Want to Hire a Drone Pilot? Read This First.

by Derek Waleko Mar 26, 2019

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The Importance of Finding the Right Drone Pilot

The right drone pilot will be qualified, insured, and knowledgeable about flying a drone. They will also know exactly what their customers are looking for—whether that means stunning wedding photos, improved real estate listings, or valuable data about a construction job site—and they will be able to deliver what you need. If you simply hire the first person with a commercial drone license, chances are, you are unlikely to obtain the results you need. Everyone has different skill sets, experience, and equipment.

What to Look for When You Hire a Drone Pilot

You will need someone who is:

FAA Certified and Insured— Always hire a qualified drone pilot. If you hire a drone pilot who is not certified commercially, then they are not adequately insured. And, proper insurance is an absolute must unless you want to get in trouble later on down the road (accidents happen, and you don’t want to end up liable!). If needed, a drone pilot should be able to show you proof of a valid, current insurance policy that covers any accident that may happen during your project. All Up Sonder pilots are FAA certified, so if you’re searching our website for your next drone partnership, this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about.

Able to answer your questions—Talk to the drone pilot and find out what you are paying for. What’s the hourly rate or day rate? Will you own the copyright of the footage, or not? Does the fee include travel? What will happen if the weather is bad? What happens if there’s a problem—they run out of battery or crash the drone—is there a spare? How much experience do they have piloting a drone for your specific application? A good drone pilot should be able to answer all these questions and more.

Equipped with the proper hardware—Your drone pilot should have suitable equipment for the job at hand. If you need extremely high-quality 4K video footage, then you’ll need to hire someone with the right equipment for that job. If you need special sensors like thermal vision, then the drone pilot you hire will need to have that in their inventory, and they’ll also need the expertise to use it. Never assume that a particular drone pilot has the specialized hardware you need to complete the job. Ask them questions before scheduling them for the job.

Drone Piloting Tips

Want to become a drone pilot yourself? It can be a rewarding activity, and it may be a good investment for your existing small business. If you are a real estate photographer, a home inspector, a farmer, or a member of any of the other professions that benefit from regular drone photography, then getting your own drone license might be the way to go, if it’s something you’re interested in. With your own drone, you can use it anytime without having to schedule a drone service. Plus, once you’ve paid off the initial investment, you might even save some money.

So, here are some drone piloting tips if you are considering becoming a pilot yourself!

Purchase the right drone for your needs

There are all types of drones: drones that specialize in high-quality video or still photography, drones that are made with affordability in mind, even racing drones and mini drones. Carefully consider what you need in a drone (price, durability, primary use, and more) and then find models that may work out for you. Then, read descriptions and customer reviews to narrow it down to the right one. 

Register your drone

When purchasing a drone, it’s a good idea to get it registered with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). While it’s not usually strictly necessary, it can’t hurt—it is both inexpensive and easy. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so go to registermyuas.faa.gov and register your new drone before you start using it for your business.

Learn the rules before you fly

There are quite a few rules and regulations when it comes to drones, and as a new drone pilot, it’s important that you take the responsibility of educating yourself. First, you’ll need to find out the laws in your local area. And, carefully memorize these guidelines to make sure you stay out of trouble while flying your drone.

  • Do not fly your drone more than 400 feet from the ground.
  • Always ask permission if you will be flying over people.
  • Do not fly over private property without direct permission.
  • Never fly over fires, crime scenes, or other dangerous/sensitive situations.
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of any airport.
  • Avoid flying over government facilities and national parks. 
  • If police approach you while you’re flying your drone, be civil and cooperative. 

With these rules of flying, you’re well on your way to becoming a safe and courteous drone pilot!

Learn how to operate your drone

Drones are not too difficult to fly, but they aren’t foolproof, and things can go wrong. If you don’t learn how to use your drone properly, chances are, you’ll crash it through a window or worse. So, get familiar with all the controls and sensors of your specific drone model. Learn about compass interference and GPS interference. Find out how to calibrate it properly. And, keep in mind the constraints of your chosen drone model—its control range, battery life, and more.

In Conclusion

To find the right drone pilot, you’ll need to give the project some thought and do your research when searching for and hiring a pilot. You’ll need someone certified, qualified, knowledgeable, and armed with the proper equipment. You might also decide to become a drone pilot yourself! Whatever you decide to do, Up Sonder is here to help you hire a pilot or list your services.

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