Drone pilots are in demand as businesses use the devices for logistics and transport. (Stock photo)

Drone pilots fly high: rising demand creates job opportunities

Devices are used for videography, mapping and one day could be delivering groceries: Here is how train in operating them

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Did you know that Tata 1MG Labs is now transporting 500+ samples per day using a specially designed drone in a temperature-controlled container. The initiative is LIVE in Noida.

Drones can reshape the future of e-commerce and logistics. Many companies have already started testing drone deliveries, including the likes of Amazon. Last year, Swiggy partnered with Garuda Aerospace to use drones to deliver groceries in Bengaluru and the Delhi-NCR region. In December, digital health platform 1mg started a pilot project to deliver medicines and diagnostic samples in Dehradun. Drones were also used to deliver vaccines in Arunachal Pradesh.

According to Tanmay Saksena, Chief Operating Officer Tata 1mg, “Our objective of introducing drones for delivery of healthcare services is to further enhance both the quality, speed and reliability of services we offer to our consumers. We are piloting this with our middle mile leg of delivering blood samples to our state-of-the-art Tata 1mg Labs in Delhi and Dehradun from our collection centers. Post collection, this allows for a speedy and uninterrupted transfer of blood samples to our labs and significantly reduces the time taken and unexpected delays. In the near future we will experiment with middle and last mile legs of medicine delivery as well using drone technology.” Their drone technology partners work closely with the relevant regulatory authorities like Quality Council of India (QCI) for drone model quality check and certification, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for guidelines, zone permissions and licenses and local Air Traffic Control (ATC ) departments, part of Airport Authority of India, for route specific permissions. All this is important to ensure safety and compliance to which we are fully committed as a company.

What about the cost? Is it more expensive to deliver through drones than a human fleet? Says Saxena, “Today the per sample cost of drone delivery is at par with using a fleet of delivery executives. With an increased scale of samples and drone payload (today it is at 5 kg per flight) this cost will further drop by 20-30%. It is also important to note that we will continue to work with a judicious combination of delivery executives and drone based routes to ensure that there is enough redundancy in the delivery system and the end services to our users continue becoming better, faster and more reliable.”

Piloting The Drones

Drones are already being used extensively in multiple industries but not everyone can fly a drone. One must hold a licence to be able to fly a drone for commercial purposes.

You need an expert for manning these drones. Says Sarath Chandra Gudlavalleti, CEO of Neosky, a subsidiary of RattanIndia, “Only a certified expert can operate a commercial drone. These pilots need to go through a certified training program which is a mix of classroom and ground sessions. These pilots are not only educated about all the drone rules but also given hands-on training to operate the drones. These pilots need a basic education qualification, should have passed a certified training program and have many flying hours working on-the-job.

In India, both federal and private institutions offer drone pilot training. The institutes that offer drone pilot training must be DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation)-certified.

What are the job prospects? Drone pilots are employed in a variety of industries, such as military, government entities, agribusiness, real estates, environmental protection, videography, and mapping. The location for drone piloting could be anywhere from a film set to the countryside or even inside. Individuals typically work non-traditional hours if they are self-employed, whereas individuals who are not self-employed spend an average of 45 hours per week. Their operations include aerial photography and progress tracking, reconnaissance, surveillance, and terrain mapping, among others. Technicians also test and maintain UAV systems and aid in the planning, creation, and execution of flying test events and performances.

Drones are a sunrise industry and the demand can be observed across different segments of the market. In India what kind of drones are high on demand. According to Sarath Chandra Gudlavalleti, CEO of Neosky, “Commercial drones are supporting many enterprises and entrepreneurs in the fields of land mapping, inspection, agriculture and many more. Drones are playing a decisive role in security and surveillance. These drones are supporting armed forces, paramilitary, police, and the private industry at large. There are new and upcoming segments like training which are also seeing a high demand for drones.”

What can you earn by becoming a drone pilot? According to a spokesperson from TechSci Research, “A drone pilot in India makes, on average, Rs 6.5 lacs per year, or about Rs 320 per hour. The average yearly pay for a drone pilot might range from Rs 4.8 lacs to Rs 8.4 lacs. Thane, Bengaluru, Guntur, Pitampura, and Delhi are the five highest paying cities in India for drone pilots.”

Currently, in India there are over 200 drone start-ups operating in the country. Recently Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation stated that India is anticipated to create at least 1 lakh drone pilot jobs in the upcoming years. Since the market is gradually expanding, the opportunity for the growth in the drone services sector is enormous. Individuals who have passed class 12 can also be trained as a Drone Pilot as an up-coming career alternative. To be trained as a Drone Pilot, an individual does not necessarily require a college degree.

To become a certified drone pilot, you must be a minimum of 18 years of age. You must have passed class 10, and a formal drone piloting training at DGCA (Directorate General Of Civil Aviation) approved Flying Training Organisation (FTO). Along with such formal training, the pilot must know the basis of flying: assess the weather, wind speed and other mechanics.

There are several well-known government approved institutes which provide you with skills, knowledge and formal training required for being a certified drone pilot. Some of them are listed in the price chart below.

Institutes that train drone pilots in India

Institution Course Name Duration Course Fees (in RS) Certificate Validity (yrs) Age(yrs)
The Drone Destination Drone Pilot Training 5 days 65 10 20-65
Indian Institute of Drones Micro Category Multi-rotor Drone Pilot Course(DGCA Certification) 5 days 34 10 18
Indian Institute of Drones Drone Operations & Management Professional 5 days 5 10 18
Indian Institute of Drones Small Category Multi rotor Drone Pilot Course 5 days 71 10 18
Indian Institute of Drones Micro Category Fixed wing Drone Pilot Course 5 days 58 10 18
Indian Institute of Drones Drone Pilot Training 5 days 29 10 18
PBC Aero Hub Drone Pilot Training 5 days 34 10 18
DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations Drone Pilot Training 5 days 65 10 18
FLYTECH AVIATION ACADEMY Drone Pilot Training 200 Hours 57 10 18
Centre for Aerospace Research Small & Medium Category Drone PilotCourse 10 days 60 10 18
Telangana | StateAviation Academy (TSAA) Drone Pilot Training 5 days 42 10 18
ForeInstitute Of Drone Technology And Research (FIDTR) Drone Pilot Training 5 days 48 10 18
The Bombay Flying Club Drone Pilot Training 10 days 60 10 18
Marut Dronetech Private Limited Drone Pilot Training 5 days 54 10 18

Source: Business Standard https://mybs.in/2cBajmg

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