• The Thrifty Pilot

Becoming a DRONE pilot!


Well, it has happened and I am sure parts of places that will go unnamed are covered in ice and snow right now - for I have become a drone pilot. In the not too distant past, I thought a few things:

  • Drones were toys

  • They didn't have any right to share the same airspace because they were a danger

  • Drone pilots aren't pilots

Well, first of all I have discovered that drones are not really toys! Some drones are very expensive and are being used for some pretty amazing things. Of course, photography is the first thing that comes to mind, however other more serious endeavors are life saving drones, medical drones, fire search and rescue drones, defibrillation drones, etc. Drones are changing the way people work and live in some pretty exciting ways.

Second on my gripe list was the dangers of smacking into a drone with a plane because they have encroached into "our" airspace. However, I see this threat diminishing as new technology is on the horizon. Having geogates that protect sensitive areas, increased software A.I. and on-board GPS have proven to be very helpful. With the FAA recognizing the need of regulation, licensing procedures have no come to the forefront to help with making sure new laws and regulations are followed. In the video below you will hear me mention that both my drone and myself are licensed - I hold a drone certificate and my drone has been registered due to it exceeding the weight threshold.

Lastly, there was a point made that drone pilots are not pilots. This was a personal thing as I recalled all of the training and studying that was involved to get my pilots license and the thought of others who have not been through the same, should not use that title. Well, this was something that I got over pretty sharply when I noticed a little kid flying a drone the other day. He was so excited to have his very first drone that was given to him by his father. All he wanted was to become a "real" pilot one day and he was so excited to get a chance to see what was going on above him. To be able to traverse the skies and experience the dramatic change of perspective that was above him was all he wanted. Of course, you will get people that are cocky and say that they are a "pilot" as they hold on to their drones, however for the most part these are people that love the same thing that we do - flight. In some cases these people are not able to fly and we should nurture there ambition to fly as pilots. We should want others to enjoy what we love so much and be accepting of their ambition to reach for the sky.

There is a lot of chatter about drone pilots not being "real pilots". These discussions have lead to some really heated conversations merely over the fact that the FAA has posted "pilot" in UAS certificates.

We all love flying and when I was not an aircraft pilot and was buzzing my little model planes around, I never thought of myself as a pilot in the traditional sense. Merely it fueled my passion to become one and when I did it made it easier to learn the dynamics of flight. Pilots of all levels and licensure should embrace this. GA needs people, the airlines need people and helping others with an interest in aviation is key to the success of flying overall. I will never scoff now when I hear someone say that they hold a "lesser" certificate than me. Everyone starts and ends somewhere, the key is to make sure that I support them as I feel that is the duty of all pilots.


The times are a changing and drones are becoming a more integral part of the world. With Amazon and their fleet of delivery drones, to rescue and police drones it seems like you just can't escape the whirl of those little buzzing props.

So, as I do with most things I set out to find a drone that did all the cool stuff that I have been hearing about while saving as much money as I could. This is what I found:


Like the video said, I have enjoyed flying of all types and in the past I have owned multiple R/C planes and helicopters, so drones were pretty much a natural progression for me. We shouldn't be scared of these things, but rather we should get more involved as pilots.

Learn about them and how they are sharing the sky with us. Let's not build a divide of them and us, we all share the same passion - flight - so let's embrace those who want to soar the skies, but might not be able to for one reason or another.

Drones have a lot to give and are changing the way we live, work, play and (soon) travel!

So, embrace your inner kid/pilot/nerd and take a small leap to experience the world of drones. They are fun, easy to fly and save ya quite a bit on the 100LL!


You can get this little drone by flowing these links:

Wingsland S6 (Outdoor Edition) Mini Pocket Drone 4K Camera http://amzn.to/2BqUXR0

WINGSLAND S6 Rechargeable lithium Polymer Battery http://amzn.to/2AdrSut

Register your drone here:

https://registermyuas.faa.gov/

Become a DRONE pilot with the UAS Integration Pilot Program

https://www.faa.gov/uas/


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