Considering the high level of pay that drone pilots earn, it’s no wonder being a UAV drone pilot job is one of the most coveted careers in America. The average drone pilot can expect to make around one hundred thousand dollars a year and the highest paid drone pilots can make around a quarter of a million dollars each year.
Most drone pilot jobs do not require the pilots to have a college degree of any sort, it’s a career that most people can pursue in a fairly short amount of time, as long as they have the money for start-up costs and training.
The FAA now requires all commercial pilots to take a drone piloting course and pass it in order to get certified and legally work.
For some children, the dream of piloting an aircraft begins at the time they learn how to play video games. With popular games like Battlefield 4 dominating the young minds of the players, it’s no wonder they dream of having a career as a pilot.
Sadly, adults that continue to dream of being a pilot will be faced with a harsh reality. To become a pilot of a regular aircraft typically takes eight years of flight school and has a very pricey cost of tuition to go along with it.
The training to become a drone pilot can take less than a week, but it is expensive. It is not nearly as expensive as going to school to be a regular pilot, however, which can cost an estimated seventy-five thousand dollars in total.
A complete course to get licensed in drone piloting can cost a student between three thousand and four thousand dollars plus traveling costs.
Some of the training course can be done online or at home, but there is a portion of the training material that must be done with a real life instructor aiding their pupil in learning how to adequately pilot their drone in person.
Drone piloting jobs are very popular for a number of reasons.
1) Can do any task and anywhere
UAVs can be piloted through areas that are difficult for human entry. Dam construction and inspections can be complicated. These are tasks that would be almost if not impossible to complete without the use of drones.
Being able to fly into crevices at the highest of heights is an advantage that UAVs have over mere mortals. Bridges are another structural example that would demand the need for drone photography.
Having the ability to photograph points of the bridge that are crucial to safety is a much safer approach than sending a human to inspect the possibly faulty areas. Construction companies recognize this and are eager to employ experienced drone pilots to assist them in their business.
Drones can get the job done faster. For land surveying, it can be faster and more efficient to send a flying camera :to do the job versus relying on a team of people trying to measure the vastness of a certain area of land.
In the future, UAV usage could bring down the price of groceries. Drones will likely save the agricultural industries millions of dollars by eliminating the need for a team of surveyors.
The aerial photography taken by drones will reveal whether or not crops are doing well or if they need further attention. UAVs will be essential when it comes to understanding the amount and severity of damage caused by a natural disaster like a wildfire or a landslide.
Since journeying into these hazardous zones could be dangerous, it is much safer to use a UAV to capture the footage and provide research materials to professionals who deal with containing fires or warning others of imminent peril.
3) Amazing pictures
Drones take amazingly unique photographs. One of the top industries that hire drone pilots is real estate. Sometimes in order to get aerial pictures of a property, real estate agents would have to encourage their clients to pay a photographer to get on a helicopter to take top-down photos of their home, or the agent would have to pay for it themselves.
The use of a drone could eliminate this lofty charge. UAVs will soon be used to photograph extreme sports as well. In sports like snowboarding, motocross, and parachuting, a UAV will be on the scene and in the air with the athlete.
This will make for an improved system of capturing the sports activity. The future drones will be able to shoot the athlete from a few feet away and stay at a consistent level. This could mean no more out-of-focus videography and a better understanding of what is happening in real time.
Drones have also been used in movies since they are much cheaper than hiring helicopter pilots for several members of a video crew to shoot scenes.
4) Good source of income
Piloting drones is a choice career among veteran pilots. Sadly, veteran pilots getting out of the military will sometimes have trouble securing jobs equal to the ones they had while they were in deployment.
Pilot jobs for civilians are few and the process of applying and getting accepted can be daunting. Becoming a drone pilot can be a great career choice as most already have experience in the field. The best part is a career as a UAV pilot may get them a better salary and better lifestyle than they ever had in the military.
5) Going to be used in every field
UAV piloting will soon be a commonplace government job. Drones are already in use by the U.S. government to monitor wildlife, patrol the border, and report atmospheric conditions.
In Alaska, UAVs have been used to monitor sea lion populations. Outside the United States, the well-known non-profit group, the World Wildlife Fund is using drones as a means to stop poachers from killing endangered species.
They can now have a better idea of who is hunting wild animals illegally as well as identifying black-market traders and stopping them before they can do further damage to the habitat.
Most likely the U.S. will soon follow suit, as animal poaching is a problem here, as well. In Texas, they are using drones to scout out the border and keeps an eye on potential drug trafficking. All around the country drones are used to observe and report the current weather.
With the recent changes in the law as well as new technical innovations, society can look forward to more and more drone-centered careers to be on the job market in the near future.
The Smartphone App enables drone pilots to find jobs by:
- Registering for free and no obligation
- Sign up for possible paid drone pilot jobs
- Get notice of paid drone pilot jobs available in their region
- View limited air space maps, weather, and other info
- Get paid for the drone pilot jobs
- Reply with price quotes
Licensed drone pilot jobs are in need as interest in drones is skyrocketing. All drone pilots enrolled on the network must be licensed and insured, and will have the chance to post the sort of scanners and cameras they’re currently carrying. Drone pilot jobs will be matched to the kind of equipment required by each customer, ranging from simple Thermography, photo/video to HD, and even LiDAR.
Pilots are encouraged to register now (no cost or obligation) to be prepared for upcoming drone pilot jobs be going to:
How To Post A Job
For anyone engaged in employing drone pilots, jobs are also posted on the App, which ranges from land surveys, inspections, and insurance documentation to family reunions, marriages, and sports events.
Clients seeking to hire a drone pilot can use the App to post jobs by merely downloading the App and obeying the simple guide to post a job. Pilots in the region will be automatically informed, and customers will have the ability to communicate with the pilot directly. All tasks assigned and completed using the App will need to be covered by insurance.
Are you searching for a position as a drone pilot? Or just thinking what kinds of jobs you will find in the drone market?
We produced this article that will help you navigate drone enterprise jobs. In this post, you’ll get knowledge on the kinds of drone pilot jobs on the market, enterprises using drones in their operation, some cases of salary and wages, and actual real job listings.
But before we proceed any further, we aspire to ask you these questions?
- A drone pilot who carries a Remote Pilot Certification in the U.S., or some similar form of certificate in a different country, and you’re looking for work?
- A drone hobbyist interested in what opportunities are out there for pilots that use a drone?
- Not a pilot, but curious about the non-pilot work opportunities which may be available from the drone market?
We have produced this article to help you post to learn more about the jobs available in the drone business, both for pilots and non-pilots, and to help you better understand each the kinds of work now being performed with drones.
From the list below, we concentrate on the current trends we’ve seen in the drone work that’s pilot have been doing from the last few years, meaning there are quite a few other drone use cases and job opportunities that we have not covered here, such as wildlife monitoring, wedding photography, or ecology, to name only a few.
Drones in Real Estate
Recently, drone pilots have been giving realtors with a prospect which were not possible earlier. Practicing aerial videos, stills, as well as 3D maps generated from information recorded by drone, potential customers are now able to get a thorough view of the property they are considering purchasing.
Real estate marketing job is usually done by a private drone pilot serving as a freelancer to catch aerial pictures and video of a property that is for sale, which the realtor will then use in promotional materials.
Another typical offering nowadays is a virtual tour of properties, which is a video walkthrough of the entire property, including both ground and aerial footage.
Real estate marketing job as a drone pilot needs experiences in both in video/photography work and flying. For a general real estate job you’ll show up at the property, get the coverage you want, and then go home and work on the raw material till you have usable pictures and video to give to a clients, which means you’ll have to have the ability to take care of post-production for the raw media you catch to turn it into real deliverables (i.e., finished photos and videos) to your customer.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot in the Real Estate Industry?
The majority of the drone pilots we have spoken with price their real estate work as a package or by the hour. Hourly rates may vary from $25 / hour all the way up to $200 or more.
Drones in Construction / Mining / Aggregates
Drone pilots are helping these industries to save big money by conducting surveys which help corporations keep account of various aspects of their operations, from the quantity and exact location of stockpiles to the advancement of work in a variety of areas of a job to the security conditions in crucial areas of a site.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Drone Pilot in Mining /Building Aggregates?
Depending on the research we’ve administered, many drone pilots are beginning at about $50 an hour for this sort of work, and for highly skilled pilots they are charging more anywhere from $250 to $500+ an hour, depending on the job, place, and skill level required.
We have read about more experienced pilots working full time in these areas that are making wherever from $50,000 to $70,000 or more than a year. However, as with anything, your earning capability in this sort of job will be straight associated with your level of expertise and knowledge.
Drones in Filmmaking
A drone pilot can place a UAV in the air and receive aerial coverage of a place quickly and gracefully, and drones also don’t incur the very same sorts of insurance prices as helicopters. It means that there’s growing work available for drone pilots in the film industry.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot in the Movie Industry?
Movie work appears to pay well, from the knowledge we have gathered, but the tricky thing is being able actually to get the job. Unlike aerial videography work, such as shooting for weddings or property, finding drone work in the film appears to have a barrier to entry, and it might take some time to develop a client base.
Just how much are people currently earning? Around $200-$500 an hour, anywhere from $ 1,000, or $500 a day, depends on the project and type of work.
Drones in Public Safety
In fire departments, firefighters are currently using drones for inclusive situational recognition. They are also using drones to make maps of other buildings and schools/facilities so that they could understand where the exit points are in the event of a fire.
Law enforcement has been similarly using drones, creating maps of highly trafficked buildings which may be used to help relocate people during an emergency, such as an active shooter scenario. And both fire and police forces use drones after tragedies such as hurricanes, floods, or intense storms to find victims in need of assistance, and also to comprehend the scope of the damage to best direct their resources to those areas that need them most.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot in Public Safety?
Almost all of the drone work, we have discovered about in public safety companies is done in-house, which means that the money you can make will be whatever wages you would expect to make as a firefighter or police officer. These wages vary greatly depending upon your location.
Drones in Insurance
To evaluate these applications, insurance firms have traditionally had to communicate out an insurance corporation, or adjuster who is physical goes to the website, climbs a ladder, and takes pictures of every roof to which a claim was made. But climbing steps all day can be dangerous, not to mention time-consuming.
And that is where insurance inspections come in. With a UAV, a drone operator can run a set design over a broken roof in 20-30 minutes and take all the pictures required to assess an insurance claim.
This type of work is almost straight forward and in high demand as a welcome replacement for hand-operated inspections. The original skill set required is the ability program or to fly your drone to operate a specific mission, and collect images while operating.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot from the Insurance Industry?
To give you an idea of what you can make as a pilot performing insurance-related work, DroneBase provides a flat payout of $70 per assignment for insurance flights. In case you have a lot of homes in a community, you could do them back to back, and make up to $140 an hour or so. But do not start counting your money yet. This type of work is seasonal because it follows the storm patterns, so while you could find plenty of work at certain times of the year, the job may dry up at other times.
Drones in Journalism
Generally, drones are employed in journalism as one more vantage point, for helping to narrate a story, since aerial imagery and video footage can append an extra layer of drama to news coverage.
Much like the film, drones are much affordable than using a helicopter, which offers aerial shots possible where before there would not have been the budget to incorporate them.
One thing to remember about operating drones for reporting is that there’s a spectrum of usage cases, using a range of quality needed. For disaster coverage or breaking news, having the camera out there might not matter so much as having the footage at all. Whereas, if you are attempting to catch an artistic still to follow a written composition or documentary-type footage for a more extended video-based narrative you are helping to cover, you might want a more expensive drone which enables a customized payload so that you can attach your own high-end camera, and get the very best shots possible.
The skill sets needed to use drones in journalism also differ with your individual use case. If you’re employed as a documentarian, you might require a high level of experience in photography and videography, whereas your skill level may not have to be entirely as developed for breaking news coverage. That being told, in most scenarios associated with journalism your flying abilities will have to be top notch, provided you can be flying under stress under challenging conditions, and you might have just one opportunity to get your shot.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot in Journalism?
Most of the people we have met who use a drone in journalism already work in journalism in another capacity, either as a videographer, an anchor, a photographer, or in another role.
Of course, location is a significant factor in how much you will make in journalism there is a city going to pay more than a more smaller town, and it would certainly help to have many skill sets (like having the ability to fly a drone and communicate well).
That being said, several drone pilots in the market do freelancing job in journalism.
Drones in Agriculture
Farmers have been using drones from the last few years to assist them to increase yields by surveying their plants to determine which areas require attention. Using a to do this kind of work is much faster than walking the entire farm on foot, and it’s also more accurate.
Among the most common deliverables, a pilot will give to a farmer is a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index map (NDVI). These maps may be used to recognize what plant is developing where on a piece of property, and also to tell how well each plant is doing.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot from the Agriculture? Industry?
Based on the data we obtained online, pilots are currently getting anywhere from $40 to $150 an hour taking drone job in farming.
That being said, these numbers came from some of their top suggested pilots, there are apparently pilots working for less, and we wouldn’t be shocked if pilots are working for more. If they’ve found a way to show the value of the job, they do in terms of real returns for the farmers with whom they’re working.
Drones in Transportation
Like many businesses, drones are currently helping to reduce the time and cost required in transport for inspections of infrastructure.
To do this kind of you need to have a general understanding of what you’re searching for in such inspections, so making sure that you get coverage of the resources being scrutinized whether their railroad ties, or bridges, or roads, so that problem areas can be identified using the information you collect.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot from the Transportation Industry?
A pilot can earn around $100 an hour performing transportation inspections. For clarity, we are getting this amount from the AASHTO’s announcement that investigations that earlier cost $4,600 and expected 16 hours of labor can now be completed in two hours, at a cost $250 (with $50 going to leasing equipment/information collection expenses).
We do need to note that the $100 figure implies both a drone pilot and a spotter working, so that would lower the hourly fee based on how you look at it. (But if you are running your own aerial services firm, you can assume some extra staff costs will be developed into your overall hourly price.)
Drones in Energy
Similar to transportation, drones are currently providing faster, cheaper techniques to inspect solar panels for electricity companies and assets such as power lines.
To perform this kind of work as a drone pilot, you’ll require technical information of what’s needed in inspections for solar panels, power lines, and other energy-related support. In common, these inspections are conducted to find areas that need maintenance so that issues can be detected early and addressed, but again, as the software develops, this understanding may become less and less crucial.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot at the Energy Industry?
Some pilots are doing energy inspections by drone for $100 an hour, working as a freelancer.
That being stated, A large amount of the energy inspection job we’ve discovered of is directed in-house, by a crew of pilots prepared for that purpose. Depending on our research, people doing power line inspections earn around $70,000-$100,000 or more a year, based on where they reside, what their expertise level is, and how much they work.
Drones in Telecommunications
Generally, when doing such inspections drone pilots are on the lookout for environmental or other hazards before climbing (bees, birds, structural damage, etc.); identifying damaged regions, or exploring the structure’s integrity before personnel climbs the tower to find out if it’s safe to climb at all.
Much like power line inspections, telecommunications towers typically release some sort of magnetic interference, which might make your drone down in case you fly too narrow (means, closer than 100 ft). To serve as a drone pilot in the telecommunications industry, it is essential to have the ability to take photos that are accurate from a distance and to be a highly skilled pilot.
How Much Money Can One Make as a Pilot in the Telecommunications Industry?
According to our analysis and discussions we have had with many drone pilots, various pilots are currently earning between $150-$300 an hour performing tower inspections for telecommunications companies.
One associated data point is that an individual tower climb for inspection missions can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, based on the extent of the inspection. This might be a valuable data point to be informed of if pricing investigation services for tower organizations, that is, it is excellent to know that your drone inspection could maintain your potential customer a lot of capital, while still making you a right amount of money, too.
A career in the armed forces is something that many people consider after high school. Some find themselves drawn to military service from a young age with a desire to serve their country, perhaps due to family ties. Others find their way into the service through other skills and disciplines.
The US Air Force is proud to recruit many different people of different abilities into the service, with a growing range of roles. One area that has grown particularly rapidly is that of drone operations. There are now calls for more trainees and drone pilots in the US Air Force, and it is easier than ever to apply.
However, this line of drone work is not for everyone, and the US Air Force has only just realized the true implications of this form of UAV.
There are many questions to ask yourself before committing to this role. Do you understand the requirements and responsibilities? Do you have the determination and skill to get through the qualifications? Finally, do you have what it takes to handle the mental side of the job?
Drones are an essential part of so many industries that it is no surprise that the US armed forces utilize them too.
(Source: Brian McIntosh)
Drones have quickly developed from novelty toy and instrument of the rich and powerful to widespread tool with potential in many fields. It is not enough to call yourself a drone operator anymore. There are so many fields and industries that make use of these systems that the are clear distinctions between job titles. For example, there are drone operators to work in surveillance and videography, and then there are the Remote Piloted Aircraft Sensor Operators in the Air Force.
At one point, it was quite difficult to get a place as an RPA officer due to a mixture of the factor. First of all, places went to commissioned officers due to the nature of the role. There were also limited training places available to those that made the grade.
Now its seems that the US Airforce has made a slight U-turn by opening up the roles in a need to fill the gaps. There are more opportunities than ever to join the force in this capacity. The continued development of tech and drones means that this can only continue. The Airforce want more planes, more weaponized ones at that, with a new line of Reapers.
The Distinction Between The RPA And The UAV
The name Remote Piloted Aircraft Sensor Operator is quite a mouthful, perhaps to distance the role from that of other drone operators and pilots. This is understandable when we consider the work and training that goes into this post compared to some other roles. Not to mention the sensitivity of the tasks involved. Some RPA operators in the armed forces would probably be a little offended at the term drone operator. Their work goes much further than that.
We have to consider the reasons for these RPAs when we consider the work of the drone pilot in the US Airforce. There are sure to be times when surveillance work and videography are useful on the basis, perhaps with the maintenance of hard to reach places, and small drones and UAVs play their part. However, these roles with RPAs go beyond that into warfare and conflicts. The work of these drones and their pilots is crucial for the success of missions, the information gathered and the ongoing work of the military in key areas.
Then there is the fact that this isn’t your basic drone that you fly around the park.
It is important that we make the distinction here between drones in the air force and drones in commercial settings. This isn’t a quadcopter with a small camera that these pilots operate. Instead, they are more like small unmanned planes that bridge the gap between spy plane and UAV. They are substantial pieces of equipment with serious technical capabilities. At the moment, the US Airforce work with Predators and Reapers, with a desire to focus on improving the Reapers.
The scale and sophistication of these RPAs are clear in the Predator XP. This is the most recent model within a family of drones that stretches back as far as 1995. A lot has changed since then.
The Predator XP provides line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight data link systems, with access to multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors, cameras and radar systems. This highlights the difference between disciplines.
A camera on this RPA is not the same as the camera on a commercial drone. The addition of other ISR systems adds to the complexity. It does take skill and technical knowledge to fly these things.
So What Are These RPA Operators Responsible For?
There have long been jokes made about the roles of soldiers taken over by robots and automated devices. This soon evolved to comments about the roles of drones and the images of pilots flying UAVs into enemy airspace with what looked like video game console controllers. The problem with these jokes and memes is that they run the risk of trivializing the importance of these machines.
US Airforce drone pilots send unmanned machines into enemy territory to gain information on locations and bases without the need to put any human lives at risk. There is always the chance of someone spotting the RPA and shooting it down to prevent the information from traveling back. This is preferable to the alternative with a manned mission or spy plane.
The Airforce mention the following when discussing the role of these operators:
1) “perform pre and in-flight mission planning activities.”
2) “test and evaluate capabilities of new equipment and propriety of new procedures.”
3) “detect, analyze and discriminate between valid and invalid targets.”
4) “perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance”.
5) “assist in air navigation, fire control planning and determining effective weapons controls and delivery tactics.”
6) “conduct immediate first battle damage assessments”.
Simply put, this means a range of potential requirements from planning the mission in addition to operating it, keeping an eye on the enemy, helping to weaponize the systems, determining the best targets and being first on the scene after a battle.
What Qualifications Do Drone Pilots Require?
The image of a soldier in a remote location, manipulating the controls of a far off UAV with a games controller, gives the impression of a laid back, low-skilled effort. However, this is far from the truth as these pilots require a lot of skill and qualifications to enter the service and work these missions.
A drone operator with a pilot’s license and a year in the industry can’t simply walk in and expect to work with the air force. There is a long process of qualifications and training here. After all, the US Air Force only wants the very best who are truly capable of flying these missions.
This all starts with some basic academic qualifications. The force look for candidates with at least a high school diploma, a GED with 15 college credits, or a GED. They also highlight general ASVAB requirements and electronics qualifications. Then there is the experience of the candidate. They tend to look at those with flight experience, as this is both beneficial and desired, but it is possible to train without it.
Applicants must also complete a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI), 7.5 weeks of basic military training and take part in Airmen’s Week. Finally, all applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 39 with a normal color vision for the operation of the drone. Their status upon completion is “Enlisted Airman with credits earned towards Air and Space Operations Technology.”
What About The Qualities Required And The Best Type Of Person For The Job?
Of course, we have to remember that there is more than just physical skill and technical knowledge involved in the qualifications to be a drone pilot in the US Airforce. There are mental capabilities and mindsets required to work well in this environment. This all goes back to that idea of why these pilots fly the drones.
There are deeper implications and moral issues involved with all drone flights. It is one thing to manage a safe, secure flight to and from the designated area with the right footage.
There are also the consequences of these actions. What will happen as a result of the mission? What action will occur if the mission is a success? Some pilots may not know, they may go blindly into their next task with nothing but assumptions. Those that cannot handle those assumption and potential consequences cannot fly drones for the military.
Others will know all too well what is happening and what the implications are. These pilots are those that help with the target identification and weaponization, and those that end up firing a weapon on a person of interest. There are misconceptions about the role of the drone pilot in this situation. That it is perhaps easy to do this in this remote location where they can distance themselves from battle.
However, some say it is easier to be in the war zone where it makes a little more sense, and there is time to process the action on deployment. Here pilots go home to their family after a shift, like a typical 9-5 job, and struggle to answer the question of “how was your day.”
This job is tough to handle, and all trainees need to prepare themselves.
There is the sense here that this is a job full of excitement, like a real-life video game where pilots get to fly around, look for trouble and shoot the bad guys. There is this possibility of action, but most of the shift requires a lot of basic screen monitoring.
Pilots have described the experience as 99% boredom and 1% adrenaline rush, which can take its toll on a shift. There are three shifts per day, each of which is a long time to concentrate on a screen and fly successfully. They are, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., and 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. They can arrive around an hour before the shift starts for a mass briefing on the weather, changes in instructions for the area and other notes from the previous day.
There is then a briefing on the day’s specific mission and an assessment of crew readiness regarding sleep, stress levels and health. They then head to the Ground Control Station (GCS) to replace the previous shift. It is a long period of little action with the potential for that 1%.
It is important to consider why you want to fly a drone in the US Air Force, and if you can handle it.
Anyone considering a move as a drone pilot in the US Air Force needs to consider their reasons for signing up in the first place. Which is the most important priority here? Serving the country or flying a drone? Those that think that flying a drone with the military is the most exciting job prospect with drones need to reconsider. Those that make the grade do some vital work, but it takes a lot of training and hard work to get there.
Also, there are opportunities in other fields where the training is easy, up to date and the work is enjoyable. Those that put the service before the job will stick it out, work their way through and enjoy the role. Still, it is important to remember the qualifications that the air force is after. A high school drops out with few formal qualifications into going to get far, no matter how badly they want it.
The Air Force took its time to wise up to impact of drones and the need to switch enrollment options from commissioned officers to enrolled airmen. Now the opportunities have increased to the point where there aren’t enough drone pilots to fulfill the needs. There is no doubt that the number of positions for RPA operators will only grow in the coming years.
Drones are a necessity with scope for increased numbers and more advanced tech. The US Air Force will always want to best pilots rising through the ranks to take the controls and succeed in these complex missions.
Just like automobiles, drones are set to become part of our daily lives, and their application has evolved from military and stretched to other sectors including filming, surveying, and real estate.
As a matter of fact, online stores like Amazon and eBay have pointed to the possibility of using drones to deliver products in the future even though there are no federal laws to govern the use of drones in transportation.
With these emerging opportunities, the need for a qualified drone pilot becomes apparent. Back in 2016, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) released a job listing that required qualified drone pilots who could fly drones less than 55 pounds.
The requirements were relatively basic as pilots were only needed to keep the drone in sight at all times, fly within 100 miles/hour and operate during daytime only. They were also required to report any accidents that resulted in an injury.
Since then, becoming a certified drone pilot became the dream of many people ranging from video game lovers to aviation experts and those seeking a career change.
What Is Required To Become A Drone Pilot?
The requirements for becoming a certified drone pilot are quite simple. Currently, pilots should be at least 16 years of age and pass a simple written test on the same.
Due to the demand for qualified pilots, schools and training institutions that provide courses for drone flying have popped up all over the country.
One such institution is UVU (Unmanned Vehicle University) found in Phoenix. Tuition and certification costs around $3,800 and participants are taken through three steps.
The first involves watching some 16 hours of online videos segmented into 20 minutes. At the end of each section, learners are expected to answer one question. These videos aim at helping students come to terms with the various drone flying aspects like flight, airspace limitations, weather conditions and how drones work.
After completing this phase, learners are sent a simulator with a controller similar to the original drone controller used in real life. This simulator provides about 12 hours of the various drone flying tasks.
The last step is meeting with a professional instructor for a 2-day hands-on drone flying experience. Learners are also required to pass a written test for the FAA 107 drone pilot certificate.
Where Can You Get Employed?
The demand for drone pilots is set to increase over the coming years as drones become more popular in routine applications. Drones have multiple applications in different industries including the following;
- Filming and video production
- Inspection and survey of real estate property
- In military surveillance, spying, and execution
- Transportation and logistics
- Leisure and entertainment
- Security surveillance and monitoring
Drones can have cameras attached to them and may also be built with sufficient space to carry light cargos and products. The applications of drone technology are often cited as limitless especially since new sectors keep emerging, and the technology is always growing and expanding.
When drones first emerged, they were only associated with the military industry. Today, there are drones in the filming and entertainment industry and real estate.
As drones continue to harness the benefits of existing technologies in other areas, it is expected to impact numerous industries within the coming years. Some experts have compared drone technology to automobiles and cell phone technology.
Is There Career Overreach?
Back in 2013, the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned-Vehicle-Systems-International) released a report that projected over 100,000 jobs within the unmanned aircraft sector before 2025.
In another analysis in 2016, Pricewater Coopers’ analysts expected that the market for commercial drone technology application could hit $127 million within the next four years. Since the FAA announced for drone pilot applications, the number of people looking to join the sector has continued to rise.
More industries are also open to considering new ways in which drone technology can benefit their operations. In the logistics and transportation, for instance, drones can be used to achieve faster delivery of lightweight goods.
The sector will overreach in the future, and the career opportunities for a drone pilot are in no way limited. More trainers, engineers, mechanics and software developers will be required as the technology expands and impacts the world in large scale.
Those interested in changing their careers by becoming a drone pilot will realize it is just as broad and complex an industry like any other and offers various new things to learn.
Owning a drone can be a fun pass time for some individuals, for others, it can be a good way of earn money.
It’s important that professional drone pilots register their UAV and follow the laws that pertain specifically to them. This article includes a list of “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to drone usage.
- Take a piloting course. Enrolling in a UAV/drone course can help a pilot perfect their skills and learn important safety habits.
- Purchase insurance from the seller. Most of the newer types of drones come with optional insurance from the seller. Because of the certainty of an unwanted crash sooner or later, it’s best to pay a little bit more for the insurance than having to replace the entire drone out of pocket.
- Do have fun. If drone photography is a hobby, don’t take it too seriously in the beginning if the pictures aren’t perfect. Pilots will get better in time and so will the quality of their pictures over time. The main purpose of any hobby is to engage in an activity that is enjoyable and relaxing. It’s hard for pilots to have fun if they are overly-sensitive about their first pictures.
- Launch after a visual check of all equipment. The most important thing to check is the battery life of the drone. After the UAV has been used for a time, the owner will likely notice a difference in how long the battery will last. It’s important that they monitor the drone, so they don’t run out of battery while the drone is mid-air. They should also check the propeller for debris of any kind that could have gotten stuck to the blades in a previously flight. Making sure their camera has enough battery and that the camera has been adjusted to the appropriate settings is a must for getting back great photography.
- Don’t purchase the most expensive drone equipment right off the bat. Even novice and expert drone pilots admit that crashes still happen to them.
- For new pilots, it’s best to start with cheaper equipment and then buy better equipment once they’ve built up their expertise and confidence flying. The pilot can always sell their old drone when it’s time to get a new one and recoup some of their money.
- Don’t fly when the weather isn’t ideal. It can be tempting for a drone enthusiast to want to fly their UAV even when in not-so-perfect weather. If it’s rainy (or looks like it’s going to rain), snowing or the wind is blowing above 15 mph, it’s not the day to take the drone out for a whirl. The pilot should wait for a day that has milder weather conditions to avoid a crash.
- Don’t fly in high-risk areas. Anywhere within five miles of an airport is off limit to drone pilots due to a small but real possibility of interference. Pilots also should avoid areas that are crowded, because they wouldn’t want a crash to occur on top of a fellow human being in case something on the drone malfunctions or weather causes it to fall.
- Don’t rely fully on autopilot. Most new pilots make the mistake of being heavily dependent on the autopilot and GPS system. The problem with this is that GPS isn’t 100% accurate and GPS can fail if there are tall structures blocking the signal. Autopilot isn’t foolproof either. In case it quits working, the owner will need to know how to pilot their UAV well enough to land it safely.
The latest advances in drone technology may have people viewing UAVs in a brand new light. As new technology usually tends to intimidate people who are not familiar with it, drones are no exception to the rule. Public awareness and drone pilot training are very important.
Citizens are concerned about their privacy being violated, which is a reasonable concern by all means. Thankfully, The FAA has intervened and made laws to protect the public from exploitation via drones.
Another issue is people are afraid of a pilot losing control of a drone and people getting hurt in a crash. This is also understandable. Fortunately, laws are in place that requires all professional drone pilots to complete a course, so they know what they’re doing when they control their UAVs flying through the air.
The final concern seems to be fear of the unknown. The general public doesn’t know what drones are capable of and most have only heard of drones being used for extreme situations, like bombing.
Those responsible for responding to emergency situations are finding out through research and experience just how helpful drones can be in assisting them in their line of work.
The police, as well as citizens, are beginning to understand how drones can save lives in many search and rescue situations.
How Can Drones Help Us
In the case of fire emergencies
Certain drones can be equipped with a heat detector. This can be critical in the case of a fire within a building. When homes and apartments catch on fire, often firefighters have no way of knowing if there are people trapped inside and if so, where they are.
By sending in a fire resistant drone to scope out each room, the rescue team can determine if there are people who need to be saved. The heat detector can also signal where the fire is the hottest and where the fire most likely started.
The drone can sometimes detect the presence of humans within the residence even if they can’t be seen due to smoke. If no one is trapped inside the building, the firing squad will know not to endanger anyone in the team’s life by sending them into the most dangerous parts of the building to find people. They can choose a safer route to getting the fire put out.
In the case of natural disasters
Drones can also be a much-needed help during natural disasters. If a landslide or earthquake occurs, it can be much faster to use a drone to survey the damage and search for injured citizens. Helicopters were once the primary vehicle used in these types of dire situations.
Although they are the ideal choice for rescuing people who can’t escape from danger surrounding them, drones are the quickest and most efficient way to find them. UAVs can get closer to the action and obtain better videography than a camera person or search team can from high up in a helicopter armed with only a video camera or binoculars.
Because drones can be the quickest response vehicle on the scene in the case of a wildfire, they should be able to retrieve the data necessary to determine where the fire is headed next. At that point, government officials can send fire trucks to try to put out the current inferno and stop its progression.
Drones as a police force
North Dakota now allows drones to assist police in taking down criminals. The drones can’t legally shoot or fatally wound anyone, but they can stun perpetrators after given police orders. This type of police force is new, so right now some citizens are wary of the new gadget on the force, but it’s easy to understand the benefit a stun drone can have.
In the case of a hostage situation where the abductor is armed, a drone can fly in and temporarily paralyze the kidnapper so the hostage can flee and police can step in before anyone gets seriously hurt. It’s important to remember that the drones used by the police require a pilot to operate the controls, it is not a robot acting on its own.
These are just a few of the many examples where drones aid in public safety. As the government slowly integrates drone assistance in common safety procedures and emergency situations, the more comfortable the public will likely become when it comes to using the drone technology in everyday necessities.
Drone Pilot Jobs
Because of its high-paying jobs, the drone industry is considered as one of best new career options in America.
An experienced and skilled UAV pilot can make up to a quarter of a million dollars each year.
There are places where drone pilots can help us, for example, during fire emergencies, natural disasters, police, etc.
Fire resistant drones can be used to check if there is anyone stuck inside the building, so that firefighters can help them as soon as possible.
Drones can also help us see the damage caused by an earthquake or any other natural disaster.
There are many different types of jobs available in drone industry from which some of them are given below.
In big projects like construction of a huge building or bridge, drones are always used instead of human beings as it becomes a risk for human life.
To get the perfect camera angle from the sky, drones are used in the movies instead of helicopters, as they are really cheap and handy.
Agriculture drones are used to check the health of the crop and monitor if there is any bug in there as it can affect the overall yield of the crop.
It becomes easier for a farmer to check which part of the field needs water and which part needs fertilizers.
An inspecting team, with the help of agriculture drones, can determine in few days the potential harvests of the crop.
To get the pictures of the huge property, drones are being used largely as it gives us the overall view of the building. Now drone photography is available, drone pilots contacted from time to time to get the picture of the property from outside and inside.
These are just some of the fields available in the market, where drone pilots can work.
In the near future, expect even more new jobs will be created, as this is a fast-emerging field.
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Nowadays drones are being used in almost all fields whether it is Construction, Real Estate, Events, Agriculture, and Movies etc. To work in these field, skilled pilots are required who can fly drones, so being a UAV pilot is one of the most promising new careers in America.
Those who fly drones for fun/ hobby can become a professional and skilled pilot and can have a good source of income.
For the purpose of safety, it is important to go for a pilot training rather than flying drones without knowledge and skills.
There is no need of any degree to be a drone pilot; it is a profession that anyone can pursue at any time just by spending some money in training. Drone photography/videography is the most common job available in this industry.
Investing in drone training programs can be very helpful for a pilot as it fulfils the main purpose of safety. Those who have taken drone training classes have a good understanding of safety. Other than safety FAA has some guidelines which should always be followed to make sure that it will not affect you in future.
Getting certification in UAV training can also help to attract the new clients easily because unskilled pilots cannot give you the assurance of safety. Along with the acquisition of new clients, old clients will also be repeated because their work quality is obviously higher than those of non professionals.
During construction of large projects like bridges, there are places where it is risky for a human being to go, at those places drones becomes really handy and can help to get the clear picture easily.
Drones are now used in most of the movies to get the camera angles which are only possible by helicopters other than drones. Since drones are really easy to use, cheap and portable, they are used mostly to save the time and money.
Agriculture drones are helpful to check the health of the crops and find if there is any bug or insect is there in the crop. Proper measures can be taken if these things will be known to a farmer in advance. There are a lot other uses of drones in agriculture besides surveying drones.
The demand for UAV pilots is going to increase in coming years as it is an industry which is growing at a very fast rate. There will be more emerging careers in the drone industry which can help pilots to make way for their better future.
On this blog we cover the best training schools that provide practical pilot training for drones and UAVs of all types: fixed-wing, multi-copter and more.
We are focused on helping people who want to get into the drone piloting industry. These include existing pilots and those who know nothing about flying a drone. Let us guide you to the training programs, simulator software and online training courses that you need to build a career in this field.
Who Is Garmax Aviation?
Our small team of UAV operators has experience preparing drone/UAV pilots in several industries, including agriculture, real estate, construction and utilities.
We provide new commercial operators with training tailored to the individual. Our training covers UAV flight basics, navigation, regulations, operations and security.
Our dedicated team has many years of experience in the aviation industry, and we are further increasing our skills as changing environment and demands dictate.
Why Become a UAV Operator?
The demand for UAV pilots and technicians is rising at an extremely fast pace in America, but the availability of skilled workers is not enough to fulfill this demand. This shortage will only increase when the new FAA certification program comes online in early 2017 (no more COA’s).
Companies are now looking for skilled technicians and pilots to fill their slots, and many are offering an average annual salary of about $100,000.
We are here to help you grab this opportunity and to prepare you for this high income career of the future. Our goal for this blog is to guide you to the practical knowledge, certifications and expertise you need to enter this field. Whether that involves us, or not.
We’ve found that most people who are interested in this industry – especially those who fly drones as a hobby and want to make it as their profession – just do not have the basic piloting knowledge and technical education needed to operate a UAV safely and within regulatory guidelines.
For those who are interested to know the future of this industry and available jobs, we are here for you.
Just drop us a note on our Contact page if you have a question!