So, you just passed your Part 107 test – now what? After your TSA background check is completed and you’ve been issued a temporary remote pilot certificate from the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA) system, you’re legally able to take your drone to air. Regardless of your level of experience, in theory, you would be able to fly any drone, under 55 lbs., in approved airspace, following the protocols and guidelines set forth within the Part 107 regulations.
As with most things in life, there is typically a noticeable difference when it comes to intellectual and practical application. Consider juggling for an example. I could study the physics and theory of how to become a master juggler for hours on end. Unfortunately, no amount of studying could ever replace the necessary motor skill adaptation that can only be acquired through persistent training and practice. The principle of practice is applicable in nearly any element of skill mastery. Drones are no exception.
While platforms being developed today are becoming more and more “beginner” friendly, as they require fewer and fewer manual input thanks to GPS stabilizing technology, any drone pilot, and especially those operating in the commercial space, should be prepared to assume full manual control if an emergency situation should arise. There have been several occasions in my drone career where manual inputs meant the difference between a total loss of an aircraft and achieving a successful, safe recovery.
As an operator of a military drone with an endurance of over 12 hours, it was my top priority to always stay on the alert for any issues that might require operator intervention. Often times, the aircraft would fly without issue for the entire shift. Weeks would go by where the reliability of the aircraft would flex its sureness by not exhibiting even an ounce of instability. But it only takes one moment for all of that to change. Be it a failed engine, icing developing on the wings, a gas or oil leak, or loss of autonomous control, I had to be prepared to take immediate, corrective, responding action.
What would you do if your drone, be it a fixed wing or rotary platform, suddenly lost its GPS guided stability? Have you had the training and prepared the necessary immediate actions to resolve the situation? Being a professional drone pilot requires more than just the regulatory knowledge on how to fly and knowing what’s legal and illegal. While, yes, knowing everything about Part 107 is important, without the developed drone piloting skills, the essence of being a fully equipped and competent professional Part 107 pilot is compromised.
Do an honest assessment of your piloting skills. Is there room for improvement? Are you prepared for an emergency manual takeover?
Consortiq has a strong repertoire of training suitable for all levels of drone pilot experience. For the beginner looking to take to the skies for the first time, we offer Part 107 Essentials Plus & Drone Flight Essentials. For those operators already confident in their piloting skills, but looking for more specified training in their own field of work, we offer UAQ Emergency6 (geared towards emergency response services), UAQ Media (geared towards drone photo imagery), and UAQ Engineering (geared towards infrastructure surveying and construction site support). Finally, for those who are looking to share their skills and experience with the next generation of up-and-coming drone “Padowans,” Consortiq offers the Train-the-Trainer course. Beyond that, Consortiq has the personnel with the skills, knowledge, and experience to offer more custom-catered training that matches your organizational / individual needs (i.e. BVLOS training).
Finally, if you’re looking to find a way to receive an official and globally recognized industry certification for your drone piloting skills, we also offer AUVSI TOP Program© training for all levels – 1 through 3. You can learn more about the AUVSI TOP Program© on our website and get personal insights on the program by checking out my newly released “TOP – So What?” blog series.
Ultimately, the degree of your drone operating skills boils down to how serious you are about training and practice. While it’s important to stay up-to-date and proficient with your Part 107 knowledge, don’t ignore the critical need to be dexterously competent on the control sticks as well. Knowledge and skill go hand-in-hand and will ensure your flights are safe and efficient.