As drones have become more accessible and affordable, their use in a variety of industries has skyrocketed. Drones are now being used for photography and videography in everything from real estate to wedding shoots.
And the results can be stunning. Setting aside the fact that drone shoots require far less manpower and equipment to achieve incredible video and image assets, they are also able to capture details and viewpoints that are impossible by any other means.
As a result of this soaring popularity, people from all walks of life are setting up drone companies faster than ever before. While many are opened by photographers and agencies with the relevant experience, a lot are opened by people just looking at cashing in on the demand. This causes a problem for the industry as a whole, since drones piloted by professionals without the necessary certifications, qualities, and experience can easily derail a shoot, or worse, cause a serious accident.
In this article, we look deeper at the certifications, qualities, and experience your drone pilot or company should have before signing them on for your project.
Drone Pilot Certifications
Mandatory Drone Pilot Certifications
In order to legally operate a drone in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drone pilots be certified. There are two types of certification available for drone pilots:
Remote Pilot Certificate:
This is the most common type of certification and can be obtained by passing an FAA-sanctioned aeronautical knowledge test at an approved testing center.
Sport Pilot Certificate:
This certificate is harder to obtain and requires the pilot to have a current Sport Pilot License or higher.
Ideal Drone Pilot Qualities
In addition to the two types of certifications mentioned above, there are also a number of other qualifications that drone pilots should possess in order to be successful.
A good drone pilot should have a strong understanding of basic aircraft principles and how they apply to drones. They should also be comfortable with using the various types of software and equipment that are necessary for flying drones.
One of the most important qualities in a drone pilot is spatial awareness. This refers to the ability to be aware of one's surroundings and to avoid obstacles and other objects while flying.
Good Communication Skills:
Another important quality for drone pilots is good communication skills. This is necessary in order to be able to communicate effectively with air traffic control, as well as other people in the vicinity of the drone.
Calm Under Pressure:
It is also important for drone pilots to be calm under pressure. This is because there are often times when things can go wrong while flying and it is important to be able to stay calm and collected in order to make the best decisions possible.
From ensuring the necessary permissions and legalities to creating a thorough flight plan and brief prior to the shoot, an excellent attention to details during all phases of the shoot, including pre and post, will go a long way to ensuring the delivery of incredible assets and a hassle free experience.
While certifications and qualifications are important, experience is often the most important factor to consider when hiring a drone company. A pilot with years of experience flying drones is likely to be much more successful than one who is just starting out. Additionally drone pilots with specialized experience such as flying indoors, shooting in high-risk environments, or around valuable infrastructure would be far more capable.
With hundreds of drone flight hours under our belts, we've been one of the leading Drone Companies in Western Massachusetts for over a decade. From Real Estate Drone Photography to Drone Inspections, Drone Construction Monitoring and more, our team of FAA Certified Drone Pilots are some of the best in the business.