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Drone Pilot


Job Description

Drone Pilots remotely operate unmanned aircraft used for many different applications including weather data, collecting intelligence information,  film making, surveying or to produce aerial photographs. The pilot will have the ability to have a drone safely take off and land and they will ensure that the drone is on course and operated safely to avoid collisions. Some drone operators work for the military and are responsible for gathering information on enemy troops or for maps; others may be involved with producing aerial photographs for other purposes.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:

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.

You must renew the certificate every 12 months.

Career tips

You'll have to join the armed forces or the police and train as an aerial vehicle pilot to operate drones for military or security purposes.

You can get more advice about working and training as a drone pilot from Dronesafe and the Civil Aviation Authority.

You'll need to hold a Permission for Commercial Operations certificate.

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 includes:

  • filmmaking, TV and marketing
  • weather forecasting
  • mapping land use for farming or archaeological work
  • inspecting infrastructure like bridges and tall buildings
  • surveying air accident sites as part of investigations

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

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • TV or film camera operator
  • Land surveyor
  • Photographer
  • Archaeologist

Required Skills

  • The ability to use your initiative
  • Knowledge of media production and communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Able to work well under pressure
  • Leadership Skills
  • The ability to make decisions
  • Able to be flexible and open to change
  • The ability to accept criticism

Salary Range


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