Increasing development within the drone industry has meant that it is now possible for drone pilots to earn as much as commercial airline pilots.
As new applications are found all the time, and demand for these grows, the number of drone pilots is on the rise. Now, figures from the National Careers Service show that these pilots have the potential to earn up to £65,000 a year (GOV.UK, 2019). This is as much as or even more than some airline pilots, who according to the same source can earn between £20,000 and £140,000.
These statistics highlight the fact that drones continue to be an expanding sector of the UK economy. The options for career progression available to pilots are varied. For example, a drone can be used to map land for agricultural use or to carry out inspections of infrastructure.
iRed, the drone and remote sensing specialist, also run industry-leading training courses for drone pilots, for which there is increasing demand.
Headquartered in Emsworth, Hampshire, iRed began in 2002 as a specialist in thermal imaging, before branching out into drones and other remote sensing tech.
Ray Faulkner, managing director, previously flew passenger jets, and now heads the tech firm that recently opened a new training centre in Lancaster in the north-west.
Ray said: “The speed at which drone piloting has become a career has been incredible.
“We are constantly finding new sectors that can benefit from the use of drones, often allied with our various cameras and remote sensing equipment.
“These include renewable energy, construction, electrics, cartography and search and rescue.
“Police forces, coastguards, fire services and the military are also developing their own uses for the technology.
“Clearly drone pilots are becoming more in demand and we offer courses that are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
“It is a job with great responsibility and pilots have to operate within the law, but there are more and more opportunities becoming available for those with the skills.
“Because of the demand for our training courses we recently linked up with the University of Lancaster to open a centre in the north-west.
“And due to that same demand, the money that can be earned is rising, so that now a pilot can earn more than £65,000 a year – more than some airline pilots.”
Specialist Drone Training Courses
The iRed Academy delivers innovative training for drone deployment technologies. There are a wide variety of courses available for new and existing pilots to develop their skills and knowledge.
The expert training courses, held in iRed’s purpose-built training facility, are regularly updated to meet current commercial needs. Courses include CAA Approved PfCO Training, Thermal Imaging for Drone Operators, Multispectral Imaging, and Inspection Training.
To find out more about iRed’s drone training courses, visit: https://ired.ac.uk/courses/drone/
Jack Bloomfield is the Marketing Manager for iRed. He helps businesses realise the benefits of remote sensing and drone operation in the UK.