“FAA commercial drone certification is just the first step in drone safety,” Nick explains. “Pilots should have comprehensive drone safety training beyond the FAA’s written test.”
A drone veteran with over 4,000 flight hours, Nick has seen his share of hobbyists and newly-licensed pilots making flying mistakes, including some with near-misses by people and property. He has also performed missions that tested the limits of his own piloting abilities, especially in the early days of consumer drone hardware and software. Now, with today’s more sophisticated UAVs, there’s a new safety concern: pilots can be misled into thinking drones will fly themselves. “Drones are becoming technologically advanced very quickly and are easier to fly,” Nick says. “Using them in perfect conditions can lull you into thinking you don’t have to stay alert.” But even today’s most sophisticated drones are subject to losing connection, weather interruptions, and other surprises.
Nick and FlyGuys’ Operations Manager Rusty Randall are developing an online training program to teach flight safety and other skills to newly licensed pilots. The program covers safety topics such as how to maintain control in high-wind environments, how to avoid collision hazards in congested areas, and the proper way to conduct pre-flight planning to avoid obstacles and maintain drone control.