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A new profession: Drone pilot

There are new needs arising and new professions


New technology is causing certain professions to disappear: for example taxi drivers. In five years’ time there will be a driver-free taxi platform in London operating under Uber, the same App creator that managed taxis, which has been banned in several countries.

However there are new needs arising and new professions that are forcing governments to create the necessary controls and certification to develop responsible jobs around the activities that are emerging. One example of these new professions is that of drone pilot.

To become a drone pilot you have to obtain a degree from an authorised school. In Spain there are around fifty such insititutions. The price of these courses range from 1,000 – 1,300 Euros The training centres, called ATOs must be recognised by AESA, the state agency responsible for airspace security.  There are many schools advertised on the web that are not linked to ATO and signing up with one of these would be tantamount to throwing your course money away.

The drone pilot certificate is made up of a theory exam, taken after 60 hours of training and a practical exam,  after 4 hours of practice, plus a class 2 or ATPL certificate, the same one as that required of aircraft pilots.

Training with  aircraft: the practical exam consists of a series of tests and the certificate is given for skills related to a specific type of aircraft. As with comercial aviation policy, one can only fly aircraft with which they have practical experience.  If one wished to have another certificate one would have to pay the rates again and go through the same process for each type of aircraft.

Once you have the drone pilot certificate, even if it sounds ridiculous, you cannot fly independently; you have to do it through an operator. You have to hand in a range of information to EASA before they will grant you an operator’s licence and it costs around 300 Euros. In 2014 there were 20 operator agencies in Spain; in December 2015 there were more than 1000.

According to data from the European Commission, the drone industry will raise 15 million Euros and generate 250,000 jobs within 10 years.

For more information:

Ley de drones: Ley 18/2014 and 15 octubre

AESA operador

Leer este artículo en español: Nueva profesión: piloto de drone por Àngels Gallardo

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