How do you know a skilled drone pilot?

Thanks to a wide range of sensors, modern UAVs fly in most situations with self-stability. In a professional environment, other factors are important.

How to recognize a good UAV Operator!

Modern drones fly stable thanks to extensive sensor technology. Accelerometers, GPS, barometers, visual positioning and stereoscopic obstacle avoidance ensure that the drone remains stable in the air. In the close proximity of buildings, there are areas where GPS reception is not reliable. The same applies to the reliability of the compass in the direct proximity of reinforced concrete or steel girders. In the environment of buildings or for flights inside buildings and technical installations, it is essential that a drone pilot can operate the drone safely without an autopilot. This requires a lot of practice. Flying with a professional drone in difficult situations is simply not comparable to flying a hobby drone, but a completely different league.

Characteristics and skills a good drone pilot has

Drone operation without assistance systems such as GPS or Glonass

There are countless situations in which assistance systems no longer function reliably without prior warning and are deactivated automatically by the UAV during flight operations. The UAV pilot must then be able to operate the UAV himself in attitude mode. In other words, the drone maintains its altitude independently, but is driven by every gust of wind, no matter how small. In principle, flights without GPS are no witchcraft and can be learned. Most drone crashes occur because the pilot doesn't understand his job and doesn't react correctly in stressful situations. If someone can safely fly a drone without GPS, one can usually assume that he understands his craft.

Orbiting objects (POI)

Modern drones can automatically detect objects and precisely orbit them, with the object always in the center of the image. This figure is called Orbit. Whoever can perform this maneuver without assistance systems and only by looking at the screen (tablet, etc.) cleanly and without outliers understands his craft.

Theoretical qualification

UAVs are aircraft and share airspace with other aircraft. Airspace begins outside buildings directly above the ground. Even if the law says that it is allowed to fly wherever it is not prohibited, it should be remembered that there are very drastic limitations. A good drone operator knows the airspace structure and knows what is allowed and what is forbidden.

Preparing for a drone mission

Anyone who uses a drone for commercial purposes is preparing the flight as intended. Flight preparation includes a weather survey, a NOTAM briefing and, depending on the location, a process description and a risk assessment. If necessary, the necessary approvals are obtained in advance. In many cases, the drone pilot also informs the regulatory authorities about the deployment. Before the actual flight takes place, the drone pilot at least checks the safe seating (and perfect condition) of the propellers and the clearance of the motors as well as the general condition of the UAV.

A skilled UAV Operator remains calm and relaxed

A skilled drone operator remains calm and relaxed even during difficult missions, even when approached by passers-by. Many professional drone companies also carry out certain missions exclusively in two-person teams. During operations in an industrial environment, extremely demanding but also dangerous situations can occur within seconds. Two-person teams are more expensive but often necessary. Professional drone pilots concentrate on flying and want to attract as little attention as possible. They would never fly over crowds or perform unnecessarily risky flight manoeuvres.

Responsible and organized handling of the equipment

Professional drone operators carry their equipment in cases, the batteries are always labeled (usually with a number and the date of first use). Everything has a reasonable order and looks good and neat. The equipment, especially the reliability play the elementary role in the drone business.

Professional equipment & workwear

The equipment used does not always allow conclusions to be drawn about the qualification of the drone pilot. However, if someone appears with a professional drone for the job, one can assume that a certain qualification is present. The same applies to drones that require a licence. Competent pilots wear appropriate work wear with logo and usually also a safety vest. On the one hand this leads to the fact that concerned passengers are less worried, as the deployment directly mediates a professional "official" deployment and on the other hand pilots with warning vests are in our experience almost never approached by passers-by, which drastically increases flight safety.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

In the area of industrial plants, power plants, refineries etc. it is a matter of course that the drone pilot brings the necessary protective equipment and knows how to handle it. PPE (personal protective equipment) usually includes a work overall (or comparable clothing), protective goggles, hearing protection, a helmet and gloves. The preparation of a process description and a risk assessment is also a matter of course.

Identification of hazards

Operating inside a facility is not safe and even a drone can quickly cause a great amount of damage. An experienced UAV pilot feels comfortable in the facilities, follows the safety instructions, adapts his flying rod to the local conditions and has a feeling for possible dangers. Once you have flown over or in the wrong place, the drone can quickly get out of control for an untrained person and damage areas of a facility. Experience is required to recognize and avoid these dangers.

UAV operation on a construction site
UAV operation in a power plant
UAV Inspection of a tank
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