Do you know what you're doing?

Quality training in any industry is one of the most important things that businesses can invest in. From construction to carpentry, horror stories are self-evident detailing chronic skill shortages in many different vertical markets and the unmanned sector is no different.


In my role as an RAE owner, assessor, and examiner I deal with many students, not only our own but also those from many other RAE's, and one of the things that still shocks me is the approach of many new remote pilots who when setting up their business advertise everything from mapping to film and television work, despite being woefully underqualified to carry out the work.


There seems to be a lack of understanding of what your operational authorisation is, and what you as a new business are selling. The OA is an authorisation to operate and carry out aerial taskings within particular areas and with specified aircraft. What you are selling is the imaging. Whether it's 4K footage or data collected for an aerial survey, you will need more than the level of knowledge obtained on your 2-3 day GVC course in order to deliver the quality of the product that will be required to make your business successful (I caveat this with an exception for videographers, photographers, and GIS pros who are adding drones to their business)


The number of newly qualified pilots who put services such as thermography, mapping, and photogrammetry on their websites without any idea how to competently carry these services out continues to surprise many in the industry, not to mention the clients of these self-appointed experts. The problem with this is that it does the industry and the reputation of drone operators no good whatsoever.


What is the solution to this problem? The obvious answer is more training, but in reality, it falls upon the shoulders of the various RAE’s to be more realistic as to the capabilities of students with no experience in the relative vertical markets to stress the importance of competency beyond that granted by the operational authorisation.