Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Drone Pilot License!

A few weeks ago, the FAA's new regulations regarding small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or "drones" went into effect, known as Part 107. Along with definitions of what constitutes a drone and where/when they can be operated, it also included a new "Remote Pilot" certification, which is required to operate drones. A summary of the Rule can be found here.

To qualify for the new Remote Pilot certification, you either need to pass a test, or currently hold another pilot certificate with a current flight review, and take a short UAS online course through the FAA's FAASTeam website. Since I qualified for the latter, I decided to go ahead and obtain my Remote Pilot certificate!

Of course, I took the opportunity to joke around a bit and made up a little billboard of Commercial Drone Pilot Services for me and my trusty little miniDrone. So far, I have yet to make my fortune...

Although I don't specifically have plans to commercialize on the license (still doing the PhD thing), I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to get on board early. The use of drones in geological research seems to be booming lately; I recall a whole poster session on drones at the recent Geological Society of America meeting in Baltimore. Even searching for the word "drone" in the upcoming National Geological Society of America meeting in Denver brings back a number of results.
It's possible that someday in the near future it may come in handy to be a registered drone pilot. Or, more likely, now that I've opened up the possibilities to myself, I may think of ways in which to use it. Either way, it's exciting that three fields I've been trained in (geology, GIS, and aviation) have come together this way for me.

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