Navigating the Skies: Demystifying the Journey to Becoming a Professional Drone Pilot
Is it hard to be a drone pilot? While flying a drone isn’t necessarily difficult after a fair bit of practice, transforming this recreational hobby into a fulfilling and profitable profession demands a good amount of hard work and endeavour. The burgeoning drone industry continues to yield immense opportunities for those willing to chart their flight plans and navigate the unique journey of becoming a commercial drone pilot.
Understanding the Legal Landscape: Drone Operator vs Drone Pilot
Many enthusiasts may wonder about the line separating a drone operator from a drone pilot. While both roles involve the operation of drones, one involves casual use while the other demands certain legal prerequisites in a commercial context. A drone pilot is simply a competent and, where required, licensed and certified professional. Proficient not just in flying drones but also in understanding all underlying regulations governing their commercial flight.
The Thrust Needed: The advantage of having an A2 CofC Certificate (and others)
As mentioned earlier, becoming a commercial drone pilot usually requires obtaining certain legal certifications. In the UK, for instance, anyone flying a drone needs to register as an operator with the Civil Aviation Authority. If a pilot flies a drone that weighs more than 250g, certificates of competency like the A2 CofC Certificate enables the pilot to break free of the very tight restrictions that govern anyone who does not hold the certificate. Certain certifications are not just a testament to a pilot’s abilities, they are an essential requirement for anyone who wishes to fly their larger drones in more commercially-relevant locations and situations. Some of the more popular drones weighing more than 250g are the DJI Mavic, DJI Air and DJI Inspire series of drones.
Charting a Course: Enrolling in a Flight School
Although not essential, a worthwhile route to consider in the drone industry is professional training. Enrolling in a reputable flight school brings not just technical proficiency, but also equips one with necessary actionable insights about the industry, which can be invaluable down the line. Courses usually cover a broad spectrum including but not limited to operational manuals, drone laws and insurances, and flight assessments – building a rock-solid foundation for an aspiring commercial drone pilot.
Assessing Your Skills: The Key to Ascendency
An essential stage during training is a skills assessment. This doesn’t have to be anything particularly formal, but it involves attempting a number of manoeuvres that are potentially more complicated than the standard up, down, left, right. For example, can you fly downwards whilst rotating the gimbal to stay focused on the horizon? Or can you make use of all of the modes available on your drone when the right circumstances present themselves? These are all good personal benchmarks to see where you are at, and to ensure you are getting the most from your equipment.
Conquering the Sky: Exploring Industries Benefiting from Drones
Drone pilots today find their skills increasingly in demand across various industries – from high-resolution aerial photography for real estate to conducting technical inspections in the energy sector. Companies often hire drone pilots for freelance jobs, adding flexibility to this exciting career. Not just being able to fly a drone but also knowing the ins and outs of operating an attached camera can go a long way.
A Day in the Life of a Drone Pilot: Insights and Real-life Stories
A typical day for a commercial drone pilot can vary immensely based on their chosen niche. Survey drone pilots might spend their day mapping extensive terrains, while others specialising in videography might be on a shoot getting the very best angles for their client. Some drone pilots also take it further, learning all there is to know about editing so that they can handle the creative process from start to finish.
Calculating the Flight Path: Income and Opportunities in Drones
Income as a drone pilot can vary substantially based on expertise, type of drone used, and specialisation chosen. As the industry expands, drone pilots with professional certifications and niche specialisations can expect the best growth in their income. The key though is patience. Patience in terms of honing your own expertise and setting yourself apart from the crowd, and patience in terms of the adoption of drone work in general across industries. Even though the value of drone photography and videography is obvious to most readers, many people elsewhere are hesitant to adopt it simply because they don’t know enough about it yet.
Obstacle Alert: Challenges and Solutions for Future Drone Pilots
Like any profession, the path to becoming a drone pilot is challenging. From obtaining the required certifications to mistakes and crashes that are inevitable in any drone pilot’s lifetime. However, with the guidance from experts and small businesses like Drone Studio North East, navigating these challenges hopefully becomes a little easier.
A career as a drone pilot offers the unique thrill of navigating the open skies. For those considering walking the path of drone piloting, resources are abundant. Like here at Drone Studio North East, based in Newcastle, many professional institutions and individuals offer tips and guidance to help you get to where you aspire to be. So, go ahead, spread your wings, and take the first step towards becoming a recreational or commercial drone pilot.