What to Expect From Your Drone Pilot Training - 1UP Drones

What to Expect From Your Drone Pilot Training

Are you building a corporate drone team, or becoming a drone service provider?  Has your business decided to invest in aerial drone technology? Great! But, what kind of aerial drone pilot training do you need? Can you find a course of instruction beyond the basic FAA Part 107 that is tailored to your specific industry or business needs? What should you expect from hands-on professional drone pilot training?

What is Drone Pilot Training?

In order to pilot a drone for private or commercial use, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107) of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This certification demonstrates that you understand the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.

To meet the eligibility requirements for obtaining your FAA license, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam

The initial aeronautical knowledge exam covers the following topics:

  • Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  • Airport operations
  • Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  • Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  • Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  • Crew resource management
  • Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  • Emergency procedures
  • Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
  • Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  • Radio communication procedures
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance

In addition to the basics of law and drone operation, professional drone pilot training should include hands-on instruction with an actual drone to obtain a basic proficiency in take-offs, basic flight, and landings.

Note: In order to obtain your FAA Drone Pilot Certification, you must pass a TSA security background check, which is part of the basic application process after completing drone pilot training.

In addition to the basic certification, other advanced or specialty courses exist. These provide more experienced operators the opportunity to expand their skills for specific drone applications. Some options include:

  • Advanced piloting skills
  • Night flight
  • Payload transport
  • Inspection
  • Survey
  • Video/photography

What Makes a Valuable Drone Pilot Training Course?

In addition to the basic instruction required by law, drone pilot training can be customized to provide skills for a host of different applications. In fact, aerial drone technology is still so new, fresh applications are still being developed for a variety of industries and uses.

A valuable drone pilot course will include the science of flight and advanced drone flight instruction, including many maneuvers considered critical in commercial applications, like hovering and smooth flight movements. The basics of different drone construction should also be reviewed, and of course, managing emergency situations like drone crashes.

Another valuable area to cover in a drone pilot training course includes some of the more popular applications and accessories that provide for expanded drone uses. Downloadable apps allow a pilot to track a drone in flight, map topography in flight, record images and video, navigate according to maps, and even enhance a drone’s flight performance and control.

As mentioned earlier, a valuable addition to basic drone pilot training is specific instruction that applies to a particular industry or business. For example, if a company planned to use aerial drones to accomplish outdoor inventory calculations, like counting stacks of lumber or stone, a pilot would need to be trained in certain applicable flight operations as well as technologies.

Workflow and Data Analysis should be an essential part of more advanced training, as well as using recording software or other applications to measure and calculate stacks of material by mass, size, or actual counting. While these skills may be included in some basic courses, more specialized training would provide the company drone operator with unique skills for a particular business application.

What Can be Accomplished with a Drone Pilot Certification?

The sky’s the limit with drone pilot certification. Once an operator obtains legal and professional certification for piloting an aerial drone, the uses are endless and constantly growing. Some of them include Construction, Engineering, Surveying, Insurance and Forensic Science, Advertising, Digital Media, Marketing, Land Development, Commercial Real Estate, Agriculture, Farming, Livestock Management, Mining, and Transmission Line & Cell Tower Inspection, just to name a few.  Whew, that’s a mouthful but the use cases are truly endless and the industry is being shaped daily with new ideas. We like it when our customers ask “have you tried this, or can you do that?”

A recent example of how drone pilot certification training can be customized to fit a particular industry is how 1UP Drones conducted a training venue for the South Metro Fire Department of Denver, Colorado. In addition to the basics of law and FAA certification, 1UP instructors included 1st Responder specific uses of aerial drones, such as burned structure inspections, active shooter investigation, ice rescues, wildfire location, heat measurement, and search & rescue.

Related uses for drones include fire/crime scene reconstruction, active shooter tracking, support for law enforcement, and more. This is only one example of how drone pilot training can be tailored to meet your company or organization’s specific needs.

Fireman securing fire photo Drone flying through air photo


Want to learn more? Contact 1UP Aerial Drone Services, Inc. for more information about drone pilot training or our other professional drone services.