Till about two decades ago, flying drones used to be one of the favourite outdoor games of young boys and girls. However, now flying drones is no more just a child’s play and has become a serious profession that is not only exciting but is also high paying. And, as such people all over the world are vying to become commercial drone operators.
Drone cameras are ideally used for cinematography or surveys, and as such, people engaged in this profession need to be skilled in operating the machine. And, here’s all that it takes to become a commercial drone camera operator.
- Master the machine: For you to become a successful drone camera operator, having good control over the machine would be the first and most essential step. And, it takes a lot of trials and errors to master the machine. Also, the learning process would obviously involve falling and crashing into obstacles, which can even damage the machine.
As such, it is advisable to go for a simpler machine, something like a drone camera operator which has a plastic body and also does not have sophisticated cameras or an inbuilt GPS. Apart from the fact that such a simple machine would last longer and will be able to sustain the crashes and falls, learning to fly without GPS will help you learn how to control the drone better.
In the sophisticated drones, the GPS does a lot of the controlling and when not being maneuvered the drone stops automatically. However, without the GPS, you will have to learn to maneuver the machine all on your own and in the process even learn to avoid crashes as well as brake precisely. And, this practice would certainly help in making you a better commercial pilot.
- Understand the technicalities and Learn the Jargons: If you want to take up flying drones commercially, you must have a good understanding of the workings of the machine. You must try to understand the technology that is used to operate these multirotor systems and also know the jargons and terminologies that are used in the industry. You must also learn how to fix the machine, its parts and the various tech products that drive the system so you don’t have to wait for help every time the system malfunctions.
- Ensure Complete Safety during Practice: While practising flying a drone or any other multirotor system, it is always better to do so in vast open areas, preferably away from residential areas. Areas like open, fields, farmlands or even desolate parks would be ideal for practice, as in these places there would be negligible chances of crashing into someone else’s property or hurting a human or animal accidentally.
Also, since while flying a drone, your focus would be on the drone and eyes looking up, it is always good to have another person along who can warn you about approaching obstacles or dangers in the path. In fact, even when flying professionally, you would need to have a visual observer (VO) along. And the VO’s job is to maintain the line of sight with the drone and keep updating you about the surrounding areas.
- Test Your Skills with Races: In order to hone your skills as a commercial drone operator, you must continuously challenge yourself and test your skills. And, the best way to do this would be to take part in racing events where you not only get to compete with others who are as good, or even better.
In these events, you even get to pick up various tips and tricks from people that will help you become a better drone operator. In such events, you also get to talk to and network with a lot of people in the same profession, which can be of immense help in furthering your career as a commercial drone operator.
- Become a Licensed Professional: If you are looking to take up flying drones professionally, you must first try to obtain a License from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is a mandatory legal requirement that people looking to fly drones commercially must fulfill.
And, in order to get the license, you must be at least sixteen years old and pass the aeronautical knowledge test, which is not very different from what pilots take. To get the license, you must also undergo the TSA security training.
In order to prepare for the knowledge test, which certainly is not that easy, you can always take the help of various resources available on the internet or even look for crash courses that are offered by trained professionals.
Also, in order to appear for the FAA knowledge test, you would need to specify what kind of a flyer you are. The various categories that have been outlined by the FAA are as follows: Recreational Flyers: Those who fly a drone just for fun Certificated remote pilots: Those who have small drones that are less than 55 pounds and intend to fly the machine for business or work Public Safety and Government Users:
These pilots ideally fly the drones for law enforcement as well as to monitor various movements on the ground. Educational Users: People who fly the drone in order to train others and run drone training programs.
- Get Insurance: Although quite a fun thing to do, it cannot be denied that flying a drone is also quite a risky affair. Falling and crashing is an indispensable part of flying a drone and as such necessitates having insurance. Although, replacing parts of the machine or the drone itself may not be as expensive, as the operator you may have to bear huge liabilities if the drone accidentally damages someone’s property or injures a person.
As such, just like before driving a car on the roads, the driver needs to have insurance in place, as a drone operator you too would need to have insurance before your machine can take off. Owing to the popularity of this profession, several insurance companies are now offering insurance on drones. In fact, some companies have also come up with on-demand hourly drone liability insurance that is affordable and quite convenient too.
- Know the Local Laws and the FAA controlled Airspaces: If you want to become a commercial drone operator you must have thorough knowledge and understanding of the FAA airspaces as well as the flight restrictions if there are any in the area.
Commercial operators who need to fly their machines in controlled airspaces or need to land the drone in someone’s private property must always have the required permissions and FAA waivers in place.
Therefore, in order to become a commercial drone operator, along with practising regularly, you must meticulously abide by the various regulations in place and also take care of the various safety guidelines in place.