Drone flying is one of the most fun hobbies people choose to take in nowadays. You must also know that you can actually even make good money out of flying drones professionally as a qualified drone pilot. From a legal standpoint, becoming a drone pilot is a bit complicated – especially in the US. It does seem like there isn’t a legislative basis for professional drone piloting. Luckily, though, there’s a loophole that might just allow you to pose as a drone pilot – but it’s tricky. So, if you want to become a drone pilot, we have here a complete guide to becoming one: the tips, the tricks, and the in-betweens.
Advantages of Becoming a Drone Pilot
Before we look at the stages involved in becoming an unmanned aerial vehicle pilot (UAV pilot), you should first know the advantages that await:
- Drones have become an integral part of many fields of work. From surveying properties in real estate to shooting incredible sights for movies. Also, from fighting crime to extinguishing wildfires, and from delivering pizza to journalism. All these are incredible uses that make sure you’ll have more than enough work to go around.
- It’s completely legal. All you need to do is register your drone with the FAA if your drone weighs more than 250 grams.
- It will get you hired. Once you become a licensed UAV pilot, you’ll be able to work professionally and you’ll have more than enough trust to go around.
- No more skepticism. Drone pilots generally get sneers when they apply for a job. That’s because they probably don’t have a license. If there’s one thing that movie producers don’t like to invest in, it’s an unlicensed UAV flyer.
Now you’ve probably understood that becoming a drone pilot is not just about learning how to fly a drone. It’s also about getting licensed. The next section will feature information on what steps you need to take in order to become a drone pilot.
How to Become a Drone Pilot
In the United States, federal law dictates that those who want to fly a drone commercially require a pilot’s license. You heard that right. So, in order to go into the legal green area, potential drone pilots will need to have about $10,000 for piloting lessons. Or will he?
The solution to this incessant problem is a great big ball of hot air floating across the sky. Learning to pilot a hot air balloon will get you a pilot’s license. That will be for half the money, half the risk, and half the time of typical flight lessons. Sure it may still seem unnecessary, but you will gather some basic know-how of flight. And if you still have a problem with this, then you might as well take it up with Congress!
Here are a few things that you need to know before learning how to become a commercial drone pilot:
- Drone piloting is being regulated by the FAA. They are the ones you’ll need to address in case you have questions.
- If your drone weighs over 0.55 lbs., you need to register it. Simply go to the FAA and index your drone. This is effective as of December 21, 2015.
- You don’t need a license for personal use. As long as you abide by the typical safety guidelines, you don’t need a pilot’s license. These are: fly during the day, never fly above other people, stay away from national parks, and always have the drone in your line of sight.
- You first need an exemption. Before the training to become a licensed drone pilot starts, you’ll need to apply for a 333 Exemption from the FAA. If you’re working for a company, then your boss will be the one required to apply for the 333 Exemption.
- There are several types of pilot licenses. You can either have a private, commercial, airline, or instrument pilot’s license. An FAA Medical Third class certificate is also required but as of the most recent legislation, it can be substituted with a typical driver’s license.
- Getting a pilot’s license is not enough. Depending on the job you want to apply for, you’ll need further training. Think about this before endeavoring to get a license. Those who want to shoot photos and videos at striking heights will need some cinematography training prior to actually making any money.
- Start low and always seek more training. A professional drone pilot should begin his career with the most basic of drone pilot jobs – such as spraying pesticide over crops or delivering pizza. All the while you should be seeking further qualification so that your drone piloting skills will have a chance to be put through a real test.
A few extra tips on actually flying the drone:
- Don’t dismiss flying lessons. There will be a considerable amount of knowledge that will actually help you with flying the drone. It’s very important to learn about weather conditions and how they can affect flight. All the more important is learning about flight regulations so that you never get in the way of other aircraft.
- Flying must become second nature. Handling those controls must become muscle reflex before you actually apply to get a pilot’s license. Extensive training is paramount if you actually want to earn a serious income from your drone pilot career.
- Don’t assume you can fly without a license. First of all, most employers will dismiss you immediately if they learn you don’t have a license. Second, it’s illegal to do so – so don’t! Third, you will endanger everyone around you including yourself. Fourth, piloting skills are absolutely necessary, especially if we look at what drones can do today and how advanced they’ve become.
Have you found your balloon license trainer? Actually learning how to fly is the most important step in being able to become a drone pilot. So, while it will grant you a UAV pilot’s license, it will also make for a safer flight and better knowledge of safety regulations.