What pilots are getting paid in 2017?
Here are some estimates that are intended to be a rough guideline for aspiring drone pilots.
$75-$100 per hour
A new drone pilot, with less than 1 year of experience, flying a DJI Phantom 4 drone
, doing work
such as basic shots of houses
, weddings, and small business promo videos
$100-$160 per hour
A pilot with 1-2 years’ experience
Flying a DJI Inspire 1
, or Phantom 4 Pro
Getting shots for corporate events
, fly overs on construction sites, and music videos
$160-$250 per hour
A pilot with 3+ years’ experience
Flying a DJI Inspire 2
Getting high res shots of assets such as bridges or towers
, higher end corporate videos, cinematography work
$250-$400 per hour
A pilot with 3+ years’ experience
Flying a DJI Inspire and or a Sensefly ebee
High end aerial cinematography work – working on films, TVCs etc.
Or, acquiring data and creating 3D models of structures
. Doing NDVI scans of crops
. Mapping a section of a forest.
Getting volumes on stockpiles of coal
for a mine site.
4 Tips on where the industry opportunities are...
The drones market is set to exceed $127 billion by 2020, according to PwC
. Get into the industry
now, while the opportunities are there for the taking!
Tip 1: Be a specialist
Drone piloting is becoming popular, so in order to get work, you will need to gain experience that is
specifically relevant to your chosen target market. We suggest picking 1 or 2 areas to specialise in.
Consider your pre-existing experience, background and your passions. 5 examples below.
5 examples of drone Pilot specialisation
1. Film sets
Hollywood movie scenes shot with drones - Skyfall (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), The
Expendables 3 (2014), Chappie (2015), Jurassic World (2015), and Captain America: Civil War (2016).
if you are a creative person, and have a passion for film, consider becoming a specialist
. Creative skill is something that will always be in demand, and cannot be replaced
by technology. Get a DJI Inspire 1 Raw, meet with some Directors of Photography, watch YouTube
videos on how to get cinematic shots.
2.Inspecting bridges and roofs
Drones are being increasingly used to inspect assets such as buildings and roofs, communications
towers, and bridges. There are thousands of these across the country and they often require a
maintenance inspection at least once a year. In many cases, drones offer a better way by replacing
things like EWPs. Consider getting a drone such as a Phantom 4 or Matrice and start working with a
maintenance company to gain experience in this area.
Drones can be used to:
Measure how many cubic meters of gravel is in a stockpile
Check levels – verify if the ground is level or not before laying foundations
Fly around a structure and construct a3D model to compare actual vs planned construction progress
If you are already a photographer, getting a drone and adding aerial images and video to your list of
services should be a natural progression for your business.
5.Search and rescue
Drones can be used to locate lost hikers in a national park, drones assist firefighters in inspecting the
stability of roof structures
Tip 2: Be customer centric
Many businesses are just starting to integrate drones into their operations and workflows. There is
lots of learning to be done on both sides – for the customer and the drone pilot. For this reason, it is
important to approach a customer with their goal
as your priority.
Remember, a bride doesn’t want a drone, she wants beautiful and unique imagery of the most
important day of her life, captured in a safe and quiet way. A construction site engineer doesn’t
really care about drones, if anything he seems them as just adding more complexity and possibly risk
to the site. He wants a 3D model of a building that is accurate and on time.
After deciding on a speciality area (See point 1 above), work closely with your customers in a
consultative way to ensure that whatever you do is relevant and value adding for the customer
Tip 3: get insurance
Drones have the capacity to injure people and damage property. We very strongly recommend
having a current public liability insurance policy that specifically covers the operation of a drone
(RPA). Get a quote for insurance here
Drone flying can be dangerous - 3 examples of incidents:
Drone operator fined
after UAV crashed into triathlete
Drone crashing into car on Sydney Harbour Bridge
is thrown over the front of his handlebars
Tip. 4 check out these useful resources
is a great bunch of guys who create informative and entertaining drone review videos
is a YouTube channel covering the adventures of some very skilled drone pilots indeed
The UAV Digest
is a leading pod cast show that covers drone industry news from America. Listen to it
via a free pod cast streaming app called Stitcher. Download Stitcher
(Android or iOS)
Getting into survey and mapping? Drone Deploy
is the most widely used app for capturing imagery,
processing maps & 3D models - 2 min video
About Drones for Hire
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