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A Message To Potential UAS Pilots

By Luke Geiver | September 15, 2016

During a recent visit to a UAS college class at which I was asked to talk on the general state of UAS, important storylines, job opportunities and answer questions from 20-plus students, I asked this question: how many of you want to fly UAVs for a job.

The response, given through a show of hands, was roughly 75 percent. The other 25 percent wanted to be involved with sensor or payload operations, data processing or some other UAS related job duty. I thought of that class—and specifically that response of hands to the question I asked—when I was talking to a company earlier this week that believes it can help UAV entities and their respective group of pilots stand out or differentiate from others, a point I agree with and hope all of the pilots (or future pilots) utilize for their continued success and role in the industry.

There is no doubt a strong demand for UAV pilots to work with UAS service providers or for in-house UAS teams flying for private companies or organizations. We’ve written numerous stories of end-users working with service providers directly or performing their UAS work in-house as part of a larger effort to add a UAS group to their day-to-day operations.

It is also becoming clear how important it will be for those pilots to continue to enhance their abilities, education levels of flight operations or platform specifics, and certifications gained from safety training. End-use clients want pilots to have all of that. UAV service companies hoping to compete with anyone in the country need that.

Certainly, some and most likely many UAS groups see how important pilots and their documented ability is and will remain so in the future.

We recently ran a feature story on a UAV company that believes so strongly in its pilots that the company’s CEO is sending its team of pilots across the country to various training seminars and certification schools to keep them competitive. It is becoming clear now that, if any of those students I spoke too, or any other hopeful pilots out there want to fulfill or continue their aspirations, they need to do more than just learn how to fly.