Starting An Industrial Drone Program: Training Your Pilots

We’ve covered certifying your program, but what is the best way to train your pilots?


There are several different commercial drone pilot training programs out there, but the important thing is to make sure you have more than just the classroom information.


Many online Part 107 training programs just teach you enough to pass the test. Largely absent from those classes is any information about how to actually fly a drone, so hands-on and in-person training is a must.


While the FAA does not specifically require ongoing training by Part 107 pilots, that ultimately puts quite a bit of responsibility on program managers to make decisions about training.


Any training program you look at should include as many of the following items as possible:

  • An understanding of the different types of airspace, and how you can and cannot operate within them.
  • Aviation weather, weather products, and how they apply to UAV flight.
  • Basic understanding of your equipment, regular maintenance and repairs.
  • Understanding medical factors that may contribute to a pilots ability or inability to operate a drone safely.
  • Aeronautical decision making skills.
  • Understanding airport environments, and how to operate safely near them.
  • Radio communications and the air traffic control system.
  • Actual flight techniques, checklists, and emergency procedures.
  • FAA policies, procedures, reporting requirements and documentation.
  • An understanding of how to develop policies and procedures for your agency.

At Skyfire, our Industrial UAV Training Course offers all of these, both in the classroom and in practice, over a two-day period, and allows you to operate safely and with confidence in your knowledge of UAS rules, regulations and procedures.


The bottom line is that there is no right way to start an industrial drone program--it will be different for each organization, their budget, and their mission--but if you are going to start a UAS program, there are several things you need to ensure your program has.


Starting an industrial drone program without a plan, training, political approval or some type of FAA authorization would be like taking the wheel of a fire truck with no training - it’s not safe, it’s not responsible, and it will likely land you in hot water in some way or another.


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