A drone operator in the UK falls into one of two distinct categories. Hobby flyers don’t have to register their drones at the moment, but they do have to follow rules governing safe use and protection of privacy. Any pilot using their drone for commercial purposes has to operate within a much tighter framework, and must be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Drone Pilots in the UK

A commercial drone operator UK must take a written exam and a practical flight test to prove they are competent to work as a pilot. Knowledge required includes a full understanding of the pilot’s drone and the relevant sections of the Air Navigation Order 2016. A drone operator UK with CAA approval must maintain flight logs and ensure his drone is in flightworthy condition.

Once approved, commercial drone operators can undertake a variety of different work. The type of aircraft and additional equipment they own and their level of expertise will determine the industry sectors open to them. For example, aerial photography of properties for estate agents can be undertaken with a fairly basic commercial drone. An operator wanting to work on major construction projects will need a more sophisticated aircraft and additional software for 3D modelling and mapping.

The drone industry is still in its infancy, so it’s a great time to get started if you want to become a commercial drone operator in the UK. It’s becoming a competitive market, and you’ll need to be prepared to work hard and look at it as a long term business venture rather than a get rich quick scheme. Drone Safe Register offers CAA approved pilots access to support and expertise and a place on a searchable database available to anyone looking to hire a drone pilot in the UK.

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