From Amazon package deliveries to scanning farms for increased crop yield, commercial drones are finding niches in every field.
"Many of the industrial applications of [drones] are being adopted by survey and engineering firms," said Jordan Rising, director of flight and technology at commercial drone specialists Flight Evolved. "Most of these companies are hiring pilots who can likely expect to make between $50,000 and $70,000, depending on their expertise and the equipment they are operating."
Many of the drone pilots who can command the upper salary range are ex-helicopter pilots, not novices. Weekend drone gigs, or contract work, can net $2,500 to $7,000 per job, depending on the type of role. Specialized drone job boards, like Dronebase.com, are a good place to start, says Tyler Mason of AirVuz. "Some industries (i.e. real estate) will post on the site that they're looking for pilots, and pilots can then accept the jobs from the Dronebase website."
Camera drones are being used to capture dramatic real estate videos for the residential real estate sales market, an example of growing types of paid freelance work available to drone pilots.
Payout: $2,500 to $70,000, depending on experience and expertise