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FLIGHT TIME TRAINING

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Is there a training school/business that has something like a 2-3 days on hands training with Quad copters/ drones? Don't need the certification training.

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UAVUniversity in Phoenix, AZ. Way overpriced at $3,500. Looks very thorough and includes fixed wing. For $1,000 I may do it,  since I live 45 minutes from the school, but $3,500 is ridiculous. They also have degree programs.

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Yea, that's pretty stiff. Having to fly out and stay for 3 days. I would need to see more specific curriculum, and references for that price. Sounds good. Thank you

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I'm sure it's all good stuff. May be worth the $$ depending on one's experience. Embry-Riddle has been the preeminent aviation university since the 1930s. However, it concerns me that young kids may not understand what the certificate training (not degree programs) will really qualify them for. A $200 online class like UAV Coach will get you the Part 107 RPC w/o a need to spend thousands. A youngster aspiring to a UAV career will need lots of training and logbook hours in the big stuff. 

Unless a young person goes into the military and logs thousands of hours in the big birds (and gets a commercial pilot /IFR certificate) as a minimum, the big companies nor the feds are going to take a look at you. That's where the real money is.

Things will no doubt change and I foresee future FAA ratings added to the RPC much like manned aircraft, perhaps based on aircraft weight and operating altitude. I seem to remember reading about a school that teaches students to fly Predator size birds, for a lot of $$... Here General Atomics UAV pilo job qualifications:

Job Qualifications

  • Typically requires education/formal training equivalent to the completion of a four-year technical degree or trade school equivalency and five or more years’ experience in UAV operation or aviation. Equivalent professional or military experience in UAV or aviation may be substituted in lieu of education.
  • Must demonstrate a detailed understanding of UAV and FAA principles, theories and concepts.
  • Must possess: (1) FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate with a current instrument rating and ability to maintain commercial certificate and instrument currency or a specialized aircraft system qualification; (2) at least five hundred (500) hours as Pilot-in-Command (PIC) with UAV instructor or multiple UAV aircraft qualification; (3)ability to obtain DOD secret clearance as well as customer specific clearance(s); (4) excellent analytical, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills to accurately interface with all levels of employees and military and civilian customers, contractors and aircrew; and (5) detailed knowledge of computer operations and applications.
  • The ability to work both independently and in a team environment is essential as is the ability to work extended hours and travel as required.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DOD clearance.
  • US citizenship required.
  • USAF qualified MQ-9 pilot (LRE/MCE), with a current Form 8 is strongly desired.
  • Possession of at least five hundred (500) hours as Pilot-In-Command (PIC) in the Predator/Reaper family of aircraft is strongly desired.

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6 hours ago, Uaviator53 said:

I'm sure it's all good stuff. May be worth the $$ depending on one's experience. Embry-Riddle has been the preeminent aviation university since the 1930s. However, it concerns me that young kids may not understand what the certificate training (not degree programs) will really qualify them for. A $200 online class like UAV Coach will get you the Part 107 RPC w/o a need to spend thousands. A youngster aspiring to a UAV career will need lots of training and logbook hours in the big stuff. 

Unless a young person goes into the military and logs thousands of hours in the big birds (and gets a commercial pilot /IFR certificate) as a minimum, the big companies nor the feds are going to take a look at you. That's where the real money is.

Things will no doubt change and I foresee future FAA ratings added to the RPC much like manned aircraft, perhaps based on aircraft weight and operating altitude. I seem to remember reading about a school that teaches students to fly Predator size birds, for a lot of $$... Here General Atomics UAV pilo job qualifications:

Job Qualifications

  • Typically requires education/formal training equivalent to the completion of a four-year technical degree or trade school equivalency and five or more years’ experience in UAV operation or aviation. Equivalent professional or military experience in UAV or aviation may be substituted in lieu of education.
  • Must demonstrate a detailed understanding of UAV and FAA principles, theories and concepts.
  • Must possess: (1) FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate with a current instrument rating and ability to maintain commercial certificate and instrument currency or a specialized aircraft system qualification; (2) at least five hundred (500) hours as Pilot-in-Command (PIC) with UAV instructor or multiple UAV aircraft qualification; (3)ability to obtain DOD secret clearance as well as customer specific clearance(s); (4) excellent analytical, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills to accurately interface with all levels of employees and military and civilian customers, contractors and aircrew; and (5) detailed knowledge of computer operations and applications.
  • The ability to work both independently and in a team environment is essential as is the ability to work extended hours and travel as required.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DOD clearance.
  • US citizenship required.
  • USAF qualified MQ-9 pilot (LRE/MCE), with a current Form 8 is strongly desired.
  • Possession of at least five hundred (500) hours as Pilot-In-Command (PIC) in the Predator/Reaper family of aircraft is strongly desired.

Not sure I understand?  He's asking about flying a sUAV "Quad."  If you want to do all of that join the military.  I have a couple thousand hours of turbine helicopter and another thousand of fixed wing with IFR, and non of that counts for anything flying under 55 pound drones for big companies.  At the moment they care more about my insurance and I don't run into anything.

Sure, if your talking about flying GlobalHawks or Predators.  Where did you get that job qualification?  There will be a lot of well paying jobs for large utilities, oils and gas, construction etc that won't require that kind of training. 

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From my own talks with people at KittyHawk and Skyward most said that 50 hours is a good place to start (non-job specific).

@Av8Chuck So you are finding that companies care more about insurance than a large number of drone flight hours?

As far as getting UAV jobs in oil and gas, construction, real estate, etc how would your rate the following in terms of importance:

Flight experience, SMS, insurance, data processing, equipment

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Just as there is no one size fits all drone, there's no single right answer to your questions.  It really depends on who your working for and what your doing.

I can't imagine realtors even know to ask about experience, even if they did, what does 50 hours of drone time actually mean?  So for applications like real estate or event videography that ends up on YouTube a Phantom4 with 50 hours of experience is fine.

But when you start talking about utilities, Oil & Gas, and civil engineering, the concerns are radically different.  Its not so much about flight experience as it is about understanding the environment in which your working.  If your doing an aerial survey of a power station for example and your drone has carbon fiber booms and props, how close can you get to the feeder lines or breakers before 650K volts jumps across?

In Oil & Gas, when is it safe or not safe to fly an electrically powered drone in a potentially explosive environment?  There is so much that goes into accuracy that flight experience is relatively meaningless, these kinds of missions are mostly autonomous, your not going to get the required precision from flying by hand and applications like DroneDeploy aren't going to get it either.  The issue of accuracy has little to do with the drones track across the ground, its has more to do with the instrumentation used to account for the motion of the drone relative to the thing being scanned.  Again, this is not a flight hour issue.

I think this has been mentioned before, but instead of flight hours it might be more relevant to test the operators skill set.  People need to be able to fly a drone manually without the assistance of GPS, magnetometer, or barometer assisted flight modes.  They need to know how to safely mission plan.  

I think the difference is that measuring an operators experience based on flight hours refers to "how you fly a drone" Whereas most of the companies we work with aren't that interested in the drone, their more interested in the application of the drone   

  

    

  

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I agree that hands on training would be beneficial, but those prices seem outrageous to me.  A cheaper option might be finding someone in your area that has experience with the same type of drone that you have, and offering to pay that person for lessons.  

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A cheaper way to learn or what I have done is I bought a smaller drone (for like $60-100).  These are much more agile and difficult to handle than the larger UAVs (IMO).  I fly it in similar orbits or patterns as I would my larger UAV.  Once I felt comfortable flying this one around I tried my Matrice 100 out.  Wow what a difference!  Obviously I have to account for inertia more with my m100, but I was comfortable with it almost out of the box, because I put a lot of time with my little quad.

This is worth a shot until you find a program that meets your needs and won't break the bank if you crash the little quad.

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In Phoenix, along with Tucson or Albuquerque (or elsewhere technically) we have started doing drone training courses that are geared to engineering/mapping/survey users. We have course outlines if you want to see details, but we have set up three classes - 1 to prep for the test, another for actual flight and flight planning (includes a half day of field flying) with the other half day being mission planning with various tools, such as SiteScan, or Pix4D, and issues related to getting he right GSD, shot angle and coverage. Our third class is what to do with the resulting data - processing it, and using orthos and models in various Autodesk software like AutoCAD Map, Civil 3D, Infraworks or Recap.
  It would be of little value to someone doing real estate or video work, but should be pretty helpful to those in the engineering world. We've spent a lot of time trying to develop reasonable workflows.
  BTW, the "we" is CADsoft Consulting (http://www.cadsoft-consult.com). We are an Autodesk partner and do a lot of engineering technology consulting.

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