4 keys to choosing the right drone operator

Not all drone operators are the same. Choosing the right operator for your drone project is vital.

Your drone operator must fulfill four main criteria before you consider their experience and ability to complete your project successfully.


1. They need to be licensed correctly.

Changes to regulations for sub 2kg class drones (small toy-like drones) has allowed untrained and uncertified operators into the marketplace. This is great news for unscrupulous businesses but ask yourself this; Why would a professional drone operator not be licensed?? Unlicensed means uninsured and under-qualified. Are you prepared to risk your business by using an unlicensed operator? Check that your operator has two things:

1. An Operators Certificate (also known as a RPA Operators Certificate), and

2. A Controller’s Certificate for the type of drone they will be using.


2. They need to be insured correctly.

Uninsured or under insured means that your business wears the risk. In the event of an accident (and they happen all the time – just have a look on Youtube) the injured and damaged will look to you for compensation.


3. They must have permission to fly.

A drone can pretty much fly anywhere – but only after getting right approvals and permissions. For the public safety and privacy, regulations governing where a drone can fly are clear. For example, tt is mandatory that the drone operator has permission from land occupiers, councils, airspace managers and many others before any flying begins. A trained and certified operator will know this already. Ask your operator to provide written proof of these permissions before they take to the air.


4. The must actively manage risk.

Every drone flight is unique. Your drone controller must be spotting and managing risk continually. It’s time consuming but so important. Rest assured, your certified operator will follow a process that has been approved CASA to ensure your drone flights are well managed and safe.


A good drone operator will also be able to meet the following criteria.


1. They need the experience to be able to confidently fly the drone:

a. in the prevailing weather conditions

b. at the location you need

c. in a manner so that the right data can be collected


2. They have proven skills in collecting the data or images that you need. It is no good asking a photographer to inspect power lines, or an ecologist to frame the perfect sunset. Pick a drone operator that has the skills and can demonstrate the results you expect.

3. They must have the right equipment to be able to capture the data or images you need.