Become a Drone Pilot
Some people call it a drone licence but its really a Permission for Aerial Work from the UK CAA.
DO I NEED A PERMISSION FOR AERIAL WORK FROM THE CAA?
If you gain a “valuable consideration” from flying your UAS you need permission from the CAA for aerial work. A valuable consideration may not be money, it could be an exchange of services too.
CAN I BECOME A DRONE PILOT?
Very advanced flying skills are not critical for drone pilots, most organisations are looking for highly professional drone pilots that are well trained and has the expertise to achieve their mission in a safe way. However, you do need to be able to manage your aircraft in the event of a GPS failure which does require you to invest time in building your skills.
We regularly take people who are new to flying a drone and help them though this process.
WHAT CAN I EARN?
This is a tricky question. There are two main groups of drone pilots:
- Internal Drone Pilots
- Self employed / Independent Drone Pilots
Internal drone pilots wages tend to be driven by their profession. For example if you are a surveyor, becoming a drone pilot you would be paid as a surveyor. Some larger and government organisations recruit drone pilots specifically and the pay seems to range from £25k to £45k for more complex systems and operations.
Self employed drone pilots are harder to define as there are quite a range of operations undertaken and equipment used. It's hard to compare a rate charged for flying a small £1000 drone to take photos of a property to a £30,000 drone used for 3d modelling and mapping. Between these examples the quality of the equipment and the level of required processing (and value delivered to the client) is dramatically different. Rates of £300-£800 per day for pilots of relatively inexpensive systems are common (DJI Inspire and DJI Inspire 2) when delivering raw images or video.
HOW DO I BECOME A DRONE PILOT?
The basic process is that you need to be educated in air law and safe operations of your UAS, build an operations manual, undertake a flight test and apply for permission to fly from the CAA (in the UK). Expect this whole process to usually take 2 months – the CAA turnaround time for new applications is 4 weeks.
We provide CAA recognised ground school training through our training division DronePartners. Our tutors have delivered over 200 recognised ground schools and are some of the most experienced practitioners in the UK. You can book on our training online here.
We can provide you with:
- Ground School, Exam and Flight Test
- Specialist Drone Inspection Training
- Flight Planning and Flight Training
- Operations Manual Workshop
- One to One Coaching