How to become an agricultural drone pilot
Drone technology is a phenomenal innovation that continues to have far-reaching effects on today’s society, transforming our lives and the way we do business across various industries, including agriculture.
A drone equipped with the right sensor can provide growers with additional information on plant health, allowing for early detection of problems in the field.At Aerobotics our mission is to offer growers precise information on pests and diseases so that they can take the right action before the issues spread throughout their fields. But to obtain precise information, high-quality data is required.
Aerobotics’ global network of drone pilots use the MicaSense Red-Edge MX camera on their drones, to provide growers in almost every corner of the globe with the best data available.
If you are interested in becoming part of our network here’s how you can get started with Aerobotics:
*Note that these steps are general and might vary depending on the country.
1. Get your drone pilot license
The first step to becoming an Agricultural Drone Pilot is to get your pilot’s license. This is a legal requirement in all countries that have drone laws. Most licenses will require you to pass a theoretical and practical test to showcase your skills.
In South Africa, you can get your Remote Pilot License (RPL) from a drone school such as UAVI, Drone-X and Cranfield. In the USA you can get your Remote Pilot Certificate (Part 107) you must schedule an appointment at any Knowledge Testing Center.
2. Buy your hardware
The next step is to buy your hardware. At Aerobotics, most of our pilots use DJI professional drones like the M200 series. The drone must then be integrated with the multispectral camera. We recommend either the MicaSense RedEdge-M or RedEdge-MX. This setup captures the necessary images that enable us to provide our farmers with visual and health layers for their farms.
3. Test flight
Once you have your drone integrated with the multispectral camera, it is time to do some tests. Pilots that fly in agriculture will need to know the specific flight parameters and flight applications to use in order to successfully collect data and map orchards. It is also beneficial for the drone pilot to have a good understanding of agriculture.
If you are using any version of the MicaSense RedEdge, we recommend that you follow their data capture specifications, which you can find here.
4. Insure your business
The drone and the camera are big investments as well as your main work tool, thus it’s important for you as a drone pilot to have your equipment fully insured before getting into any job, in case the drone crashes, gets damaged or even stolen. Better safe than sorry!
5. Grow your business
The widespread use of drones across industries has created a new sector of drone services and data collection. At Aerobotics our paid drone network creates the fuel for advanced agricultural analytics that provides farmers with the information they need.
Click here if you are interested in becoming a drone pilot with Aerobotics or would like to find out more.