A New Career for Wanna-be Pilots and Robot Enthusiasts

There are many questions regarding the emergence of various jobs related to the use of drones, but what stands out is the inquiry on whether it is a real profession or not. Apparently, becoming a drone specialist is very real.In the United Kingdom (UK),flying a drone as a civilian requires registration, but a drone specialist is licensed to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Drone pilots also operate all the attachments – cameras and many others – of the drone.

The demand for drone specialists in the UK has statistically risen over the years following the official release of UAVs for public consumption. Although technically everyone that can own a drone is also pilot, specialists are professionally regulated individuals that have passed government standards. These people do not only operate drones with precision, but they are also able to understand every nooks and cranny in operating a UAV – from the laws surrounding the use of drones to the airspace regulations.

Though many people want to enter the field, they should know the laws and regulations that surround the use of drones.

New Air Regulations for Drone Flying in the United Kingdom

In the summer of 2020, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will introduce a set of new regulations. The UK CAA indicated that the new policies would be aligned with the standards set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Although the system has yet to be finalised, the most salient point of a new set of policies is the planned removal of “commercial and non-commercial” drone classification. The UK CAA now expects that the strategy will now involve the rating of drones based on its mission, purpose, and the location of where the UAV or drone will be flown. Some of the categories are as follows:

  • Open drone operations – low risk with no prior CAA approval.
  • Specific medium risk drone operations – prior CAA approval needed.
  • Certified high-risk drone operations – apart from CAA authorisation, the service will strictly adhere to CAA and EASA’s standard protocols and regulations on aviation operations.

Basic Laws and Guidelines in Drone Flying

Although legal, the guidelines set by the CAA for flying drones in the UK are strict. Some of the general rules are as follows:

  • Any commercial drone flying needs to be approved and certified by the CAA.
  • Insurance is mandatory, especially for commercial drone flyers.
  • Any drone is limited to the maximum altitude of 122 meters or at least 400 feet.
  • Camera-fitted drones have another set of limitations and subject to CAA approval.
  • Drones cannot fly within 150 meters or 492 feet of “any congested area” or anywhere near any public assembly with more than a thousand participants.
  • Drones may not fly within 50 meters or 164 feet of “any person, property, vessel, vehicle, or structure” not owned by the drone operator.
  • Drones are prohibited from flying in proximity to airports, specifically flying closer than 5 kilometres or 3 miles from the “runway protection zone.” Flying will only be allowed if permitted by the air traffic control or any other officers of the airport.

Off to Flying

Becoming a drone pilot or specialist is a lucrative job because it is part of a relatively new industry. For those who are aspiring to become one, drone pilot training and seminar are required. Licensing will follow suit, and after that, you may now go as a drone operator who can help in promoting tourism or one of the specialists that use drones for various industry sectors, such as engineering or healthcare.

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