Category Archives for "Flight Training"
To compliment our earlier post about drone training in the UK here is the second in this series about careers and employment – Drone Training USA.
Making a living by flying drones is becoming a more and more widespread career trajectory for many. This is due to a massive technological boom in the UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) market. The digital age has shepherded in a new era where jobs in the tech field are developing by leaps and bounds. The starting salaries are pretty enticing with many jobs starting between $45,000 to $65,000 per year.
Training to become a commercial drone pilot is appealing due to the versatile nature of the certification. You won’t be stuck with a useless degree in a field with no jobs and a large amount of student debt after your training, either. Drone training is open to anyone who wants to learn a new and useful skill that will get you somewhere in today’s job market. The typical drone certification course costs around $4,000, whereas tuition at a traditional college averages out to be nearly $27,000 annually in 2017.
Certain people are typically drawn to seek out drone pilot training. Some of these groups include experienced quadcopter hobbyists wanting to transition into being paid for their skills, former military personnel looking for a civilian career, and even photographers interested in growing their business by offering aerial photography. People seeking a new career in a growing market are also flocking to take certification courses.
If you’re bored in your current career, or even need your first career, and have been wanting a major change, then this could very well be the right path for you. Not everyone is suited for office or retail life. Being able to enjoy the outdoors, travel (depending on your job), and gather stunning images and information from a fresh point of view are all major factors in drawing new pilots into this field.
There are a lot of new careers being created thanks to drone technology in fields with dangerous and dirty jobs that not a lot of people want to do. Drones reduce the risk of personal danger when performing many of these jobs. Surveying natural disaster sites and aiding law enforcement are examples of how drones can impact the safety of a job.
Archaeology is another interesting field that has greatly benefitted from the use of drones. Drones aid archaeologists in surveying new sites of interest and help them better prepare their team for the dig. They save money and have unprecedented access to areas previously thought unreachable by any means other than expensive fly-overs and dangerous hikes.
Surveying using LIDAR, map making and photogrammetry are fields that have benefitted greatly from UAV pilots. Drones have contributed to the advancement of new photographic techniques in order to create a detailed view of the landscape.
The YouTube community has made a new market for drone use as well. Some very well-known YouTubers have utilized drone technology to make their productions pop and views increase. You don’t have to be a YouTuber to enjoy and profit off of videographer skills, though. Drone wedding photography is becoming increasingly popular as you can get some pretty cool shots of the big day that way. The sky is literally the limit with videography.
Due to well-placed regulations by the FAA you must become certified before becoming a professional by taking a drone training course. There are actually many of these available online, but you may need to be willing to go to an on-site campus for part of the course so you can get hands-on training. UVU, Unmanned Vehicle University, is one of many that offer a reputable program for prospective pilots. You must find a school accredited by the FAA.
Some of the things covered in the certification course at UVU are a history of drones, the physics of how they work, and how the controls work. You will also learn about weather principles in regards to flying drones. Most importantly you will gain experience and instruction from qualified instructors. They will teach you about safety and FAA regulations as well.
After the “written” part of the course, you will then be given the opportunity to fly a drone simulator. This is the next best thing to real life experience. In a simulation, you can’t really cause any damage, but it still feels real.
After passing the “written” and simulation sections of the course, you will then have your flying classes. These are the most important step. You can’t learn to fly a drone without flying a drone. As part of the course materials, you will build your drone from a kit.
In addition to certification courses, there are also supplemental classes you can take to enhance your skillset. Udemy has a plethora of courses at a low price of typically $10 per class. You can focus on certain specializations like videography and photography, and even how to start your own business using your drone pilot training.
With the right education and training, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful professional drone pilot in the field of your choosing. When choosing a school, please do your research. It is essential that the program you choose is backed by the FAA and follows all of their rules.
Know Your Regulations and Laws
The FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, has strict guidelines you must follow if you’re to become a drone pilot, but especially a professional being paid for your services. These rules and regulations are essential in keeping others and your equipment safe.
There are variations in the rules between flying your drone as a hobby and flying or pay. A drone hobbyist doesn’t need to have a pilot’s certification, whereas the professional pilot does. Let’s discuss some of these rules that you must follow, specifically the professional pilot rules, according to the FAA website. This is not an exhaustive list.
1. You must be a minimum of 16 years old. There is no minimum age requirement for drone hobbyists, but due to labor laws, one must be of a certain age before being paid for a service. Most jobs you can’t get until you’re at least 16.
2. Have the Remote Pilot Airman Certificate. This is where the course you took or are planning to take comes in.
3. You will need to pass TSA vetting. The TSA is the Transportation Security Administration. They’re the ones who control who can fly, even as a passenger on an airplane. They have to do the security checks for professional drone pilots so that the security of clients, companies, and the government aren’t threatened by someone with ulterior motives.
The professional drone pilot is one of the fastest growing career paths because there are so many directions you could go with it. As long as you do your research, pick a reputable certification program, and follow the rules then you can be well on your way to literally changing how we see and experience the world around us.
Drones are becoming increasingly numerous in many aspects of daily life. By now most people are familiar with the fact that they take photographs, film aerial videos, and map the landscape.
Recent drone market data has confirmed that UAS technology has progressed from the exploratory experimental phase and has now reached the solid implementation phase.
In this Drone Age UAV will become an essential part of operations in everything from professional photography to the oil and gas industry. It is predicted that by 2020 there will be 7 million drones in the air.
Between this year and the next the figure will reach approximately 600,000 commercial drones alone flying below 500 feet in our skies. Perhaps, as you watch TV news, documentaries, and films you have already become accustomed to spotting the drone footage.
Drones are a huge advantage to many including map makers seeking greater accuracy and a method of collecting data in a cost effective way. For example, they are reportedly being used by Apple to improve its Maps app.
Drones can also be used for internal end external structural inspections of buildings and industrial plants. This makes them immensely useful for collecting data using a variety of camera lenses in areas that are dirty or dangerous – where humans would prefer not to visit due to the risks or the discomfort involved.
As a result of the burgeoning drone industry there is an ever growing demand for drone pilots. There has never been a better time to get involved in flying drones. Perhaps you plan to incorporate drone technology into your current business, or you intend to become a freelance drone pilot, or perhaps your goal is to start a drone business.
Whatever your ambitions you will need good quality training provided by companies authorised to provide it by the aviation authority.
Flying any aircraft requires that the pilot in command obeys certain rules and regulations. The same principles apply to pilots in command of unmanned aircraft. The fact that you’re on the ground and not in a cockpit doesn’t alter the fact that you have a responsibility for an aircraft.
Your UAV may be small and light, but it’s an aircraft nonetheless. It means that you have to adhere specific restrictions relating to RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems) operating at low level and often in areas of intense human activity e.g. urban and industrial areas.
One of the responsibilities of UK’s CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) is formulating and administering of all aspects of Air Law. There are rules which apply to all unmanned aircraft, whether they are being flown for fun or for commercial reasons.
These rules will vary depending on the size of your drone and where you are planning to fly it. If you plan to fly your drone over your own property then fewer restrictions will apply, although there will still be some with which you need to be familiar.
The main purpose of all this regulation is safety. They are designed to minimise the risk of any injury to people (on the ground or in the air) or damage to property. There are also regulations that protecting peoples’ rights to privacy and for prohibiting the use of drones for illegal activities.
The main source of all the information about the UK’s rules and regulations is the CAA’s website. Start at unmanned aviation section and become familiar with all the contents.
If you want to fly a drone for any kind of commercial work in the UK you need to be over 18 years old. You will need to pass a written exam that tests your knowledge of best flying practices, airmanship, air law, and airspace restrictions. You will also need to pass a flight assessment in which your flying skills will be tested.
Thirdly, you will need to compile an Operations Manual which outlines the basic flying procedures for the types of flights you intend to undertake with your drone.
Once you’ve passed the exam and the flight assessment, and completed your Operations Manual, you can apply to the CAA for a PfCO which stands for Permission for Commercial Operation from the CAA (Formerly called PfAW – Permission for Aerial Work. They changed it in August 2016).
PfCO’s are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Applications for renewal are best sent at least 30 days before the expiry date to ensure continuity.
If you change the type of UAV flown or any aspect of the type of flights flown then you’ll need to amend your Operations Manual and inform the CAA of those changes.
In the UK training is provided by NQEs, National Qualified Entities. These are training organisations approved to provide training, adjudicate exams, and conduct flight assessments.
There are NQEs all over the UK now. Just google for ‘drone training‘ in your chosen area e.g. ‘drone training Exeter‘. You shouldn’t have to travel too far for courses and assessments.
Failure to comply with CAA regulations can result in hefty fines and even a prison sentence. It is therefore crucial to make sure that you do not fall foul of the law at any time, and the safeguard against that is high quality training that fosters a good sense of airmanship.
Safe and legal training is provided by CAA accredited training organisations called NQEs, National Qualified Entities. Choosing one of these organisations to train you is a very smart choice because it means that you will know the relevant regulations perfectly.
As well as providing the theoretical knowledge that you need an NQE will also provide practical training. They will lead you form ab initio student to a professional level of competency. They will also advise you on how to apply for your PfCO.
Currently, there are four main paths that people take to become commercial drone operators.
The first path is as a hobbyist who finds that they can make money from their drone flying skills. If you can already fly a quadcopter well you may already have been wondering if you can earn money by doing so. Your experience of the flying characteristics of various airframes and the software that controls them will stand you in good stead for the move into the professional world.
The second path stems from the military. If you originally trained as a military UAV pilot and you’re now ready to now move into the civilian world then there are commercial drone flying openings awaiting you. The military experience with the emphasis on teamwork and adherence to flight procedures are the ideal foundation for a new career flying commercial UAV.
Thirdly, we have professional photographers who are looking to branch out into aerial photography. If you already work as a photographer it makes sense to capitalise on the growing demand for aerial photography. Aerial photography skills will enable you to get that perfect shots from previously inaccessible angles and heights.
The fourth and final path to drone flying starts with anyone who thinks of themselves as an entrepreneur. If you want to make money from the hottest trends and are seeking a career in a developing market, and if you are ready to turn your hand to anything as long as it is lucrative, drone flying is for you.
In addition to the basic drone pilot training classes provided by CAA accredited NQEs there are various specialisations that you can adopt. Depending on your current or desired career you might want to specialise in videography, cinematography and film editing alongside basic drone flying skills. Technological additions to your drone will enable you to equip it for a specific purpose such as film making or high definition photography.
Another popular customisation to consider for your drone is a LiDAR sensor. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors send a pulsing laser beam to scan the earth’s surface and measure the time it takes for the light to hit the target and return to its source. The data is compiled to create very accurate 3D models of terrain. These sensors are highly useful in any profession that requires topographical data such as agriculture, forestry, and archaeology.
You may be surprised by the vast array of courses that are available to enhance your current drone flying skills and ensure that you can put your drone to good use in a specific field. From courses on building quadcopters from scratch to others on using drones for aerial photography, videography, cinematography, and live streaming you will have no trouble finding a teacher and a module that suits your needs.
As new applications for drones are discovered and new niches open up in the market, new drone training courses are beginning up and down the country.
To summarise, start your drone training with accredited trainers who will help you develop the habits that will last throughout your career. Develop a strong sense of airmanship and situational awareness that keeps you in control of any aircraft in flight.
In Continental Europe drones are regulated by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). Laws differ from country to country within Europe so no matter what country you wish to fly your drone in it is crucial that you check the the rules and regulations that apply to unmanned aircraft in that country’s airspace.
Drone simulators are an excellent way of improving your flying skills in a number of areas. With practice you could learn to manoeuvre a drone through an awkward spot smoothly, produce more detailed aerial photographs, or gather more precise reconnaissance.
These sims are also a great choice if you are relatively new to the world of UAV piloting and are considering a more expensive quad-copter. High-end drones are never cheap, but you can get in plenty of practice hours with an immersive UAV simulator before you even un-box a new gadget.
Drone flight simulators are compatible with Macs as well as PCs, and are also available as FPV (first person view) simulators. Although it’s not as intense as a visit to a multi-rotor flight school, the training you’ll receive on a simulator can cover every aspect of drone flight.
The right software can help you build upon your existing flying skills, but also provide lessons on capturing great video footage. You’ll learn more about controlling the gimbal and then practice these techniques in a number of different environments, without the risk of losing or damaging your drone.
Take a look at the various simulation packages on offer, then you can decide which one would work best for you.
This is a great choice for people who want an affordable solution, but don’t want to compromise on the quality of their experience. The droneSim model was created using data drawn from real world physics; when the motor behaves in a certain way in-game, it’s reflecting the way a real aircraft would perform in the same circumstances.
That means in terms of responsiveness and handling, you’re getting as close to the real thing as possible. Better still you can train when it suits you, no need to check for the right weather conditions or worry about a low battery, the simulator is ready when you are, 24 hours a day.
The team behind the simulator can also tailor-make any number of scenarios to help you practice for a specific event or job. Whether you need experience with flying in industrial areas, or you’ll be capturing a wedding day, or you’re involved with the entertainment industry, the droneSim Pro package can deliver a realistic simulation.
When you’re flying with FPV Event, each drone is uniquely rendered with its own type of flight controls and attributes. You can also create a bespoke drone by adjusting the settings; this could be to replicate the drone you fly for work or in your spare time, or to learn more about the characteristics of another quad-copter before you commit to buying it.
FPV Event have added an element of competition to their simulator with a pilot rankings leader board, this not only informs you of your progress in comparison to other pilots, but suggests events and qualifiers based on your changing skill level.
The drone simulation software from FPV Event Personal Edition uses a 3D game engine and so needs quite a substantial machine to work optimally. For the smoothest flights and seamless visuals, the minimum PC spec should be Windows 7, 4GB Ram, an Intel i5 dual CPU and a NVidia 750 Ti standard graphics card, as well as a solid internet connection.
This drone simulator is still in pre-alpha testing, but an early version has recently been published and reached an impressive total of 3000 downloads. It’s a free flight sim that was designed to both educate and entertain. Users can receive training in any number of different drones, without having to invest a penny – because the software is completely free.
When released as a full version the game will be centred on each player’s career, you will perform tasks which enable you to earn virtual cash, and then use it to buy a better model for your next flight. You’ll also need to pay for the upkeep of each aircraft you own by purchasing new parts and keeping it well-maintained. They have teamed up with JJRC and EMAX, so you’ll be able to test their drones in game, but more manufacturers will soon be added as the company grows.
If you often fly a drone with other users, the split screen version of this simulator could be worth a trial run, along with the online multi player mode.
Aimed mainly at the FPV racing crowd, the VelociDrone is a fast moving simulator which can be played alone or as a multiplayer game. It features a range of tracks, each with its own set of obstacles to overcome, not all of which are static.
You can fine tune your skills as a pilot amongst other players, or choose to test yourself with their Time Attack mode. Here you race against yourself and try to beat your personal best.
This is the ideal option for UAV pilots who are serious about improving their skills and getting in more hours of flight practice. It can help you get better results with a camera, teach you to manoeuvre like a pro and give tips on using a gimbal correctly.
Many types of drone can be tested and there are challenges to keep your levels of interest up. To enhance your ability in different conditions, you can preset any simulation to feature a specific time of day and wind speed.
More information/buy: Great Planes RealFlight GPMZ4800 RealFlight Drone