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You can get into this job through:

  • Applying directly
  • Specialist courses run by private training organisations

Direct application
You can apply for jobs directly. Most employers will expect you to have experience of flying drones, with at least 40 hours of recorded flying time.

Other routes
You could complete training approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. This lasts between 2 and 4 days and includes:

  • UK air regulations
  • Flight safety
  • Flight planning
  • Theory test and practical flight skills assessment

You’ll also have to write an operations manual describing how you are going to use your drone commercially.

After successfully completing training, you can apply for the Permission for Commercial Operations certificate, which you need to fly drones for commercial purposes.

Skills and knowledge
You’ll need:

  • Knowledge of media production and communication
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • To be flexible and open to change
  • The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • Leadership skills
  • The ability to use your initiative
  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • The ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • hold a Permission for Commercial Operations certificate

Day-to-day tasks

As a commercial drone pilot, you’ll:

  • plan flight paths
  • test flight equipment
  • carry out aerial surveys
  • gather digital images and data
  • maintain and repair drones
  • produce maps based on flight data
  • work with other professionals to interpret data

Working environment

You could work on a film set, on a construction site, in the countryside or in a control room.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

You may be able to complete a qualification like the Level 3 Certificate and Level 4 Diploma in the Remote Piloting of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Examples of work you might do include:

  • Filmmaking, TV and marketing
  • Weather forecasting

Mapping land use for farming or archaeological work

  • Inspecting infrastructure like bridges and tall buildings

If you have engineering qualifications, you could move into drone design and development work.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England
We can’t find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a drone pilot right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Aviation Operation – Level 3 Diploma/Extended Diploma
• Start date: 02 September 2019
• Location: LIVERPOOL

BTEC L3 Subsidiary Diploma in Aviation Operations (QCF)
• Start date: 09 September 2019
• Location: WALSALL

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