Logging UAV PIC Time
I received my private pilot certificate in 1992 and have been an AOPA member and recreational flyer since. I've also flown RC models for the past 15 or so years. I recently began looking into the UAV market. I noticed that postings for UAV pilot jobs typically require some minimum number of PIC hours. It is not always clear if these are manned PIC hours or remote PIC hours.

Is there such a thing as logging remote pilot in command time? Either in the reguIations or in the industry. I am certain those hours would not qualify for the purposes of manned (part 61, etc.) operations but am curious if such a thing exists for remote pilot in command purposes.

Thanks

Keith
6 Replies
Ronald Levy
1516 Posts

Harry Thomas:
I received my private pilot certificate in 1992 and have been an AOPA member and recreational flyer since. I've also flown RC models for the past 15 or so years. I recently began looking into the UAV market. I noticed that postings for UAV pilot jobs typically require some minimum number of PIC hours. It is not always clear if these are manned PIC hours or remote PIC hours.

Is there such a thing as logging remote pilot in command time? Either in the reguIations or in the industry. I am certain those hours would not qualify for the purposes of manned (part 61, etc.) operations but am curious if such a thing exists for remote pilot in command purposes.

Thanks

Keith

If you're asking what to put down on a job application, this is a question often discussed regarding airline pilot hiring, and the answer here is the same as the answer there -- you have to ask the employer what s/he wants.  Many airlines their own ideas about what they consider to be "pilot in command" time that are different than what the FAA says in Part 61, and I'd be surprised if the same isn't true for UAV operators.

​As for FAA purposes, there is no provision in Part 61 to count anything you do with a remotely piloted vehicle for any Part 61 purpose.  In fact, one USAF pilot assigned to UAV's asked the FAA if the annual qualification check he received as a drone operator counted towards the FAA 61.56 flight review requirement the same way an F-16 pilot's annual qual check did (see 14 CFR 61.56(d)(1) for that provision).  The answer was a flat "no".
Hi Harry,

It depends on what the employer is asking. If not clear, I would ask. I log all my time now (manned, 107 PIC, and my hobby time as well for myself).
It's still not any clearer a year later. I currently fly RPA's for the Air Force and none of my MQ-9 time counts towards anything in any way, shape, fashion, or form. But if I want to get a job doing this after I retire I will need to have my commercial and instrument ratings for manned aviation.
Good question,  I'll repeat what has been said before and go a little further.  At the present time there is no requirement to log your hours or required experience for sUAS, however as you pointed out most possible employers want some explanation of your experience.  I've been flying commercial drones for the past 2 years (passed the sUAS test the first day it was offered) and manage a fleet of 3 drones and 5 pilots.  While the government may not care, employers and defiantly insurance companies will.  Every year I'm asked to submit hours flown by our fleet to our insurance company along with basic mission profiles and hours logged by each pilot.  I would imagine this has less to do with individual qualifications than possible exposure, but I'm guessing they want a good tally of both to set rates and underwriting. More experience and safe hours means better rates.  I keep 2 log books: one for my sUAS hours and one for my Private Pilot time.  I figure if I ever need to "prove" the hours the log book is my only record along with flight records from the drone, if they are available. 

There is one thing to remember: the folks flying MQ-9's and Pengiun UAV's for the government or large corporations log times far in excess of anything a civilian small operator can accomplish flying aerial photography and real estate.  They log hours per mission, I log minutes. My log books are packed with entries (75+ entries) and my hours are still (by manned aircraft standards) low.  I'll keep logging my "hours", but my guess is if I wanted to get a job flying a Penguin B or Yamaha Fazer, most companies would probably not even consider me without some past experience in larger versions of sUAS or my manned experience being counted as well.                    
Hi everyone,
there are new sUAS LOGBOOKS you can purchase and they have a slightly different size/color than the traditional logbooks.  You can buy these through the usual outlets such as SPORTY'S Shop, ASA, and other online/traditional stores/FBOs, and so on.

FOLLOW LINK: http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/uas-drone-pilot-log.html
It appears that the company ASA produces these logbooks.

FOR BUSINESS OWNERS: I would be making scans of these completed pages each month and keeping a copy of the logbook in addition to the hardcopy.  As logbooks can get lost; you cannot afford to lose all of your data because the logbook fell out of the car at some job site.

---

As part of military Unmanned Aerial Operations, I realize that you might have to keep missions secret and all of that.  Perhaps you can ask your chain of command about keeping an intentionally "non-specific log book" that only addresses the "hours of operation," but not all of the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, etc. issues.  Absolutely each of the members of the military are going to have the question of future employment AFTER discharge from the military and there needs to be a method/process for you to convert your military experiences into a "certificate of completion" or something.

The next issue for anyone leaving the military is that you need to find VETERAN OWNED BUSINESSES as we will absolutely understand and respect that you have mission security issues that cannot be shared.

The other option is that you START YOUR OWN COMPANY and not work for others.  Therefore, you don't need to prove your experience to anyone else.

If someone shows me a DD-214 and they have a MOS or an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC)(which is the same type of job code as a MOS, but only used for the USAF); then I will not be asking for log-book entries.

Many states in the USA have a "state list of Veteran owned companies" and I would urge any/all current soldiers to be considering their job options after separation/discharge. 

I own a brand new company, Astronautic Spaceflight Training and Research Organization (ASTRO), LLC.  My first goal will be (once I have things going for the business) to FIRST HIRE FELLOW VETERANS.  I would love working with Veterans who worked on multi-million dollar systems because you can impart skills and knowledge (as your separation allows), to make my business better, stronger, and more effective.

Please know that there are opportunities when you leave the military; but start looking a year before your discharge.  Start looking NOW.

CURRENT SOLDIERS/Veterans: consider joining any of the following groups that might apply for your military experience:
1. American Legion
2. Veterans of Foreign Wars
3. Vietnam Veterans (has various specialized groups)
4. There are Post-911 groups of Veterans I might not even know about.
5. AmVets
6. GoodWill (they help Veterans too)
7. Disabled American Veterans
8. Department of Veterans Affairs

Each of these groups have online and traditional newsletters and some of them have classified advertisements where you could place an ad saying, I am leaving the military on XYZ date and my background includes Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations...then see who reads the advertisements.  Furthermore, there might be others already advertising they are wanting someone with your skills!

Best wishes everyone,
Brennan

Hon. Brennan J. Callan, Col.
Aeronautical Scientist / Underwater Archaeologist
Astronautic Spaceflight Training and Research Organization (ASTRO), LLC. 

 

Brennan Callan:
Hi everyone,
there are new sUAS LOGBOOKS you can purchase and they have a slightly different size/color than the traditional logbooks.  You can buy these through the usual outlets such as SPORTY'S Shop, ASA, and other online/traditional stores/FBOs, and so on.

FOLLOW LINK: http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/uas-drone-pilot-log.html
It appears that the company ASA produces these logbooks.

FOR BUSINESS OWNERS: I would be making scans of these completed pages each month and keeping a copy of the logbook in addition to the hardcopy.  As logbooks can get lost; you cannot afford to lose all of your data because the logbook fell out of the car at some job site.

---

As part of military Unmanned Aerial Operations, I realize that you might have to keep missions secret and all of that.  Perhaps you can ask your chain of command about keeping an intentionally "non-specific log book" that only addresses the "hours of operation," but not all of the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, etc. issues.  Absolutely each of the members of the military are going to have the question of future employment AFTER discharge from the military and there needs to be a method/process for you to convert your military experiences into a "certificate of completion" or something.

The next issue for anyone leaving the military is that you need to find VETERAN OWNED BUSINESSES as we will absolutely understand and respect that you have mission security issues that cannot be shared.

The other option is that you START YOUR OWN COMPANY and not work for others.  Therefore, you don't need to prove your experience to anyone else.

If someone shows me a DD-214 and they have a MOS or an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC)(which is the same type of job code as a MOS, but only used for the USAF); then I will not be asking for log-book entries.

Many states in the USA have a "state list of Veteran owned companies" and I would urge any/all current soldiers to be considering their job options after separation/discharge. 

I own a brand new company, Astronautic Spaceflight Training and Research Organization (ASTRO), LLC.  My first goal will be (once I have things going for the business) to FIRST HIRE FELLOW VETERANS.  I would love working with Veterans who worked on multi-million dollar systems because you can impart skills and knowledge (as your separation allows), to make my business better, stronger, and more effective.

Please know that there are opportunities when you leave the military; but start looking a year before your discharge.  Start looking NOW.

CURRENT SOLDIERS/Veterans: consider joining any of the following groups that might apply for your military experience:
1. American Legion
2. Veterans of Foreign Wars
3. Vietnam Veterans (has various specialized groups)
4. There are Post-911 groups of Veterans I might not even know about.
5. AmVets
6. GoodWill (they help Veterans too)
7. Disabled American Veterans
8. Department of Veterans Affairs

Each of these groups have online and traditional newsletters and some of them have classified advertisements where you could place an ad saying, I am leaving the military on XYZ date and my background includes Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations...then see who reads the advertisements.  Furthermore, there might be others already advertising they are wanting someone with your skills!

Best wishes everyone,
Brennan

Hon. Brennan J. Callan, Col.
Aeronautical Scientist / Underwater Archaeologist
Astronautic Spaceflight Training and Research Organization (ASTRO), LLC. 

 

Just curious, what is your military background?  Also, what exactly does your company do?  Your post about hiring aviation professionals here caught my attention but the details are pretty vague.  I looked you up on LinkedIn to find out more about your company and all I could see was a bunch of gibberish, cut and pasted job descriptions, and no history of military service or of education other than you attending a seminar or two at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University which doesn't count as accredited education hours from that institution.  Would you mind elaborating on your service since you sign your posts as Colonel?  It's nice to know as a fellow Veteran what exactly you're offering in your company and what the background of the person who own's / operates the business is.  Are you a Judge or state / federal official as well?  Hon. is the improper form of address for oneself when placing your signature.  And the word "The" always precedes it in the English language.  As a person with that title I'm sure you already knew that though.