Updated: Apr 2, 2019
In the UK e UK there are currently hundreds of people studying to achieve the coveted CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) via the network of some 30+ National Qualified Entities.
They are studying to meet the minimum, safe standard to operate as a commercial drone pilot in the UK. They will become proficient in air law, conducting in-depth risk assessments and making sure that they are fully aware of scenarios they will be operating in.
But one of the things that always stuns me is the number of PfCO qualified pilots that lack the basic skills to make the best use of the equipment they have to hand. One of the most common skill deficits is the ability to operate a camera correctly (both in terms of photography and videography) Most drone pilots never take their camera out of ‘Auto’ and never realise the true creative potential of the platform that they have to hand.
What is worse is the number of remote pilots who claim to be ‘experts’ in the field of aerial survey and inspection. In this particular function the data that comes out of the aircraft, and the settings that are used to collect it are absolutely critical.
There is a tendency to follow the logic of ‘say yes and then learn how to do it afterwards’ This is not only disingenuous to the client but also harms the industry as a whole.
So what am I saying here? It is down to the industry to educate clients as to the benefits of using a PfCO qualified drone pilot, but what’s the point if they don’t have a clue what they are doing!
As a commercial drone operator, we feel that each and every pilot has a responsibility to make sure that they are both proficient and competent before they take on a job. Either that or be totally honest with the client about the fact that it is their first job!
In an industry that already has it’s fair share of cowboys, we, as commercial operators need to set the standard for newly qualified pilots to follow. That includes mentoring, training and acting as ambassadors for our industry. If you can't or won't do that, you need to ask yourself if you're in the right job!