Have you heard that drone pilots can make anything upward of $25 an hour and want your own slice of the drone pie? In fact, depending on their experience level and quality of work, some pilots can earn up to $250 an hour, making it an exciting and potentially fruitful career move.
So, if you’re planning to become a pilot, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Be familiar and up to date with FAA commercial drone pilot requirements:
If you’re flying a drone for anything other than recreational purposes in the U.S, then the FAA will consider it as a commercial enterprise. If you’re receiving monetary or any other kind of compensation for what you’re doing, then you’ll need to hold a Remote Pilot Certificate, which asks that you pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test (or the Part 107 test).
You may feel that you need help to prepare yourself for this test, in which case there are several online training courses that can help you do exactly that. With step-by-step information to guide you through what you need to know to pass, most give excellent results for their students.
So, what else can you do to get started as a drone pilot?
Don’t practice with an expensive drone:
When starting out for the first time, don’t hone your skills with an expensive drone, as the chances of you crashing and potentially destroying it might be quite high! Instead, consider buying something like a quadcopter, that is both affordable and sturdy. While a quadcopter isn’t as sophisticated as a drone or as technologically capable, it will stand up to knocks, scrapes and even full on crashes, so you can continue practicing without having to buy a new drone each time you hit a tree!
Try to practice flying your drone or quadcopter in open spaces, such as fields or parks, so that the risks of you hitting something or someone are kept to a minimum; private property is even better. Always keep an eye on changing weather conditions, and ideally check the forecast before you begin flying. If it’s particularly windy, for example, drone flying should be avoided for safety reasons.
Invest in insurance
Drone insurance will help to protect you and give you peace of mind, and is highly recommended for anyone wanting to become a drone pilot. Whether you’re an experienced pilot or just practicing, the risk of crashing your drone into someone’s property or even into a person or animal, is high. Without an appropriate insurance policy, just as when you’re driving a car, you could end up heavily out of pocket if you do hit something or someone.
Adhere to local laws and FAA rules and regulations:
It’s important that you always check local laws and FAA guidelines related to the airspace that you plan to fly your drone in. Certain areas are heavily restricted, such as flying near airports or busy public places and doing so can land you in a whole lot of trouble. So, research airspaces before you use them, and never risk flying anywhere that you know is close to the limits given by the FAA, it’s just not worth it.
Drone flying can be fun and lucrative, but remember that there are plenty of professional drone pilots out there already, so to be taken seriously and make a career from piloting a drone, you’ll need to invest a lot of time, effort and money.