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.