Drone pilots are quickly becoming some of the most sought after individuals working in the aviation industry. That’s because opportunities for drone use have significantly increased in recent years as technology has improved and advanced.
To get a better idea of where the drone market is headed, we’ll take a closer look at what drones are, how to become a drone pilot, and what industries are currently using drones in their everyday operations.
What is a Drone?
In simple terms, a drone can be defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise referred to as a UAV. As this name implies, drones do not carry human passengers and they do not have a pilot on board. What they can carry, however, is a variety of equipment that enables them to have uses throughout various industries. Such equipment includes things like cameras, sensors, computer software and communication devices that enable data collection or transmission in one form or another.
What Are Drone Pilots and How Can You Become One?
Some modern drones are autonomous, meaning that they are able to fly and navigate on their own without human intervention. While this drone classification continues to expand, many drones used today require a pilot to remotely control the device.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has specific requirements that would-be drone pilots must follow in order to get their Remote Pilot Certificate. Commonly referred to as a Drone Pilot’s License, this is needed in order to be able to fly drones for commercial purposes. Among other things, pilots must be at least 16 years old, have the physical and mental capacity to fly a drone safely, and pass an aeronautical knowledge exam called “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)”.
Drone Applications by Industry
Thanks to the advancement in drone technology in recent years, drone pilots now have a world of opportunities that are open to them. Below are some of the industries that currently use drones for everyday operations.
1. Drones in the Military
Some of the earliest uses of drones in the military were for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering missions. That’s because unmanned aerial vehicles offer an unobtrusive way to scope out enemy territory without risking human life. Drones can capture images and collect other data that can give clues to enemy movement, logistics, and assets. Drones can also be used to deliver weapons or supplies in hard-to-navigate terrains and can be used to assess effectiveness of air strikes or other battle tactics.
2. Drones Used for the Delivery of Goods
Outside of military operations, drone pilots can utilize UAVs to deliver goods for commercial entities. Perhaps the most highly publicized of these is Amazon’s proposed use of drones for convenient and fast delivery of its products. Other uses include delivering humanitarian aid or other supplies to remote areas or locations affected by a natural disaster.
3. Geographical Mapping and Monitoring
Construction and mining companies are beginning to use drones for 3D mapping or contour mapping of terrain in which they need to work. Mapping by drone can often be done more efficiently and cost effectively than hiring a surveyor to map the area on foot. Drones can also be used to monitor changes in the landscape over time and provide useful data for scientists.
4. Agricultural Uses for Drones
While the small, rural farmer does still exist in America, more and more farms are turning into highly complex operations. Modern technology is used to monitor crops and livestock in order to maximize yields, minimize waste, and expand profit margins. Equipped with the right technology, drones can provide real-time data about crop growth and cattle conditions as well as collect other useful data that can help farmers get the most out of their investment.
5. Drone Pilots Can Capture Aerial Photography and Perform Inspections
Aerial photography done by drone cameras is used for a wide variety of applications. These include personal/recreational use, real estate, marketing, and even live sporting events. In recent times, insurance companies have employed drone pilots to survey damage caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. Using an unmanned aerial vehicle in these cases makes inspection easier and it can be done in a timely manner without having to wait for cleanup efforts to be complete.
Rising Aviation High School: Helping Dallas and Addison Area Teens Become the Next Generation of Drone Pilots
The uses mentioned above are just a few of the many ways that drones are being used in society today. And, as drone technology improves and advances, there will only be more applications added to the list. With this, there will be an increased need for drone pilots – an over 50 percent increase in demand over the next 5 years according to recent figures from Research and Markets.
At Rising Aviation High School in Addison, TX, we’re raising the next generation of drone pilots. Our private high school is located at the Addison Airport and gives Dallas area teens hands-on aviation experience combined with a traditional STEM education. Along with other aviation-related studies, students have the opportunity to get their Drone Pilot’s License while still in high school.
To learn more about our aviation high school, summer pilot camps, drone pilot program, or any of our other offerings, contact us today!