I am considering “the drone life” and am interested in pursuing it as a career in some fashion. I see many companies hiring but one of the requirements say “500 hours of verifiable PIC time”.
Do you know what is considered “verifiable”? Is my chicken scratch that is written in a log book considered “verifiable” when there is no one with me to officially sign off my flights, as they do in private pilot courses of manned aircraft? The word “verifiable” gives me some concern.
Welcome to the drone world! The drone industry is an exciting one, as there are jobs for people in all sorts of backgrounds, and not just flying drones. The drone industry needs engineers, storytellers, policy makers, lawyers, businesspeople and more. But it sounds like you want to actually fly for a living, so we’ll talk about that!
As far as the verifiable flight hours, I can’t answer for each employer, but I would guess they want you to have some sort of official flight log. You can do this a myriad of ways, including paper and pen, or a spreadsheet.
Many ground control stations on drones also log flights automatically.
And then there is also software to log your flights.
A couple years back I wrote this piece on “4 easy ways to log your flights,” which I advise you to check out. The post lists the startups like Kittyhawk and Skyward that aim to do that for you. Skyward offers badges with its free Basic account, which track all your aggregated flight hours — intended for freelancers and contractors who may be flying for multiple companies by recording all the flights you log in Skyward. NVdrones has outlined a slightly complicated, but clear way to view your flights on a DJI drone.
But as you mentioned, it seems odd to have a “verifiable flight hour” component if you are flying solo. I reached out to Andrew Dennison, Chief Operating Officer at Uplift Data Partners, to answer your question for me.
“I don’t think there is any standard/agreed-upon way to verify PIC time for drone pilots,” he said.
He said it’s been a discussion topic at Uplift too; flight log hours can be faked, and even if you were to review the flight logs from drones, it wouldn’t include past drones or guarantee you were the pilot.
“So instead, we developed our own 25-question test that goes much deeper than Part 107, and we also over the phone interviews to vet our pilots skill level,” he said. “Many of our pilots go through an in-person flight test as well.”
So it sounds like the flight logging matters less. Instead, it’s more about what you know. Good luck, and happy flying!