How to become a drone pilot in India

India needs at least 10,000 drones by 2024

Last-mile delivery is the most demanding link in the supply chain, accounting for more than 50% of total transportation costs. To overcome last-mile delivery inefficiencies, startups in India are focusing on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In the future, food, medicine and even pizza could be transported by drones. 

Several companies have begun testing drone deliveries, including Amazon. Last year, Swiggy partnered with Garuda Aerospace to use drones to deliver food to Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR. In December, digital health platform 1mg launched a pilot project to deliver medicines and diagnostic samples in Dehradun. Arunachal Pradesh is also using drones to deliver vaccines.

Drones are widely used in many industries, but not everyone can fly a drone. A license is required to operate drones for commercial purposes. 

In December 2022, India’s Federal Communications and Broadcasting Minister, Anurag Thakur, said that by 2024, India would need at least 100,000 drone pilots. Recent developments in this field have paved the way for a new career opportunity – drone pilot .

How to become a drone pilot in India?

pilot license 

A pilot license is required to fly small, micro, medium, large or heavy commercial drones. The first step to becoming a drone pilot is to train and obtain a drone license from an Indian institution issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). 

The training modules and methods offered by the DGCA and the license are available online. And the actual training and testing is done by the drone schools approved by the Civil Aviation Administration. Pilots are trained in radiotelephony (RT) techniques, flight planning, ATC procedures, and regulations specific to their operating environment.

Currently, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Assam currently have 41 DGCA Authorized Pilot Training Organizations (RPTOs) in the country.

You do not need to own a drone to register. In fact, everything, including school supplies, is provided by the respective schools.

Eligibility and fees

You must be 18 years old and under 65 years old to participate in the program. In addition, the qualification must be at least level 10. In addition, the candidate must undergo the medical examination required by the Civil Aviation Authority and the educational examination of the relevant government agency. 

Fees range from INR 30,000 to INR 100,000 depending on the school you attend. The length of the course also depends on the type of drone you are training with; However, most courses can be completed in two to three months.

What do you want ?

Thakur said that India will need 100,000 drone pilots by 2024, showing that the demand for drone pilots in India is huge. “The monthly salary of a drone pilot is around INR 30,000 after two to three months of training,” said Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Real estate, agriculture, construction, film industry and insurance are some of the areas where drones are used. In recent years, the Indian government has also actively supported the development of this industry and plans to make India a hub for drone technology. In a big push for tech, Finance Minister Nirmala Siharam  announced the Shakti drone

Senthil Kumar, Director of the Center for Aerospace Research (CASR) at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), said the demand for drone pilots in India has increased over the past two years.

Furthermore, the drone training and education services market is expected to reach $12 million by 2022 and $349 million by 2030. According to DigitalSky, the one-stop portal for all drones launched by the DGCA, there are currently only 2,179 registered drone pilots in the country. 

Indian drone market 

The drone market in India is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Scindia said last year that sales of the Indian drone industry will increase from Rs 800 billion to Rs 120-150 billion by 2026. Earlier this year, the General Department of Foreign Trade decided to ban import foreign drones to promote domestic production. 

According to EY-FICCI Report, ” Make India a Global Drone Hub”

In addition, by 2023, the number of approved drone schools in the country will increase. Kumar said about 50 drone pilot training centers will be established in Tamil Nadu.

Drone schools are expected to open in other states of the country. Last year, the Goa government announced its intention to establish a drone school in the state.