Is Your Drone Operator any Good?

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“You need drone services? … no worries mate, I’m a qualified drone pilot”

This response is becoming more and more common as “anyone & everyone” enters the drone industry.   Beware … just because the person is “qualified” doesn’t mean they’re any good.

In Australia, it takes only 5 hours of flight time and passing an exam to earn a Remote Pilot’s Licence i.e. to become a “qualified drone pilot”.

In context, would you hop onto a bus or taxi in peak-hour traffic if you knew the driver only had 5 hours driving experience?   I know I wouldn’t!

There are many hats that need to be worn when flying a drone.   Apart from the obvious requirement of flying the drone to capture the required data, the operator also needs to plan the mission and operate the drone in an environment with many hidden dangers and risks.

It could be weather, it could be site obstructions, it could be equipment malfunction, it could be authority approval issues etc. etc.

And that’s just flying the drone … skill is also required to appropriately scope, capture and process the raw data to get the final results.

In any industry, it takes time and experience to move from apprentice to tradesman. Hiring an inexperienced electrician (just because the cost is cheap) to rewire your house is not a wise investment.   The Risk vs Reward analysis should lead you to using an experienced electrician … after all, you want to minimise the chances of your house burning down!

Drone services are no different. You need to minimise the chances of accidents, mishaps and bad data.

So next time you hear “no worries mate, I’m qualified”, just make sure you ask the right questions to find out what makes up that “qualification”.   Experience comes with time and practice … and is generally a much better investment in hazardous work environments.

In our final edition of the “Risks and Rewards” series, we will discuss how drones can bring financial rewards to your business … the bottom line improved from the air!

Until then, onwards and upwards 🙂

Greg is Founder and Managing Director of Drone Ranger Australia Pty Ltd, a drone consulting firm assisting Clients to integrate the innovative technology into existing business operations.

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