A drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), usually refers to an unpiloted aircraft. It is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. Drones need a system of communications with an additional ground-based controller. A drone pilot is responsible for operating a drone.
Drone Pilots are also known as Remote Pilots. A Drone Pilot controls a drone, causing it to take off, stay on course and lastly land safely.
Roles and responsibilities
The basic responsibility of a drone pilot is to navigate drones along the designated paths and to conduct safety tests before any operation. Other responsibilities include:
1. Plan drone flight routes
2. Operate cameras and other equipment the drone carries
3. Check drones before a flight to ensure safe operation and landing
4. Conduct safety tests and assess drones’ capabilities
5. Gather information or produce aerial photographs
6. Navigate drones along designated paths
Eligibility and qualifications
If you wish to become a Drone Pilot, then you should be trained at a training centre authorized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA). You need proper documents and the next thing you have got to do is to get yourself registered as a ‘Remote Pilot’ to obtain your ‘Pilot Identification Number’ and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP).
You need not buy a drone before getting yourself enrolled in DCGA in India. All the training kits are provided by the DCGA institute.
You need to be 18 years of age and pass the 10th standard (in English) before you can join any training institute to become a drone pilot. All these training programs are very short and last for about five to seven days.
What do you need to learn before you become a drone pilot?
The government of India mandates the training that needs to be obtained at any DCGA approved Flying Training Organization (FTO), and it includes the following theoretical subjects:
- Regulations specific to the area of operations
- Basic knowledge of aerodynamics for fixed wing, rotary wing, and hybrid aircraft
- Basic knowledge of Aviation Meteorology
- Airspace structure and Airspace Restrictions with knowledge of No Drones Zones.
Pilot training course costs at any of the DCGA approved institutes are mostly above Rs 65,000 but less than Rs 1 lakh. The fees include all the kits and training materials needed for training.
You can apply to become a Drone Pilot at DCGA approved institutes in India at:
1. The Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai
2. Telangana State Aviation Academy, Hyderabad
3. Ambitions Flying Club Pvt. Ltd, Aligarh
4. Flytech Aviation Academy, Secunderabad
5. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademy
6. Pioneer Flying Academy Pvt. Ltd, Aligarh
7. Redbird Flight Training Academy Pvt. Ltd, Baramati
8. Alchemist Aviation Pvt. Ltd, Jamshedpur
In order to get a licence, you need to get yourself and your drone to get registered before you can fly. DCGA issues unique identification numbers for pilots and Remotely Piloted Aircraft numbers for drones.
You are required to obtain an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) from DGCA, which is valid for five years before you are authorized to fly a drone.