How to Become a Drone Pilot in India?

How to be a drone pilot in India: Courses, fees, license and all details you need to know!

Considering that companies like Swiggy and Dunzo are testing drone delivery of food and medicines by partnering with startups like ANRA Technologies and Skye AirMobility respectively.

Drones can also be used for delivering vaccines and medical aid supplies. | @a2zblog.in

With this, it seems that the tech industry in India is seriously considering drones for business mobility.

Drones and sky based deliveries

A majority of delivery packages in India weigh less than 3KG. This is the possible result of a survey conducted.

You see there’s a great opportunity to earn good with the position of a Drone Pilot. | @a2zblog.in

This makes it possible for a medium drone to deliver packages like food, vaccines, medicines and other essentials.

  • Not just for delivering packages, drones are also used for aerial photography, tracking, surveys and more.

So, with the increased usage of drones, the demand for skilled drone operators or UAV pilots will be more and knowing how to operate a drone may be considered as a desired skill.

The government in 2018 released a set of strict guidelines for drone owners, operators and manufacturers, to ensure that all drones are identified and their operators are known.

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Drone deliveries can be very profitable. 

Also, proper approvals and permits are required to fly drones that weigh above 2KG. Here’s all the details on how to be a trained drone operator in India.

You need to be trained from a DGCA-authorised training centre to become a drone operator

If you wish to be a drone pilot then you should be trained from a training centre authorised by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

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Dunzo and Swiggy are all set to begin Drone deliveries very soon. 
You need to have proper documents and will have to register as a “Remote Pilot” to obtain your “Pilot Identification number” and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP).

Do you need to buy a drone before joining a drone pilot training course in India

You do not need to buy a drone to enroll yourself for a drone training program in India.

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A drone.

The drone and training kits are provided by all the DGCA approved training institutes.

Who can become a drone pilot in India and what are the eligibility criterias

The required eligibility criterias are basic.

You need to be at least 18 years of age and pass 10th Standard (in English).

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Only after the above necessities being fulfilled, you can join any training institute to become a drone pilot.

What you learn at the training institute before you become a drone pilot

The government mandates that the ground training needs to be obtained at any DGCA approved Flying Training Organization (FTO). And, it includes the following theory subjects:

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Drone. 
  • Basic Radio Telephony (RT) techniques including knowledge of radio frequencies.
  • Flight Planning and ATC procedures.
  • Regulations specific to area of operations.

What is the duration of training to become a drone pilot?

Most drone training programs are short and mostly around five to seven days.

You do not need to own a drone to get trained. All required training kits including the drone are provided by the training institutes.

What is the cost of drone pilot training in India

The course is of five to seven days drone pilot training course at any of the DGCA authorised training institute.

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Drone are interesting and compact unmanned vehicles. 

The applicable are mostly upwards of Rs 65,000 and less than Rs 1 lakh. • The fees include all kits and training materials.

There are 8 DGCA authorised drone training institutes in India

Directorate General of Civil Aviation | @a2zblog.in

List of DGCA approved Flying Training Organisations:

Name of Institution Location of Institution
1) Alchemist Aviation Pvt. Ltd. Sonari Aerodrome
Jamshedpur – 831011
Jharkhand
2) Ambitions Flying Club Pvt. Ltd MS- 10, NH-91, Aligarh Airstrip
Dhanipur, Post Panethi
Aligarh – 202001
Uttar Pradesh
3) Flytech Aviation Academy A1-Kauser, Plot No.295
Road No. 10, West Maredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana
4) Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademy Fursatganj
Dist. Raebareilly – 229302
Uttar Pradesh
5) Pioneer Flying Academy Pvt. Ltd MS-10, NH-91
Dhanipur Airport, Post Panethi
Aligarh – 202001
Uttar Pradesh
6) Redbird Flight Training Academy Pvt. Ltd. Baramati Airport
Baramati
Maharashtra
7) The Bombay Flying Club Juhu Airport, Santacruz (W)
Mumbai
Maharashtra
8) Telangana State Aviation Academy Old Airport Road
Near New Bowenpally
Hyderabad – 500011
Telangana
These Institutions offer Drone Flying Training. Contact at these. | @a2zblog.in

What permits and licenses you require to fly drones

You need to get yourself and your drone registered before you can fly.

  • UIN is a unique identification number issued by DGCA for a particular Remotely Piloted Aircraft (except Nano drones).
  • You are required to obtain Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) from DGCA. It is valid for five years before you are authorised to fly a drone.
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Drone deliveries are set to begin very soon in Indian states. 

No Permission – No Take-off’

Also, you would need to comply with NPNT requirements.

NPNT or ‘No Permission – No Take-off’ is a software program. It enables every drone (except Nano) to obtain a valid permission through DigitalSky platform before operating in India.

What are the categories of drones in India and who needs to get permission to fly?

There are five categories of drones in India:

Find the details about types of drone in India in the above image and table below. | @a2zblog.in
Drone Categories Weight & Size details
1) Nano Less than or equal to 250 grams.
2) Micro Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.
3) Small Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.
4) Medium Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.
5) Large Greater than 150 kg.
There are a total of Drone Categories in India. 

Nano drones (less than 250 gm) are exempted from obtaining UIN and UAOP. You need to ensure that you do not fly it beyond 50 ft (15m) AGL.

“Also, ensure you are not flying in controlled airspace and no other manned or unmanned aircraft is flying nearby. • If operations are to be done in controlled airspace you need to apply for UIN, UAOP and your RPA must be NPNT compliant. • It is recommended to fly in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises and go through Do’s and Don’ts every time before you fly,” as per the DGCA.

All other drone operations in India require UIN and UAOP.

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Learn about UIN & UAOP below. 

​Important website to keep in mind for information about drones in India

The government has a website named DigitalSky with the link “https://digitalsky.dgca.gov.in/”. It provides all necessary information about drones and flying drones in India.

Learn to differentiate between Nano & Micro drones. | @a2zblog.in

For security clearance, you need to apply as per the form available in the CAR on RPAS.

Use eSahaj Online portal for processing security clearance applications at www.dgca.nic.in.

I am a RPAS owner, how do I go about it?

A) On Boarding

  1. Learn about RPAS which can be registered and flown in India, click here
  2. Know about regulations and exemptions applicable to Nano and Micro RPAS type, click here
  3. Learn about the documents required, click here
  4. Register as Operator
  5. Obtain UIN (Unique Identification Number) for your RPAS
  6. Associate with a trained remote Pilot (if you not a trained Pilot)
  7. Obtain UAOP (Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit)

B) Pre Flight

  1. Create and submit your flight plan 24 hrs prior to the flight
  2. Upload permission artefact on to the RPAS and you are ready to take off

C) During flight

  • Receive TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions), if any and comply

D) Post Flight

  • Upload flight logs, maintain logbooks and file occurrence reports, if any

I am a RPAS Manufacturer, how do I go about it?

A) On Boarding

  1. Learn about RPAS which, can be registered and flown in India, click here
  2. Learn about the documents required, click here
  3. Register as a Manufacturer

B) Add your RPAS Prototype

  1. Apply for listing your RPAS prototype to the platform
  2. Obtain approvals and certificates for the prototype from concerned authorities
  3. Upload scanned copies of approvals and certificates
  4. Once verified, your RPAS is listed

C) Add manufactured RPAS

  • Receive TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions), if any and comply

D) Post Flight

  • Add UUID, Serial number and Date of manufacturing for each RPAS manufactured

Frequently asked questions

1. Brief what is a RPAS and UAS?

RPAS is a layman terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA). There are three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft.

a) Remotely Piloted Aircraft
b) Autonomous Aircraft
c) Model Aircraft

You see there’s a great opportunity to earn good with the position of a Drone Pilot. | @a2zblog.in

NOTE: An aircraft and its associated elements, which are operated with no pilot on board is called as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

2. What permissions are required to operate RPAs and from where?

Roles & responsibilities of govt. stakeholders on various aspects of operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft system.

No. Stakeholder Responsibility Issuance certificates
1. Directorate General of Civil Aviation Import clearance, Issuance of UIN, Issuance & renewal of UAOP Suspension / Cancellation of UIN & UAOP in case of violations of regulations
2. Directorate General of Foreign Trade Import license
3. Ministry of Home Affairs Security clearance
4. Ministry of Defense Permission for aerial survey/imageries/ videography/ still photography over the restricted/prohibited areas on case-to-case basis
5. Indian Air Force Air Defense Clearance, Monitoring of RPA movements in the country
6. Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing, DoT Equipment Type Approval (ETA) or License for RPA
7. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security Approval of Security Programme
8. Airport Authority of India Flight Plan Approval, Monitoring of RPA movements in the country
9. Local Police Office Enforcement of violators as per applicable IPCs
Simplified table of Role and responsibilities only for you. | @a2zblog.in

3. Update, what are the requirements for import of RPAs (with or without camera) in India?

  • Any entity intending to import RPAS in India shall obtain Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing, Department of Telecommunication for operating in delicensed frequency band(s).
  • Such approval shall be valid for a particular make and model.
  • The applicant, other than Nano category, shall apply to DGCA along with ETA for import clearance.
    • Based upon the import clearance issued by DGCA, DGFT shall issue a license for import of RPAS.
Learn to differentiate between micro and nano RPAS. | @a2zblog.in

Few more technical FAQs

1. I am intending to locally purchase one RPA operating in a de-licensed frequency band, should I still require ETA from WPC Wing, DoT?

  • ETA from WPC Wing is required for all wireless equipment working in de-licensed frequency band(s) in India.
  • Ensure to get ETA from the seller or manufacturer of RPA which is required to be uploaded while applying for UIN.
Drone deliveries can be very beneficial and profitable. | @a2zblog.in

2. Tell me about UIN?

UIN is a unique identification number issued by DGCA for a particular RPA (except Nano).

3. How much is the fee for UIN & UAOP?

For UIN: – One thousand Indian Rupees (Rs.1000/-)
For fresh UAOP: – Twenty-Five Thousand Rupees (Rs.25,000/-)

4. Is delivery of items allowed under the DGCA CAR on UAS?

Not allowed as of now.

5. Disclose me, what are no-RPA zones?

Areas over which flying a RPA is prohibited/ restricted. Make sure to go through the list of RPA zones in Civil Aviation Requirements.

Thank You.
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