This is an ongoing list of drone resources I have found to be helpful. I will try to keep this list maintained. Let me know if you have a resource I should add to my list or spot an update I should make.

Drone Manufacturers

  • DJI – The Chinese drone manufacturer which has been dominating the drone marketplace since 2015. DJI’s Phantom line of drones is probably the most recognizable drone.
  • Yuneec – Hong Kong-based drone manufacturer
  • XDynamics – An up-and coming drone manufacturer founded in 2015. Their new Evolve drone might be a competitor to DJI’s Phantom line.
  • Parrot – French-based drone manufacturer, one of the early consumer drones
  • Autel – Autel Robotics USA is headquartered in Bothell WA. Their Anafi drone has the distinction of a camera that can pitch 180 Degrees up and down, without props in the view.

Drone Websites

Drone Apps

  • Recreational pilots can use the FAA’s B4UFly app to quickly and easily check airspace and make sure you are clear to fly. The original app was overhauled by Kittyhawk and now has similar functionality to the Aloft/Kittyhawk app.
  • Aloft, formerly known as Kittyhawk is a one-stop flight planning (Airspace, weather, preflight checklist), logging, and management app and website. Recent updates to their app allow you to even control your drone right from their app. They are now integrated with LAANC to get instant airspace approvals.
  • Skyward – Flight planning, including LAANC authorizations
  • Litchi – This 3rd party app for both iOS and Android adds a bunch of automation and advanced options to flying your DJI drone (Compatible with DJI Spark, Mavic, Phantom 4, 
    Phantom 3, Inspire 1 and Inspire 2)
  • Autopilot – Similar to Litchi, this app adds lots of advanced flight control options with a bit of a steeper learning curve
  • Verifly – Instantly purchase insurance for your flight by the hour, starting at $10/hr. Price varies by factors such as time, location, coverage, etc.
  • UAV Forecast – Graphically see if it will be good to fly, hour by hour. You can see the 24 hour forecast for free, or if you upgrade to a paid subscription, you can see 7 days of forecasts.
  • Weather Underground – I use Weather Underground’s 10-day graph to plan out real estate and aerial photography sessions based on wind and cloud cover.
  • Drone DJ – News and rumors covering the drone industry
Screenshot of Weather Underground's 10-Day forecast graph
Weather Underground’s 10-Day forecast graph with wind speed at the bottom, and cloud cover/precipitation above.

Drone Groups and Organizations

  • AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) – The prominent model aviation community-based organization. If you fly as a hobbies, you pretty much be following the AMA rules.
  • Des Moines UAV Club – The Iowa Drone Community. Facebook-based group with over 900 members across Iowa.
  • Drone U – One of the most active drone training and community programs.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) – Now required for recreational pilots

Part 107 Study Resources

Sample FAA Aeronautical chart of the Central Iowa airspace
  • FAA Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge – everything you need to know to pass your Part 107 test and more for free, directly from the FAA. This is a long manual, you will want to let the Airman Certification Standards be your guide
  • Remote Pilot Test Prep – 107 – This is the Part 107 practice test application that I used, in combination with the PHAK to fill in where needed. I aimed to consistently get 90% on my practice test before scheduling my Part 107 exam.
  • Skyvector – Think Google Maps for sectional charts. This free site shows all US, and many international sectional charts. A great resource for studying for your Part 107 exam and for flight planning.
  • Remote Pilot FAA Test Prep by Aeroapps Technology – Simply practice test questions. This was the only paid source I used while studying to take my Part 107 exam. For any area I needed more study, I used the Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.


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