Ed trains to become a certified drone pilot.
Flying a drone is remarkably easy. You’ve got two thumb sticks, one camera and a handy little monitor to see where you’re going. Flying a drone safely is not so easy. You have to be aware of your aircraft limitations, meteorology, NOTAMS, failsafe procedures and general air law. These are the things that separate the professional drone pilot from the kid who just got a drone for his birthday.
I write this blog as a kid who got a drone for his birthday… and one who has just become a professional.
I recently spent time in Liverpool completing a PFcO course. This is a course that trains you to fly commercially and gain clearance to do so from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).
So as I sit here writing this now, as a fully certified drone pilot, what is it that I’ve learned? What is it that I know now that I didn’t know as a newbie to the world of drone flight?
The answer is everything.
Drone’s have been getting a pretty bad wrap lately because of the accessibility. Any random person can get their hands on one, not understand the power they have, and ground every commercial airline at Gatwick airport. And that’s the scale of it! In one amazon purchase you can have a lot of power, and it blows my mind to this day that this power can be given to anyone. That’s why the PFcO Course is so important.
It taught me a lot, but as someone that will be flying commercially, the main take-away was safety and the correct insurance. When you’re flying a big heavy drone at 400 ft, there is no room for error. If that thing comes out of the air, it will cause serious harm. Luckily, there are many procedures in place to ensure that doesn’t happen. But the buck stops with you, the pilot. So, you need to ensure you are flying safely at all time and keeping people’s privacy safe, considering you’re operating a camera too!
The main way to stop any accidents taking place is to do lengthy risk assessments, something you never think of as an amateur. I’ve got a great template to fill out and use to assess situations. If the risk and probability of the incident is too high, then you must search for ways to mitigate the threat.
That is why the course is so valuable, and ultimately is what sets apart the proffesional from the amature. It’s not who can go higher, faster or even get better shots. It’s about who can safely conduct themselves while getting the job done. And I’m proud to say that I am now able to do that.
At Paradigm the sky’s the limit… (as long as it’s done safely, within the law, with the correct insurance and staying under the 400ft ceiling)