The Benefits of Working With Local Drone Pilots

If you compare the cost of working with a local drone pilot with the cost of just buying drone equipment, you might be tempted to set up your own drone flight program.

People often wonder whether it’s better to work with a local pilot, or with one they have worked with before. Our surveying needs are always at the same location, it makes sense to work with the same pilot. However, most companies have projects in different locations, even continents. Each country, region, or city (unfortunately) has its own restrictions and permits in terms of drone flights. In such cases, working with your own non-local pilots has its downsides.

A pilot that has to travel to another location cannot be as flexible when it comes to executing a flight under ideal conditions, which depends on the weather (e.g., light and wind speed), and the permit may only be valid for a few days.

If the weather conditions are suboptimal, a drone flight may have to be postponed. If your journey to the destination is long, this could also incur unnecessary travel costs. For example, a client of ours traveled by themselves to a location in Germany and encountered bad weather (snow). It was so expensive to wait for a better opportunity, in terms of time wasted and hotel costs, that they decided to travel back and hire Inflights instead.

Applying for a permit also requires familiarity with local requirements and procedures. While it is true that in theory, everybody can apply for a license in many places, it is often difficult and expensive in practice. For instance, anyone can fly in Cameroon if they go through a mountain of paperwork, but it is absurd for just one flight. In Uzbekistan, you are not even allowed to fly unless you are from an authorized company, and it is impossible to import a drone unless you have a national authorization, which only 12 companies have there.

Passing through customs with your equipment is another issue you will not encounter when working with a local pilot. For example, a company decided to buy their own drone from Europe and export it to Tanzania, but the drone was confiscated at customs for additional checks and didn’t arrive for three months. Similarly, importing a LiDAR scanner is often difficult.

Access to a local RTK license, surveying benchmarks, and familiarity with local coordinate reference systems are other reasons to work with local pilots, who are more likely to have these matters covered.

Finally, there’s an ecological and sociological benefit to employing local talent. It saves the planet and invests in local education and development.

There are enough drones for most parts of the world to have a qualified drone pilot within 50 km. It is our belief that this number will only go up.

For all these reasons, our goal is to have at least one pilot in a radius of every 50 km worldwide. This way, we can avoid any surprises when performing a flight.

The location of the pilot is not our only criterion when choosing a pilot. We always diligently check the equipment that the pilot has at their disposal.

Working with Inflights is the guarantee that you don’t have to worry about permits, equipment, the weather, or the hassle of coordinating everything from start to finish.

Moreover, Inflights will brief the pilot on the flight plan to use, and important points to look out for. This is based on years of experience from all over the world. We know exactly what to do in any circumstance. We also have an internal data checker that allows us to see if the data is correct.

In case something goes wrong, we will simply redo the mission at our own cost. Not only does Inflights provide quality assurance for your drone flight, it also has its own engineering team for raw data processing. This work is never outsourced or done automatically, but is manually completed by qualified and experienced people, then verified and inspected by even more qualified and experienced people.

With us, there are no more worries about whether the drone will pass through customs for a project, nor of flight cancellation the day before due to a missing permit. We can manage your project from A to Z.

Christos Mansinakis from Inflights

Christos Mansinakis