The drone industry is booming in the UK, and the demand for trained, approved pilots is greater than ever. DSR finds well paid work for it’s members.
Companies authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to deliver training to commercial drone pilots are called National Qualified Entities or NQE’s. A search of the CAA NQE list is a good starting point if you’re interested in starting a drone business or following a career in the industry.
Back in 2013 the CAA list of approved pilots had only 117 names. There are now over 4,000! There are some concerns that the market has become saturated and there are more CAA approved drone pilots than there are jobs available, but there is still massive scope for the market to grow.
When looking at the CAA NQE list you must go into more detail and read the small print. Courses range from 5 day residential to online training only, and if comparing prices it’s important to know what you are getting for your money. Short 2 day courses require attendees to study and do extra work in advance, so consider if this is suitable for your personal learning style if you choose one of these.
Prices quoted for CAA commercial drone training can be quoted with or without VAT, so check when comparing costs. If you’re a VAT registered company you can of course claim this back.
Passing the CAA drone pilot exam and flight test is just the start of becoming an approved pilot. You must develop your own procedures for conducting flights and maintaining your equipment, and this has to be detailed and submitted in the form of an Operations Manual. If you’re looking at the CAA NQE list for a local training course, ask what support they give you to produce your Operations Manual as it can be quite daunting to produce on your own.