Before you proceed further, you’d need to know the categories of drones in India as the licence is based on that.
There are five categories:
Nano: Less than or equal to 250 gm
Micro: Greater than 250 gm, and less than or equal to 2 kg.
Small: Greater than 2 kg, and less than or equal to 25 kg.
Medium: Greater than 25 kg, and less than or equal to 150 kg.
Large: Greater than 150 kg.
No pilot licence is required for operating nano drones and micro drones for non-commercial use. But to operate any other type of drone — or any of these category for commercial purposes — you need to get a licence and training from an institute authorised by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). According to the notified rules, all drone training and examinations will be carried out by an authorised drone school. DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
You do not, however, need to buy a drone to enroll yourself in a drone training program. Drones and training kits are provided by the training institute.
Student Remote Pilot Licence: A student licence remains valid for a maximum period of 5 years, and can be renewed for an additional period of 2 years.
Remote Pilot Licence: These are issued by the DGCA, subject to the submission of a certificate of training and a skill test report from an authorised training organization. A remote pilot licence is valid for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years with each renewal application.
You need to be 18 years of age and have a 10th pass certificate for joining any training institute. You will also have to clear a medical examination as specified by the DGCA, and a background check by the government agency concerned. The maximum age to get a remote pilot licence for commercial activities is 65 years.
Duration of training
The duration of courses varies according to the types of drones you want to operate. Most drone training programs are short and can be completed in five to seven days.
The fee varies depending on the type of course. Course fees start from Rs 30,000 and may go up to around Rs 1 lakh, depending on the type of course and institute.
Even though the basic requirement is just a 10th pass, you must also try to understand the basics of flying like avionics, weather, wind speed, and other mechanics.
Drone operations are rapidly expanding in various sectors, and each sector has its specific requirements. For example, drone pilots are in demand in sectors like filmmaking, geo sensing, construction, mining, real estate, agriculture, transportation, energy and telecommunications. So, in-depth knowledge of the relevant field is required to become a successful drone operator.