Drone masterclasses

Interested in drones, but don’t know where to start, or how to tell drone fact from fiction?

Or you have a drone but have unanswered questions, problems, or would like more information so you’re a better drone pilot?

I run practical & comprehensive drone masterclasses across Australia.

This drone training will give you a solid base for useful, enjoyable, safe & legal recreational or commercial drone flying and a leg-up to another level if you already have a drone. The time covered is usually one full day but this can be varied, as required. Full day drone workshops are well worth travelling to attend – a huge amount of good information is covered.

Why is this drone training unique?

I’ve attended many drone training sessions myself, in Australia and overseas. I run drone training that I would love to have attended myself when I was starting out – what would have saved me a massive amount of time. To obtain the knowledge I have, I’ve had to do a lot of training in a wide variety of places, spend thousands of dollars and fly drones for many hours. You get the benefit of my experience!

I run these drone workshops because nothing quite like this is being run by anyone else, anywhere!

Fiona Lake, catch-landing a P4P drone – which must be done with care. Catch-landing safely is one of the technical skills that can be covered in hands-on drone training sessions. (Thanks to Townsville photographer Cheryl Robertson for the image – taken after I’d been photographing the longest sugar conveyor in the world.)


Please send me an email if you’re considering attending, let me know exactly what you’re seeking, and I’ll notify you when the next drone workshop dates & details are available.


  • Buying drones: choosing between drone models; the pros & cons of the different features to consider in relation to your specific purposes, & where to buy
  • Buying drone accessories: what do you need & what is a waste of money
  • Vital laws every drone pilot must know – plus where to get reliable information
  • Safe flight & problem avoidance – no drones should ever crash
  • Drone software difficulties – tips on how to conquer the inevitable glitches (an especially useful & unique session.)
  • Aerial photography – overview
  • Image & flight data admin – what isn’t covered in any other drone workshops (it’ll save you a lot of headscratching)
  • Career & business opportunities for drone pilots – what is realistic now & what the future holds
  • Children & drones – what every parent should know
  • Travel – airline & overseas drone rules
  • Info sources – where to obtain reliable drone information; plus which online drone groups to join and which to avoid
  • Summary of CASA drone pilot certification (Remote Pilot Certificate, Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate, Remote Operators Certificate. Plus info on night flight training). What is involved in becoming a certified drone pilot plus the pros & cons. (Full CASA drone licencing costs $4-5,000. The exact cost depends on which company you train with.)

Topics are practical and based on experience – I cut to the chase and as I do not sell drones or run drone licencing courses my advice is completely independent & objective.

Drone flight demonstration at Kooroorinya Ladies Day, North Queensland (drone photography). I run workshops in all areas – nowhere is too remote.


I use DJI drones as examples simply because that’s the brand I use most often.  However the same principles apply to all drones, so this workshop is relevant to all.


Age range:

  • From 16 years upwards – I’ve had people in their 80s attend workshops and sometimes they’ve been the keenest in the room.
  • Under sixteens welcome if accompanied by a parent (family discount available – enquire if you’d like details)

Experience & background:

  • Relevant to city & town and rural & remote residents
  • All levels of experience. These workshops are very comprehensive and include useful info for experienced pilots as well as anyone new to drones.  If you have quite a bit of hands-on experience but haven’t undergone any drone training, you will be surprised by how much else there is to learn and make use of.
  • Both recreational & commercial drone pilots will benefit, as the principles are identical. I run a small business and drones are an integral part of it, so this workshop includes practical first-hand advice.
  • Industries – my work involves professional photography, writing, social media, agriculture & travel – however the content of these drone workshops applies to every drone use.

Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland (drone photography). I’ve specialised in professional agricultural photography for more than 30 years, however I have a wide range of interests. Many topics are included in the drone workshops, of use to both recreational and business drone pilots.


Drone operators with hands-on experience but who haven’t undergone any training:

  • A lot of unanswered queries will be addressed – how your drone operates and CASA laws will make sense
  • Tips to make your drone flying more enjoyable and efficient, plus business ideas if you’re thinking of putting your drone to work
  • If you’ve crashed a drone and don’t know why, this workshop may hold the answer for you and prevent a repeat disaster

New drone operators, you will:

  • Feel confident enough to choose the drone & accessories best suited to your specific purposes (& understand if you need to trade-in what you already have)
  • Know what can and can’t be done with a drone & where to go to get future queries answered reliably
  • Understand the basic aviation laws that every drone pilot must know, where to get detailed information, & know how to keep up-to-date with changes
  • Be able to reduce the likelihood of hardware problems and able to solve most software headaches faster


  • You’ll have a template for ensuring your children fly drones safely & legally.
  • Advice on the best drones to buy for students (eg drones that can be programmed); saving you money and ensuring maximum learning.

Burdekin Falls Dam, North Queensland (drone photography). Aerial photography has existed for more than a century – but drones have now made it relatively cheap and easy for anyone to see the world from above.  Though drones look like toys they’re exceedingly complex machines and understanding them results in much better drone pilots.


Usually, all day. Because:

  • We can cover a useful level of detail, have interesting discussions and a laugh along the way.
  • Attendees are able to meet one another & converse during the breaks – additional learning plus networking with people who share a common interest.
  • A full day of good quality content means it’s worth travelling to attend. I know how frustrating it is to find a workshop which looks good except that it only runs for 2 hours and just skims the surface – not enough substance to justify travelling a long distance for.

What day & time?

  • Usually held on a Saturday – but can be on any other day if preferred by drone workshop hosts.
  • Usually daylight hours; I set up at around 7.30am; participants to arrive from 8.30am for a 9am sharp start; finish at 5pm with provision for one-on-one conversations to continue on afterwards, for as long as people have questions.


  • When feasible, held on the edge of town where there are no flight restrictions, so drones can be flown outside the building.

How to book:

  • Ticketing for the drone workshops I run goes through Eventbrite, for simplicity’s sake. Otherwise the workshop hosts are in charge of ticketing arrangements.

What to bring to the drone workshop:

  • Not essential but useful – a mobile phone with CASA’s ‘Can I Fly There’ app already downloaded. ‘Can I Fly There’ app – download from CASA’s website.
  • If you have a drone you’re welcome to bring it as we run through drone ‘anatomy’ so you can check yours out at the same time. Depending on the time available, the location and the size of the group – we may not be flying drones as hands-on skill is a minor part of flying drones. To illustrate this – while CASA does require Australian drone pilots to do a simple flight test before licencing, the FAA does not require American drone pilots to undergo a flight test. It is knowledge that makes a good drone pilot.
  • I usually have all my drones, accessories, cases, manuals etcetera at drone workshops (when I’ve had to fly to workshops, the display quantity is reduced).

Fiona Lake, Night Flight training in Las Vegas, USA. Night flying is illegal in most countries, unless the drone operator is fully licenced and has the required permission.


I’m one of Australia’s best qualified & most experienced drone pilots:

  • Fully licenced by CASA (Remote Pilot Licence & Remote Operators Certificate).
  • Night flight certified (undertaken specialist training in the US).
  • Attended training & workshops in various locations across Australia and the US (New York, North Carolina & Nevada).
  • I’ve run drone workshops & presentations from southern Victoria to Far North Queensland; from one hour overview sessions to comprehensive training over a full day.  Most recently at InterDrone, North America’s largest commercial drone conference.  My next 1 hour drone presentations are at Avalon Airshow (in Victoria) and at the Commercial UAV Conference in Amsterdam (Netherlands).
  • I own several drones and have undertaken many hours of drone flight, across 4 Australian states.
  • Won a number of awards & received peer recognition – including, in 2018: named by Chicago-based Women and Drones as one of ten ‘Women to Watch in UAS’ (unmanned aviation systems); ‘Rural Drone Academy’ – AgriFutures Rural Woman of the Year finalist for Queensland, one of the Queensland Government’s ‘Community Digital Champions’ & Queensland Government ‘100 Faces of Small Business’.


  • If this kind of practical and detailed drone training had been available on the other side of Australia when I was starting out, I would have jumped on a plane to attend because it would have been well worth it. This is the quality I provide for you.
  • After the official end of the day there is usually the option to continue conversations over dinner at a nearby restaurant.   The icing on the cake of events is often the great conversations after the official conclusion – it’s where you find the keenest people and can pick up an extra gem of information, via a late question you ask or someone else asks.
  • Training & direct costs are usually tax deductible if drone usage is genuinely involved in producing your current year’s income. But do check with your accountant as everyone’s situation differs.

I live in North Queensland but have lived and worked across 3 Australian states. Having a wide variety of interests fosters participant interaction and makes the drone training day a lot more entertaining for everyone.


  • I also run photography workshops, including on aerial photography workshop. My emphasis is on all the useful topics that other trainers are not covering.
  • Participants get the best value from aerial photography workshops if a) already using manual camera settings on the ground or are b) already trained/experienced drone pilots. Learning the technicalities of photography and technicalities of drone flying at the same time is fairly inefficient – however participants with all skill levels find my aerial photography workshops very useful.
  • Contact Fiona Lake if drone photography training is something you may be interested in.


I rarely have time to organise workshops in other regions, but I can make time to present workshops – so all ears to invitations from hosts.

I work away from home a lot when home I’m flat out catching up.  I’ve received many requests for comprehensive drone masterclasses but from all over Australia, so when I organise training, it’s designed to be worth travelling to attend.  These drone masterclasses really are unique; there is nothing else quite like them, anywhere.

If you’d like drone training in your area then please do let me know if  you get a group of interested participants together or know an organisation who would consider hosting a drone workshop (either general interest, aerial photography or agriculture-focussed).  I travel all over, presenting workshops/training/public speaking for local councils, industry organisations etc.  Minimum numbers are however required to keep costs down, and it’s best to plan in advance as much as possible, because 2019 is already getting busy after mid February.

If you ask around and can’t find many or any locals interested in attending a professional-standard drone workshop – then that suggests that in the near future there won’t be enough demand in your area, and your only option is to travel to attend training.  I’ve travelled thousands of kilometres to undertake specialist training – if you’re keen, travelling to good quality training is the only option.

The upside of not finding many/any locals interested in a drone workshop – if you upskill now you’ll then be the best informed or one of the best informed drone pilots in your region. Because at present there’s a massive amount of hot air but relatively few people with genuinely comprehensive drone experience and knowledge. Being the best informed in your region gives you an obvious advantage in terms of running a business, creating better aerial photographs and mentoring others as interest increases.

Fiona Lake provides one-on-one drone training also (drone image taken in far south western Qld.)


And if you know someone who is really hard to buy a present for – a drone training session could be the best present you’ve ever given them.