You received a drone as a gift - Great.
There are dozens of YouTube videos that teach some of the things that you need to know before taking your first flight.  But few show you everything you need to know.  One caution that is frequently overlooked is wind.  While most GPS stabilized drones can fly in winds up to 20 MPH or more, we recommend that your first flight should be made when the wind is calm or gentle breezes.
The most complete video on You Tube.
Treetop Academy is first concentrating on the ground school training that we expect the FAA will require for light drone commercial flight.  Flight training will come later when the FAA requirements are known and finalized.  But for now, here is one of the better YouTube videos I have seen for first time drone pilots.  What this video lacks in production quality is easily overlooked for the wealth of information provided.
Treetop Academy Ground School.
Treetop Academy is not taking student registrations yet as our course curriculum are still in development.  The FAA has provided an outline of what the pilot training requirements are, and 40 sample questions from the written examination.  If you would like to be notified when registrations will be open, please leave your name and email address.  We promise that your contact information will not be shared with anyone else.
Click here for more information about Treetop Academy
If you still aren't confident that you are ready to fly.
Here is a demo of a training drone (Nano RC Quadcopter) that would be a great tool for learning to fly your Phantom or really any other quadcopter.  If you master the basic flight controls with an hour of flying this toy, the Phantom will be very familiar to you when you first fly it.  This training drone is available from Amazon for $34
FPV (First Person View).
FPV flight is a lot of fun and a feature of many of the off-the-shelf drones.  For your first flight, don't be tempted to use your FPV display - it will only confuse the beginner.  Learn basic flight first.
Where can I fly, what are the rules?
Generally you can fly your drone from any vacant field or parking lot, but you cannot fly near airports or in National Parks.  The FAA rules for drone flight are confusing, but for hobby flight, stay under 400 ft, away from crowds and you should be OK.  Really, at 400 ft you can barely even see your drone. Some communities have enacted restrictions on where you can take off or land.  Sports fields at public schools or parks are popular, but don't fly your drone over the soccer field during a game or practice.  Avoid flying over people until you are really experienced with your drone.  Also avoid nearby tall buildings, power lines and cellphone towers.  The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) maintains a list of approved flying fields for model aircraft and you may have an AMA field near you. Some AMA fields do not permit FPV or even drone flight. Check their website.
Click here to find an AMA field near you.
Treetop.Academy is operated by MannMade Digital Video (
Treetop.Academy is operated by MannMade Digital Video (
Treetop.Academy is operated by MannMade Digital Video (
Treetop.Academy is operated by MannMade Digital Video (