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Fancy a career as a Drone Pilot?

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​You may have started dreaming of sending a drone soaring above the landscape a long time ago but now want to make the dream a reality as more and jobs are opening up across the globe. You may already have tried your hand with models or toys but the dream of being a drone pilot and earning a living that way, is now more than ever, within your grasp.

What is a drone pilot?

Officially a drone pilot operates Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). In the USA it is known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAS).

They control drones using remote controls or automated software. Commercial drone pilots are professionals who fly drones for a huge variety of organisations.

What does a drone pilot do?

A commercial drone pilot operates a drone to collect data or images or deliver items like parcels or agricultural seed. They can work in a variety of sectors, including:

  • Real estate: Real estate agencies sometimes hire drone pilots to take photos and videos of a property. Drone pilots gather the images and data necessary to create 3D virtual home tours. They may also take aerial photos or videos for real estate marketing.
  • Marketing: A company can hire a drone pilot for a marketing campaign. For example, a theme park could hire a drone pilot to take videos for their televised commercials.
  • Surveying: Drone pilots help surveyors gather information for new projects and maps.
  • Building and construction: Construction companies may work with a drone pilot to create 3D images of a new project. Drone pilots can also work with building inspectors to gather information about a new building.
  • Entertainment: Drone pilots can work in the entertainment industry, gathering images or videos for concerts, movies and live sporting events.
  • Insurance: Some insurance companies use drone pilots to gather information regarding insurance claims. For example, they may have a drone pilot fly overhead to gather data for a risk assessment.
  • Mining & Excavation: Drone pilots can work in the mining industry to collect mapping information.
  • Safety: Drones can gather thermal imaging data, which can help public safety professionals, such as firefighters.
  • Agriculture: Drones are often used for surveying and mapping landscapes and then delivering seed or spraying crops.
    • Scientific surveys: From archeology to geology and from conservation to meteorology, scientists are increasingly using drones to see features of the natural environment which are difficult to obtain either traveling on the ground or by plane or satellite.
  • Military. The military were early users of drone technology.

Daily work
Depending on the sector, this can include:

  • Capturing aerial photos, film or data,
  • Planning flight paths and monitoring drone flights,
  • Meeting with clients to discuss data,
  • Reviewing regulations and complying with local flight laws,
  • Delivering parcels or seed or insecticides to a specific location.

How to become a drone pilot

Commercial drone pilots need to earn a certification through the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). Search for RPAS (Remote Pilot Aircraft Systems).

The latest eligibility requirements and guidelines are:

  1. An applicant should not be less than 18 years of age
  2. Applicants must hold current medical assessments
  3. A certified training provider must be identified
  4. Foreign theoretical training will be approved and validated (ASK)
  5. Only successful completion will be accepted
  6. Applicants must pass the RPL practical assessment
  7. Applicants must also pass Radiotelephony Examination
  8. Achieved English Language Proficiency (ELP) level 4 or higher.
  9. All applications must be submitted to the SACAA.

For a list of  accredited training providers CLICK HERE

Buying a drone

You do not need to buy a drone until you are sure this is what you want to do. The training provider will have drones for you to practice on and take your exams. But it may be worth while deciding on

  • the kind of work that is open to drone pilots in your area.
  • the kind of work you may prefer (although it is only through practice that you will know for sure).

Research what work is available in your area

A website like https://dronedigital.co/ puts employers in touch with pilots and has a good overview of work that is available.

Register your drone

Once you have your remote pilot certificate and have bought a drone, you must register it. You can complete a registration online, and it will be valid for three years.

Register your drone

Once you have your remote pilot certificate and have bought a drone, you must register it. You can complete a registration online, and it will be valid for three years.

Flying Practice

Once you have your certificate, you can begin working as a commercial drone pilot. But many employers look for drone experience when hiring new pilots so practice, practice, practice. Remember to always adhere to the rules and regulations!

 Job hunt

To connect with employers looking for drone pilots go to https://dronedigital.co and register.

Stay up-to-date

An important part of being a commercial drone pilot is staying updated on the current regulations and guidelines which may change at any time. Because of this drone pilots must renew their certificates every often by passing a recurrent knowledge test. They must also re-register their drones regularly.

Copyright: DIGITAL DRONE https://dronedigital.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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