Education vs. Automation: Why Drone Training Courses Matter in 2023

Drone AI and automated flights are great, but drone training courses are still critical to operations.

Have you heard of all the advances in drone artificial intelligence (A.I.) and automation?

Nearly every day, it seems some new software makes drones ‘smarter’, and easier to fly.

In many ways it’s true, and promises to open up new use-cases for industries everywhere.

Whether obstacle avoidance systems, pre-programmed flight paths, or any number of other advancements, it’s certainly exciting to think about.

Maybe you’ve even had the chance to fly one of these impressive machines.

But, if you’ve been in the industry a while, it probably doesn’t feel like long ago when mastering precision moves took countless flight hours.

While beautiful cinematic reveals and perfect orbits once required smooth stick control and an artist’s eye for dramatic shots, many drones now perform these maneuvers at the push of a button.

In fact, with all of the automated technology available, you might even wonder: “Do I even need a drone training  course? If I know how to operate my UAV, why bother with any further training?”

Well, while A.I. and automation are nice, there’s simply no substitute for proper, professional drone training courses.

Take, for instance, the recent developments in self-driving cars, like Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” system.

While it’s capable of some impressive feats, you still need a trained driver behind the wheel for safe operations. After all, no automated system is 100% reliable.

While there’s no denying the great power in automation and AI, they come with a cautionary caveat.

Rather than replace people outright, these machines should be viewed as complimentary.

Your own knowledge, skills, and achievements as operators of uncrewed systems serves as the foundation.

In fact, as drones continue to grow in complexity, drone training is just as important as ever before.

Drone Training Courses Help Meet Legal Requirements

In many countries, to become a commercial drone operator, you need to pass a licensing exam.

These exams typically cover laws and regulations, weather, airspace, operations, aircraft performance, and safety. 

While you can pick up a few of these on your own fairly easily, most are more challenging and complex.

For example, many commercial drone pilot hopefuls find it difficult when reading aeronautical charts for the first time.

Before sitting down with an instructor, you’d be forgiven if you thought these charts were written in a foreign language.

But, with the proper education, the charts are easy to interpret.

Drone training courses are essential methods for that critical first step – passing your licensing exams.

Instructor-led learning is especially essential in countries like the United Kingdom, where passing the test also requires flying a drone.

No test allows a new pilot to just turn on the drone and let automation take over. You need to know how to truly fly on your own.

Learning the fundamentals, through drone training courses and hands-on experience, is critical in gaining the confidence and skills you need.

Aeronautical chart over San Francisco Bay Area
Aeronautical charts can appear confusing unless you've had the proper training

Confidence for All Situations

For commercial drone pilots, no two jobs are the same. One day you fly in calm weather and wide open spaces, while the next you might battle unexpected winds in close quarters with infrastructure.

Even if you have a preprogrammed path you fly every day for a month, your flights will vary.

Weather conditions, other aircraft in the area, wildlife, and changing airspace restrictions make every flight unique. 

Though AI and algorithms can assist with your drone’s path and keep it level, ultimately, you need to know when to deviate from automation.

When you’ve received the right training, you’ll know exactly when you need to take matters into your own hands.

Do you remember the first time you saw a METAR weather report, wondering what all that cryptic code meant? 

“METAR KGGG 161753Z AUTO 14021G26KT 3/4SM 

+TSRA BR BKN008 OVC012CB 18/17 A2970 RMK 


Once you understand the code, it’s relatively easy to read. Location, cloud levels, precipitation, wind speed, visibility, and much more are all conveyed through a few brief lines.

But, unless you’ve learned what each line means, it just looks like a random collection of letters and numbers, rather than crucial meteorological data.

With the right drone training courses, you’ll discover the confidence to understand more than just symbols and charts.

You’ll have the confidence of complete control over your missions.

Pilots Will Always Be Needed

Much like the auto industry, there are many levels of automation before being considered “fully autonomous”.

With that in mind, the drone industry is still a long way from becoming fully automated.

While progress and achievements happen every day, pilotless drone technology and regulatory approval are still far over the horizon. 

Yet, even if complete automation arrived in the distant future, the UAV industry will still need trained, experienced commercial drone pilots.

In the end, safety always requires the judgement and actions of a qualified people – not just machines.

And, as long as that need remains, the need for proper drone training courses does as well.

Drone flight logbook
Related - Why Does Your Flight Logbook Matter? Click image to learn more

The Takeaways

Automation should be a tool of empowerment, rather than a crutch to lean on.

But, by ignoring drone training courses and qualified instructors, you risk only learning pieces of essential skills for safe UAV operations. 

Autonomous drones are an exciting part of our industry, to be sure.

But, no matter how advanced machines become, humans will forever remain part of the equation.

In addition to being pilots, we are observers, safety officers, planners, and photographers.  

Technology is a supplement – not a replacement – for learning and experience.

Whether you’re looking to further your personal career or create a complete UAV program, drone training courses are the most reliable path to success.

So, how do you get your drone program off the ground? How do you get started? Should you create an in-house program, or hire out? What sort of training do you need?

At Consortiq, we help you find a better way with drones, whether it’s training, consultation and program implementation, or doing the hard work for you, and specialize in large-scale, challenging jobs.

Ready to learn more? Just complete the form below to schedule a risk-free consultation!

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