Drones are now part of our lives. Did you know 86% of drone usage is dominated by the construction industry? Yes, no longer are cinematographers and amateur photographers the biggest consumers of this wonderful new technology. As the technology improves, so does the price point. Many even quite small drones such as the mid-sized DJI Matrice 220 series can cost upwards of HK$200,000 with its two cameras. Whilst drones (or UAVs) are becoming safer with obstacle avoidance technology, many people forget about learning to fly. As an analogy, the Airbus A380 is the safest vehicle in the world. How safe would it be if you put the average Jane or Joe behind the wheel without training? That is why Scottcopters, the only commercial Drone Academy in Asia has met with such success in meeting marketing demands. All responsible corporations cannot afford to have their reputations marred with sloppy piloting skills and costly accidents. It is time to realize that drone pilots are just that – pilots; and should be trained and respected accordingly. Training involves two full days in the classroom ending with a multiple-choice closed book exam. Once this has been passed, pilot candidates go on to write their organization’s Operations Manual. There is a template for this and it shows their CEO, the regulator (CAD in Hong Kong) and most importantly their insurers how they will operate and what they will do in case of emergencies. Once the manual is complete and refined, the candidates will go on to undergo a tough Flight Operation Assessment which includes 12 flight tasks as well as an all-important pre-site survey where they have to assess a specific location and whether it is safe to fly and operate there. Once all these tasks have been done, the investment in time, money, practice and yes more practice will come to fruition and the pilot candidate will be awarded with the CDP-C™ or the Certified Drone Pilot – Commercial A mark that not only is the pilot safe to operate but treats his clients with respect and service quality; offering them advice on how to complete all their aerial needs. Sorry helicopters, it’s time to move over!