UPS_Drone Image


As we have recently seen in the news lately UPS has been approved to use drones for delivery of packages.  Very quickly, we now see other businesses wanting to join with UPS to benefit from the use of drones and logistics of delivering their packages.

A recent article in Modern Healthcare by Alex Kacik, titled UPS and CVS launch new drone delivery deal, states, “UPS and CVS Health signed a letter of intent to explore drone deliveries”.  This shows the quick growth potential that organizations will be looking to become part of.

Drones industrial use

Drones are becoming a larger part of the commerce model than many people once thought they would be.   With the recent September approval from the Federal Aviation Administration Part 135 Standard Certification

As drones industrial use gets traction for package delivery as UPS proves more and more viable avenues the technology can improve business delivery processes.  Other industries will start to follow the UPS model or create and improve their own drone business models.

Five phases of the certification process

All applicants of the part 135 Standard certification must complete the five phases and three gates to become certified to become either an air operator or air carrier with the use of drones.

Phase 1 – This is the pre-application which begins when an applicant files to apply for the certification.  The applicant will request access to the FAA Safety Assurance System (SAS) their external portal.  The portal access is free, and a secure online application.

Phase 2 – Once the pre-application is accepted and approved to move forward.  The official formal application starts.  The required information to be submitted follows:

  • Formal application letter
  • Schedule of events
  • Compliance Statement
  • Company Manuals
  • Training Curricula
  • Management Qualification Attachments (Resume)
  • Documents of purchase, contracts, and/or lease attachments
  • SAS Element Design Assessment Tools (ED-DCT’s)
  • Proposed Operations Specifications
  • Flight Attendant Materials

Another component of the phase 2 is a formal application meeting, in this meeting allows the FAA and applicant to address, and concerns.  Once phase 2 is completed, gate 2 is also marked completed at the same time.

Phase 3 – In this phase the FAA representative assigned to the applicant reviews in depth all documentation submitted.  Compliance with applicable regulations and safety practices adhered to are the primary observance procedures the FAA representative is looking for.

Phase 4 – The FAA representative responsible for reviewing the application and applicant determines that all proposed procedures and programs for training are in line with the regulatory guidelines.  The applicant’s manuals and documentation need to show compliance in training procedures and directing staff are adequate to meet the regulatory mandates.  Upon completion of Phase 4 the applicant will also have completed gate 3 of the application and certification process.

Phase 5 — If the applicant passes the previous four phases the FAA will issue their certificate and operations specifications.  The applicant has not completed the certification process.

Learn more about the FAA 14 CFR Part 135 Certification Process.  Click Here.

Professional drone pilot jobs

The industry of drone piloting is going to grow quickly as corporations’ staff up to meet the growing demand on their delivery services.  As many professional drone pilot jobs start to open up the need for qualified and certified drone pilots will increase.Image of Drone carrying a shopping cart

Along with the need for pilots will be the need for drone developers that can develop new code to create specialized autonomous flying algorithms.  This is where the industry is going to be leaning heavily with the need for drone deliveries to be out of line of sight flight patterns.

With this type of criteria, the drone needs to have specialized code to address obstacles along the flight path.  Allowing it to know how to maneuver for safe flight patterns.  This also includes the need to make sure the flight path is compliant with FAA regulations.

 For anyone that has interest in obtaining jobs in the drone logistics industry now is the time to learn the laws and regulations around piloting drones commercially.  I have posted a few articles that talk about the need to learn to program drones.

Potential employment opportunities are with organizations in law enforcement, search and rescue, military, fire departments, oil and gas corporations, forestry, construction and engineering, film, border patrol, just to name a few.

A few companies that are seeking to expand into this arena are UPS, CVS, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Amazon, and many startup companies.  These are but a few of the organizations that will be seeking professionals to work for them.

Become a certified drone pilot

Several schools provide drone training and a degree program to aid students obtain and lead the way with the emerging drone technology.  A short list of schools and the programs they offer follows.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Located in Daytona Beach, Florida has a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science.  The second Bachelor Degree program is Unmanned Systems Applications.  These two programs provide the needed skills to succeed in the new Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

Purdue University – Located in West Lafayette, Indiana has an Undergraduate programs for Aviation Business, Unmanned Aerial Systems Design and Construction, Aviation Operations Management, National Airspace Systems Operations, Unmanned Aerial Systems Design, Build, Test, and Civilian Unmanned Aerial Systems. image of civilian drone pilot

There are other schools that offer quality education in the evolving drone technology.  If neither of these schools that I have listed out meet your needs.  A search on Google for “schools that offer drone degree programs” will produce the results allowing you to research other schools that might fit your needs.

Getting a quality education that provide opportunities to learn skills and put them to use gives students the ability to take a job with confidence.  Employers are able to benefit from the knowledge of hiring employees who can hit the ground running.

The cost of getting new employees past the learning curve and fully functional can be a major part of the organizations expense.  When employees are able to cut the learning curve by coming on staff with much of the knowledge needed helps cut those costs.

I will provide more posts on this topic in the coming weeks.  One of the things I would like to do is to dig deeper into the educational aspects of learning to fly drones.  As laws and regulations start to come into being that will make it harder for hobbyists and private drone enthusiasts to own and operate drones.  These regulations will make it more important than ever to have professionals with the skills and knowledge to safely support the companies that will expand into this new technology.

As always please enter your name and email to leave a comment below.  I would love to hear how you feel about the topics and any new concepts you would like for me to post about.

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