Drone Piloting – Best Ways to Get Experience

The fundamental principles of drone piloting career do not significantly differ from other similar professions. It is easy to enter the market, requires low investment costs, and is easy to get out of the market. However, drone pilots are in high demand, and many want to specialize in this field. To become a well-paid drone pilot, one must schedule preparation time and acquire skills to build a strong portfolio. There are many ways to make a professional image and get the necessary experience.

Drone Piloting Practice

The first stage is acquiring piloting skills, flying licenses, and technical experience. It means doing hours of unpaid artificial work just for yourself, without any stakes or guarantees for a client. Get out there and practice every available scenario you can imagine. It would include any unpaid practice gigs for your friends and family. Generally, it is best not to accept unpaid gigs from any unknown source, even if there is no implied pressure. Such practice hurts the entire industry and other pilots. Once you feel ready for any scenario and have your licenses, you can begin working for someone else.

Drone Piloting Employment

The easiest way is to work for someone else and learn from experts in this field. There are drone businesses out there that are looking for pilots, and it would be a reasonably good option to work for them for some time. Even if the final goal is to work on your own, it is an effective way to understand the market, master the basics of business, and gain a wide variety of experiences. Starting your own business can take a few years.

Suppose the plan is to work part-time or to be self-employed. In that case, becoming a contractor for a drone company, such as DroneUp or DroneBase in the USA, is easy. You can undoubtedly find some companies in the local market. Now, such companies gladly conclude contracts with individuals. They post jobs for drone enthusiasts or professionals to employ drone pilots for short-time tasks. In this case, you would be hired as a contractor and are going to bid on jobs. It is an effective way to gain experience. 

Sometimes, you need to communicate directly, to understand how clients want the job done. It is not a money-wise choice compared to the first option because usually, companies are not willing to pay a high fee for the services of contractors. Still, there is a possibility that additional services such as mapping, inspection, etc., will be required. 

Social Drone Piloting Experience

Another way to get experience from others is to join a local drone flying club and meet like-minded people there. Flying with other people helps to understand the process faster, collect a lot of helpful information, and to establish new contacts that may help to get jobs. It is an enjoyable option for people who love socializing.

Additional Education

Suppose you are of those who want to delve into this area on a theoretical level first. In that case, you could take classes at the local community college or enroll in a course related to the topic of your interest. It can be hard to understand what skills are essential at first. And college is an excellent place to get some skills needed to run your own business. Still, if you want to do, e.g., roof inspections, it makes sense to study engineering. 

For impatient people, the best way would be to enroll in a course related to something you are interested in, such as roof inspections. And last but not least, learning while preparing to get industry-specific licenses, for example, GIS, surveyor, roof inspector, etc. Theoretical knowledge without practice is undervalued.


During all of the described stages, you must constantly expand and update your portfolio whenever possible. Your portfolio paves the way for transitioning from a drone pilot enthusiast to an expert professional. Each documented project makes you look more experienced and more attractive to potential clients in the future.

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