Drones just like mobile phones have come into mainstream use in the last two decades. Drone technology has been greatly improved to fit civilian and commercial use. Previously, drone technology was only synonymous for military use, but it has been expanded to include recreation as one of the benefits of this amazing technology.
With the growth of drone technology, there is a demand for drones in the commercial world. Drones are being used for professional photography and videography. They are also being used to record monitor weather patterns. All these uses have given way for a whole new job market. The drone pilot job market has been growing steadily in this decade and is set to be bigger in the coming years.
Demand for Drone Pilots and Operators
As any conscious citizen, you might want to know whether this job has demand in the economy. The drone technology market is very wide, and new fields are adopting the use of drones to carry out several activities. This means that drone operator jobs are opening up very fast. My guess is that there are even not enough skilled people to fill out this gap.
As I said before, the drone pilot job market is expanding, and you need to know where such jobs are. If you want to become a drone pilot, there are several areas of the economy which need drone operators. Drone operator jobs are constantly growing and available in the following areas.
• Real estate
• Camera operators
• Aerial photography
• Precision agriculture
• The Air Force
• Law Enforcement
• Unmanned Aerial Work
There are many more areas which need the services of a drone operator job. With the improvement in drone technology, there will be a need for more drone operator jobs as more fields continue to embrace this technology.
How Does One Become A Drone Pro Pilot?
If you want to be a drone operator or pilot, the first question you will probably ask yourself is how one becomes a fully trained and certified pilot. Drone piloting isn’t offered in high school, so many people are really clueless from where to start. Becoming a drone pilot doesn’t require you to have straight as in your class but a good experience of flying drones. You are also required to know how to assemble, repair and fly a drone. For you to become a fully trained and certified drone pilot, you must follow the following steps;
1. Do Some Amateur Drone Flying?
Getting some quality flying experience is the first step towards becoming a drone pilot. Purchase a quadcopter and start flying first hand. This will get you familiarized with flying, assembling and operating drones. Do not purchase a very expensive drone when you are teaching yourself how to fly. This is because you are going to experience a lot of crashing before mastering flying drones.
I suggest that you should start by using a quadcopter – which is a drone that doesn’t have a GPS. This way, you will learn to control a drone yourself. A GPS controlled drone will always assist it to get back into control in case it starts drifting, therefore, doing the control
A quadcopter, on the other hand, will drift and your control skills will be put to the test. That’s why using a quadcopter to train drone flying is always advised. Due to this training, you will encounter a lot of crashes which will enhance your flying experience.
2. Get A License From the FAA
The FAA requires you to get a license if you are going to make money flying drones. Thus, this is a mandatory thing to do if you want to be a drone pilot. The FAA has set some regulations for one to get certified;
• The applicant must be at least 16 years old
• One must pass an FAA-approved aeronautical knowledge test
• One must go for TSA security screening
If you obtain all these requirements, you are now set to fly drones for commercial purposes legally.
The aeronautical test is very tough and needs determination for one to pass. It requires a very extensive understanding of the workings of a drone, and I suggest that you familiarize yourself enough with drone technology before undertaking it.
3. More Practice
After you acquire your certification from the FAA, you should not fallback as you still need to hone your skills and become a better pilot? You can even try out drone racing which is very interesting and exciting for someone who is into drone operation. Take up small projects to boost your pilot resume and your chances of becoming a professional drone pilot.
How to Become a Military Drone Pilot
Many people are fascinated by military drones and their usefulness in combating terrorism and surveillance. Military drones are one of the most important in the conflict in the modern world. You can be part of this is you are determined enough. The military provides several requirements from their potential drone pilots;
• One must have secret security clearance
• One must have a minimum of a high school diploma or an equivalent, i.e. GED
• One must take and pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
• One must be an American Citizen
The Armed Forces also require you to have some skills such as interest in radio control and the ability to organize and study the meaning of information.
After one is accepted, he/she attends ten weeks of boot camp and then moves to an important technical program where trainees operate the largest UAS training center in the world.
Where to Find Drone Jobs
Once you have acquired your certification, you can go ahead and find yourself a drone operator job. Before you go ahead and start searching for a job as a drone pilot, make sure that you have participated in inadequate training and related projects. This is because an employer will always ask for the first-hand experience as proof that one can actually operate a drone.
There are several sites that keep an updated list of drone operator jobs. Here are some examples to check out if you want to turn a hobby into a career;
One of the sites I have listed above is a freelancer’s website whereby a person can get hired by companies of all sorts to provide operation services for them. This requires you to at least own a well-serviced drone which will help you do the job.
Are there Schools for Drone Flight Training?
In the USA, there are several schools that exist that help to teach prospective drone pilots and operators on a short-term basis if you feel that your personal training isn’t good enough to secure you a job in the vast job market of drone technology.
There are several schools and college programs that offer top-notch drone operator services for novices and beginners. These programs have real-time drone flight lessons to help you get immersed in drone light and operation;
• Drone launch academy
• Drone pilot ground school
• Drone U
• Fly Robotics Ground
• Unmanned Vehicle University
All these schools are competent and provide quality education concerning drone operation and flight. However, there are many drone hobbyists who are not eager to spend money on training on such programs. These are tones of YouTube videos which are very resourceful to learners. Also, remember that first-hand drone flight is what can assure you of your mastery in drone flying and operation.
How Much Does A Drone Pilot Make?
Any person with a sound mind would want to know how much a drone pilot makes before considering being a professional pilot. Many freelance drone pilots make between $100k up to $250k per year. This depends on the number of gigs a person gets in the year.
Drone pilots who are employed on a permanent basis can earn about $2500 in a week which is a decent salary considering you are doing a job which you love.
The job market for drone pilots is very dynamic, and it is poised for enormous growth in the future. Google and Amazon are testing a pilot project which involves the delivery of retail goods using drones (UAVs). This will open a new set of opportunities for professional drone pilots and who knows, maybe you can be one of them.
Drones have been around for pretty much of the last few decades. Drone technology is constantly being improved every passing day. Drones are an awesome technology, and their invention has paved the way for breathtaking possibilities in areas such as the film industry and military technology. There was a time that drones were expensive and hard to buy. Drone technology has however advanced, and there are better and cheaper drones being produced daily. More people are now purchasing drones since they are now produced in mass and are cheaper. A good drone cost less than $2000. Hobbyists are emerging and flying their drones for fun.
There is a certain thrill when you fly your drone in several places. You might want to fly drones over all sorts of places but is it really safe? There have been incidences of drones causing accidents, spying, crashing into other people’s property, causing noise pollution, disturbing radio waves frequencies and even hurting other people.
Due to such accidents, the law is becoming more restrictive on what you can do with your drones. The FAA has even come up with a map that shows restricted places any drone pilot should fly over unless they are authorized. Flying over these areas is seen as disrupting order in the airspace and in some cases, the FAA can charge you with espionage.
As a believer in law and order, I am here to encourage you to observe safety regulations whenever you are flying your drones. Observing these regulations has some very significant advantages;
• You will have a peace of mind when flying your drone
• You will not be in any legal trouble
• You will minimize your crashes
All these can help you enjoy your hobby as a recreational drone pilot. Commercial pilots should do this to ensure that their businesses run smoothly and thus making a profit for them. They are more inclined to follow these rules than recreational pilots.
No, Go Zones for Drones
In the USA, the FAA is in command when it comes to the sky. They have therefore mapped out a list of inclusive areas from which drones are completely restricted. Do not attempt to fly anywhere in a 5mile radius of these areas. The areas listed by the FAA as no go drone zones include;
• Military camps
• Forest Fires
• The White House
Some Useful Drone Safety Tips
I am devoted to helping our readers to maintain drone flying safety at all times, and that is why I have a list of safety tips to follow if you want to be safe in the sky. As you will notice these safety tips are meant to keep any person from harm resulting in drone flying and also damage of property including itself. Here are some safety tips for drone pilots to observe when operating their drones.
• Read and use your drone manual accordingly. Each drone is unique in how it is operated and using your manual will get you familiarized with it.
• Master all the controls of your drone. Know how your controls work with each other. It will help you avoid crashes.
• Check your drone before every take-off. AS a responsible drone pilot, make sure everything and every part are in place before you launch your drone. Also, make sure that your drone’s battery is fully charged before taking off to reduce a crash due to low battery.
• Pay attention whenever you are flying your drone as many accidents occur due to distractions.
• Avoid flying drones in highly populated areas. Places such as national parks, school playgrounds, and other public areas should be avoided when flying your drone.
• Avoid flying your drone during adverse weather conditions as they can result in malfunction of the rotor and hence crashes. Strong winds and rainfall are not favorable conditions to fly in.
• Do not use manual mode if you have not mastered it. This is one of the reasons for drone crashes. Manual mode has reduced stability, and only experienced pilots should use it.
• Keep your drone in sight. It is the most sensible thing to do to reduce accidents resulting from loss of communication. Fly below 400 feet.
• For a quadcopter pilot, keep your fingers away from the propellers when you are launching your drone as this can largely hurt your fingers. Place the quad on a flat surface away from any person or obstacle before takeoff.
• Avoid flying indoors as it can bring significant damage and cause injuries to the occupants of the house. Only fly indoors if you have mastered drone piloting.
Most Asked Questions about Drone Safety
There are a lot of questions online about drone safety, and I am going to answer some of these questions briefly. Although common sense is very crucial when it comes to drone safety, some rules are tricky and need some explanation for a deep understanding.
1. Do You Need A License for Your Drone?
Recreational drone pilots do not require any license to launch and operate their drones. However, this does not mean that you can fly your drone over any place in your area. All drone pilots are subjected to several drone laws that are put into place by the FAA. The FAA regulates all aerial vehicles and drones are in this category.
Foreigners are however required to register their drones before doing any drone flying in the FAA drone portal. Contact the FAA for more regulations about foreigners and drones.
Commercial drones, on the other hand, are required to be fully registered with the FAA. Commercial drones can include drones which offer commercial aerial photography, corporate drones, drones used for recording various events. If you do not comply with this rule, you are in for tax evasion which is a very serious federal crime. If you are using your drone to make money directly, you should first register it with the FAA.
2. Can I Fly My Drone Over My House?
You can comfortably fly a drone over your own house, and you will not be in for any trouble. However, any accident that results from crashing the drone is your own personal responsibility, and you are liable for all expenses.
You should get an insurance plan you cover your drone in case things go out of control. In an example is where the drone causes very significant damage to public property which can’t be compensated by cash? Take an example where you were flying your drone over your house, and it crashes hitting the electric wires which causes a blackout in your neighborhood. You are liable for the damage, but you can’t pay it since the damage is too large.
This is where drone insurance comes in. First, before taking any insurance over on your drone, ask your insurer whether they cover damage from drones in any existing insurance covers that exist. Drone insurance policies exist, and they cost just around $100 annually.
Unless you are very sure of making zero mistakes while flying your drone, drone insurance is necessary and part of drone safety.
3. Can I Fly My Drone Over Private Property?
Concerning this, the law is very loose. It is illegal for one to fly a drone over private property, but it is not a crime. As I said in the last point, any accidents that arise from your drone crashing will cause liability upon you. For you to be safe when flying your drone over private property, make sure that your drone is within sight. Set a return to home location so that it easily lands back to your property without crashing into private property. In case of any accidents that result from your drone, your insurance policy should cover this.
4. How High Should I Fly My Drone
The FAA stipulates that all recreational drones should fly to a maximum height of 400 feet above the ground. According to the FAA, this is to reduce congestion in the airspace and reduce incidences of drones colliding with manned aircraft. It also ensures that your drone is in sight to avoid accidents.
There was once an incidence whereby a hobbyist drone pilot flew his drone over 11000 feet! Although the FAA did not charge him, he was warned of his actions and told to abide by the altitude restriction limits. Flying in such heights is not advised as you can easily lose your control over the drone and crash it. The battery can drain when your drone is in such as altitude, and the only thing that can happen is it will crash.
Drone safety is a combination of applicable knowledge and common sense. If you observe drone safety, you will enjoy your drone flights and keep yourself and other people far away from harm as soon as possible. I hope that you will have a safe experience when flying your drone and keep yourself out of any legal trouble.