What Does a Drone Pilot Do?
A drone pilot is responsible for operating a drone, which is sometimes called an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Drones are operated remotely, which is why drone pilots are sometimes also known as remote pilots. As the name suggests, a drone pilot controls a drone, causing it to take off, stay on course, perform any required actions, and land safely.
It is the responsibility of drone pilots to conduct safety tests, oversee vehicle performance, and assess drone systems’ capabilities. They may be required to operate cameras or other equipment the drone carries, so familiarity with the purpose of the flight and any specialized tools is also important.
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National Average Salary
Drone pilot salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Drone Pilot is:
Drone Pilot Job Descriptions
Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional drone pilot. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.
[Your company name] is searching for an experienced drone pilot. We are in need of someone who has exceptional communication and leadership skills who is responsible and able to work full time. A drone pilot is responsible for operating a drone and making sure it stays on course and landing it safely. Depending on the drone, there will be times that you will need to work a camera. Your main duties will include maintaining drones, planning flight paths, assembling maps, and gathering data, footage, and digital images. You will need to hold a Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot Certificate also known as the Part 107 license, and at least 40 hours of documented flying experience. Any other certificate applicable to drone pilots is a plus. If you have the skills to work well under pressure or stressful situations, are organized, have excellent mechanical skills, are tech-savvy, detail-oriented, and have great problem-solving skills, then you would be a perfect addition to our company!
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Check drones before a flight to ensure safe and proper operation
- Analyze weather forecasts to ensure safe flights
- Document pre- and post-flight logs
- Monitor drones during flight
- Plan drone flight routes
- Navigate drones along designated paths
- Gather information or produce aerial photographs, as needed
- Perform equipment testing, troubleshooting, and maintenance
Education and experience
This position requires an associate degree and a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. Some employers prefer that job candidates have bachelor’s degrees.
Required skills and qualifications
- Strong communication skills
- Robust problem-solving abilities
- Excellent electronic and mechanical skills
- Expertise in multitasking
- Keen attention to detail
- Excellent pilot skills
- 4+ years of experience working for another company as a drone pilot
- Experience with multiple different types of drones
- Excellent photography skills
The pilots will be responsible for conducting drone delivery operations and other drone operations from our onsite Hub locations. The operators will fill various roles in the operation including serving as Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC), Safety Pilot, and Visual Observer. Knowing FAA rules and regulations is crucial and the operators must be able to operate in a safe and effective manner.
- Part 107 Remote operator Certificate required
- Strong knowledge of 14 CFR Part 107 regulations, airspace, and LAANC system
- Experience with a variety of UAS platforms is a plus
- Experience with one or more of the following: ArduPilot, ArduPilot Mission Planner, MAVlink protocol, QGround Control, Mavlink, RFD Tools, Radio Telemetry ,or DJI Go
- Familiarity with Google Earth, Google apps, and UAV piloting apps
- Experience with Radio Controlled airplanes or RC systems, in general, is a plus
- Excellent communication skills and ability to work in a team environment
- Ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment
- Visual acuity (e.g., needed to prepare and analyze data, to transcribe documents, to view a computer, to read, to inspect objects, to operate machinery
- Balancing (e.g., maintaining equilibrium when walking, climbing, crouching etc.)
- Stooping (e.g., bending the spine at the waist)
- Reaching (e.g., reaching the arms or legs in any direction)
- Lifting motion or lifting objects more than (30) pounds
- Repetitive motions of any part of the body
- Kneeling, crouching or crawling
- Climbing (e.g., ascending/descending ladders, stair, scaffolding, ramps, poles, etc. using feet and legs or hands and arms to climb)
- Grasping (e.g., use of hand to apply pressure)
- Capacity to reason and make sound decisions
- Ability to regularly perform all job functions at Company’s office or work site
- Ability to withstand environmental conditions (e.g., extreme heat or cold, grass, wind, sand, fumes, odors, gases, extreme noise, etc.)
Apply now to join our network. We will provide you with project support, training opportunities to hone your skills, and of course, missions to fly. Get paid to do what you love.
- Own a drone
- Current part 107 license
- Strong Communication Skills
- Professional Demeanor
- Ability to work well with a team
- 50 hours of logged commercial flight operation experience
- Strong understanding of safety, hazard identification, and risk management best practices
- Attention to detail
- Extremely literate with iOS and PC software and computers
- Must be experienced with data uploading and transfer methodologies
Our client is searching for a skilled operator with extensive experience operating robotics via Remote Control. The qualified candidate will act as an operations specialist assisting in developing and testing cutting edge safety-related technologies. The role includes mission planning and lightweight maintenance duties. The candidate should demonstrate attention to detail, a safety-oriented attitude, flexibility, and enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology. This individual will also conduct limited operation readiness activities and logistics planning as needed.
- 14 CFR Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate
- 2+ years of Remote-Control pilot experience with excellent coordination and execution
- Employees must, with or without reasonable accommodation, be able to lift up to 50 pounds on some occasions, stand/walk for up to 8-10 hours (with breaks), and be able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend, and reach
- Experience leading small teams
- Willingness to travel up to 75% of the year
- Valid Driver’s License and able to satisfy driver eligibility criteria
- Experience with the commercial UAS industry
- Aviation safety experience as a Safety Officer or similar
- Current US fixed-wing or rotorcraft pilot’s certificate
- Excellent communications and reporting skills
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Remote Pilot Certificate. This certificate is also known as the Part 107 license or the drone license. In order for candidates to be able to fly a drone for work or business purposes, they need to have this certification as part of the FAA guidelines. This certificate is valid to be used in all U.S. states and territories and needs to be renewed every 2 years. There are many online test preparation courses for the FAA certification, we recommend the UAV Coach.
- Southern New Hampshire University’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Certificate. This certification can help improve the skill sets of candidates who plan to work in emergency management, insurance, first responder, or even in infrastructure inspection. It can also help prepare them for the Part 107 remote certification exam. This is an affordable certificate that can definitely put candidates above other candidates.
- University of New Hampshire Drone (UAV/UAS) Operator Certificate. For this certificate, candidates can pick from 5 different elective workshops and need to complete at least 4 workshops to receive the certificate. This certificate helps inform them of the safety protocol and equipment used as a drone pilot. Although this certificate isn’t required it is beneficial to have if they are going to fly a drone for business purposes.
How to Hire a Drone Pilot
There are a number of important initial considerations when hiring a drone pilot:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
- Duration: Are you hiring for a project or an ongoing need?
- Urgency: How soon does the opening need to be filled? What happens while it remains open?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend CareerBuilder for drone pilot openings:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- What convinced you to become a drone pilot?
- What prior flight experience do you have?
- Has there ever been a time when you lost a drone or even caused damage to one? How did you handle that situation?
- What would you say your top skill sets are that are important in this line of work?
- Where do you see unmanned flights heading in 5 years?
- What would you say your biggest strengths as a pilot are?
- What models do you have the most experience with?
- What do you enjoy most about being a drone pilot?
- Do you have any additional skills that will supplement the drone flights you perform?
- Explain a time you worked well under pressure.
- What motivates you to be a better pilot?
- Are you more familiar working with a team or on solo projects?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake on a flight. How did you handle it?
- What is the most difficult park of being a drone pilot?
- How do you stay current on emerging technologies and new regulations in unmanned flight?