Image result for drone pilotBy Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Drones, over the past several years, have evolved to an extent that was once thought possible in only science fiction. Whether it be by land, sea, or air drones are redefining what is possible as well as how their implementation impacts companies and end users alike.

Today, they are rapidly expanding business process improvement in areas such as express shipping, delivery, site inspection, thermal imaging, geographic mapping, intelligence gathering, and many more.  While some processes involving drones can be automated, others still require a skillful human touch behind the controls to reduce risk and ensure quality. As a result, this has created a need for qualified drone operators for many businesses.

How do I become a drone pilot you ask? The process is actually quite simple. To obtain a drone pilot certification one must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam​
  • Upon certification, must recertify every 2 years

Pilots are also required to carry their certification on them at all times during drone operation. Thankfully, for those interested in pursuing this certification path here at Purdue, you won’t have to go far to find a testing center for the FAA’s aeronautical knowledge exam. There is a testing center in West Lafayette at PURDUE AVIATION LLC at 1630 Aviation Drive. For additional details on becoming a drone pilot, you can visit the FAA’s website.



Is obtaining a drone pilot certification something you’d be interested in obtaining? Why or why not?

What other jobs could be augmented with drone technology?

What additional business processes can be improved through drone technology?