone Pro Academy is not limited to the above courses. Here is some supplementary material to take advantage of as a student. 

Free Webinar Training

If you want to preview Chris Newman’s training before you sign up for a paid Drone Pro Academy course, Newman offers free webinar training (link) on growing your drone business. The training is 60 minutes and is free once you put in your email address. 

Drone Pro Podcast

Further, Newman and crew share their extensive knowledge and resources regularly through the Drone Pro Podcast (link). You can listen to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Music for free. 

According to the podcast description, Newman will “dive deep into flying drones and creating epic cinematic drone shots.”

The Drone Pro Podcast has one season as of this writing and five episodes. Here’s the rundown of available episodes:

  • Episode 1: My Life Sucked…And Then I Found Drones: My Story
  • Episode 2: How NOT to Act on a Commercial/Film Set! Drone Film Set Etiquette with the ORIGINAL Drone Gangster: Trent Palmer of the Copter Kids
  • Episode 3: How to CRUSH IT in Your Drone Business with Saunders Staley
  • Episode 4: Nailing the IMPOSSIBLE Drone Shot with the 1917 Academy Award-Winning Film with Peter Ayriss
  • Episode 5: From 0 to Drone Hero: The INSANE Rise of Drone Pro Aaron Cohan

During each episode, Newman interviews drone professionals. These podcast episodes are certainly worth listening to! 

How much does Drone Pro Academy cost?

Although the information from course to course as offered by the Drone Pro Academy varies greatly, each class is priced the same, at $197. 

How is Drone Pro Academy rated?

What do present and past enrollees of Drone Pro Academy have had to say about their experiences with Newman’s material? 

Throughout the Drone Pro Academy website, you’ll see snippets of positive sentiments as well as full reviews. These reviews are usually displayed as images on the site rather than text. 

If you want a more unbiased set of reviews, Drone Pro Academy’s Facebook page (link) might be the better place to look. Of 10 reviews, the online drone school is rated a 4.2 out of 5. Unfortunately, that’s the breadth of the reviews we could find on the school. 

Is Drone Pro Academy worth it?

Okay, so now it’s time to answer the question that’s undoubtedly been floating through your head this entire time. Should you enroll in the Drone Pro Academy? Is it worth it?

Yes, it certainly is. Many aspiring students will come for the Part 107 exam prep and stay for the multitude of drone photography and videography secrets that Chris Newman has to share. 

Whether you want to improve your drone abilities to be better at your job or wish to impress your drone buddies, there’s something here for every drone pilot.

Drone Pro Academy’s comprehensive course on starting a drone business is a natural next step after passing your FAA exam. Newman himself has been killing it in the drone industry for decades, so he’s someone whose advice is definitely worth taking.

All the courses are divided into modules so digesting the material is easy. With supplementary material like practice quizzes, eBooks, cheat sheets, PDFs, and more, you can take your learning and studying to the next level.

Drone Pro Academy’s courses are moderately more expensive than some of the other online drone schools we’ve discussed, but you can select only the courses you want to learn. You’re not locked into ongoing fees, and, as we mentioned, the course material is yours for life.

Considering that you must re-take the Part 107 exam every two years to keep your FAA license current, you’ll appreciate being able to brush up on FAA rules whenever your test date nears! 

Conclusion 

Drone Pro Academy is an online drone school founded by film and drone expert Chris Newman. His courses mostly center around drone photography and videography concepts because that’s where his own knowledge lies, but you can also learn how to start a drone business and, of course, how to pass your Part 107 exam.

We hope the information in this guide inspires you to look further into Drone Pro Academy! 

Image Credit: Drone Pro Academy