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UAV and UAS Pilot & Sensor Operator CareersThe future looks bright for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry
By Kyle Garrett
UAVs, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are becoming a huge industry, both for military and civilian usage. As the number of UAVs grow, more and more civilian UAV pilots and sensor operators will be needed. UAV pilots typically have to meet the same requirements as a commercial pilot: a commercial pilot license with an instrument rating, and a minimum of 500 hours of flight experience. Don't think just because you "fly" a UAV from the ground that you won't be doing any actual flying. In fact, most UAV pilots are required to keep their FAA pilot licenses and ratings current. In other words, a commercial instrument pilot must fly at least a few times every six months to keep his or her instrument rating and commercial license"current".
UAV Pilots & Sensor Operators
Most UAVs require a crew of two: a pilot and a sensor operator. The pilot is responsible for take off, maneuvering, navigating, traffic and collision avoidance, monitoring onboard systems and weather, communicating with air traffic controllers, and landing. The sensor operator typically runs all of the onboard systems such as various camera systems, sampling machines, weapons (for the military), and any other "payload" the UAV's mission calls for. Learn more about UAV pilot jobs.
Is a UAV Pilot Career Right for You?
UAV pilots must meet tough requirements. Do you have what it takes? As a UAV pilot you will...
- Be required to earn and keep current pilot licenses and ratings
- Build up at least 500 hours of actual flight time to get your first job
- Maintain very high standards of precision in a structured environment
- Be exposed to mental stress
Learn more information about a UAV pilot license.