How to Be Aerial Survey Pilot - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

The advancement of technology has caused a dramatic increase in the demand for aerial survey pilots. This is due in part to the need for aerial photography and mapping, which requires the use of helicopters and airplanes to acquire images from the air. As a result, skilled aerial survey pilots are needed to navigate aircraft safely and accurately to capture the desired data.

aerial survey pilots must possess excellent technical knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to work independently. With the increasing demand for aerial survey pilots, companies are now offering competitive salaries and benefits packages in order to attract the highest caliber of applicants.

Steps How to Become

  1. Obtain a Commercial Pilot's License. To become an aerial survey pilot, you must first obtain a commercial pilot's license. This can be done through a certified flight school or through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  2. Obtain an Instrument Rating. This rating allows pilots to safely fly in inclement weather conditions. Pilots must pass written and practical tests to obtain this rating.
  3. Earn an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate. This certificate is required for pilots who wish to be hired by commercial airlines. It requires pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time and pass a written and practical exam.
  4. Obtain an Aerial Survey Pilot Certificate. This certificate is specific to aerial survey pilots and requires that pilots have a minimum of 250 hours of flight time. Pilots must also pass a written and practical exam in order to receive this certificate.
  5. Obtain a Job. Once you have obtained the necessary certifications, you can start looking for a job as an aerial survey pilot. This can be done through online job searches or by networking with other pilots in the field.

Aerial survey pilots must stay ahead and competent in order to remain successful in their field. They must continually update their skills and knowledge in the areas of aviation and surveying. This means taking courses to learn the latest technology and staying up to date with industry trends.

it is essential that they maintain their aircraft and equipment to the highest standards in order to ensure safe and accurate operations. Finally, they must have excellent communication skills in order to effectively manage teams and coordinate with other stakeholders. By doing all of these things, aerial survey pilots can remain competitive in the industry and remain successful.

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Job Description

  1. Operate aerial survey aircraft to capture data in support of mapping and surveying projects.
  2. Develop and maintain flight plans, checklists, and flight logs for aerial surveys.
  3. Monitor and adjust aircraft systems during flight to ensure accuracy of survey data.
  4. Troubleshoot aircraft systems and components as needed.
  5. Follow safety protocols and procedures to ensure safe and efficient operation of aircraft.
  6. Maintain communication with air traffic control, meteorological services, and other personnel as necessary.
  7. Inspect, clean, and maintain aircraft components and systems before and after each flight.
  8. Monitor and adjust onboard equipment to ensure accuracy of data collection.
  9. Analyze survey data to ensure accuracy of results.
  10. Prepare flight reports and summaries of data collected during flight.

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Knowledge of aeronautical principles, regulations, and procedures
  2. Ability to read, interpret, and follow flight plans and other navigation charts
  3. Proficiency in pre- and post-flight inspections
  4. Skill in coordinating with air traffic controllers
  5. Ability to accurately operate aircraft systems, including navigation and communications equipment
  6. Knowledge of aircraft performance capabilities and airspace regulations
  7. Proficiency in aerial photography techniques
  8. Knowledge of meteorological conditions and their effect on flight
  9. Ability to take corrective action to ensure safe operation of aircraft
  10. Skill in interpreting survey data and producing detailed reports
  11. Ability to work effectively in a team environment

Becoming an aerial survey pilot requires an extensive set of skills and knowledge. Chief among them is the ability to fly a plane safely and accurately. Pilots must also have extensive knowledge of navigation, meteorology, and other flight regulations.

Being a good communicator is essential, as pilots must stay in constant contact with air traffic controllers. the pilot must be able to read and interpret maps, charts, and GPS systems. Lastly, they must be well-versed in the operation of the aircraft they are flying and understand the different types of survey instruments used in gathering data.

All of these skills and knowledge play an essential role in ensuring a successful flight and the accuracy of the collected data.

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Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have in the aerial survey industry?
  • How have you adapted to changes in the aerial survey industry over time?
  • Are you familiar with the regulations and safety protocols related to aerial survey operations?
  • Describe your experience with the systems, hardware, and software used in aerial survey operations.
  • What processes have you employed to ensure accurate data collection and analysis during aerial survey missions?
  • How do you prioritize safety when conducting aerial survey operations?
  • How do you collaborate with other team members to ensure successful aerial survey missions?
  • Describe your experience in operating aircraft under different weather conditions.
  • What methods do you use to troubleshoot mechanical or technical issues during an aerial survey mission?
  • How have you managed the risks associated with aerial survey operations?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Flight Simulator Software. Used to simulate aerial survey piloting and practice maneuvers. (eg: Microsoft Flight Simulator)
  2. Flight Planner. Used to create optimized flight plans for aerial survey missions. (eg: SkyDemon)
  3. Drone Control Software. Used to control and monitor the flight path of unmanned aerial vehicles. (eg: DJI Pilot)
  4. Digital Mapping Software. Used to create high-resolution maps from aerial survey data. (eg: Esri ArcGIS)
  5. Metadata Collection Software. Used to collect and store metadata from aerial survey missions. (eg: Pix4D Capture)
  6. Imagery Processing Software. Used to process and analyze aerial survey imagery. (eg: Pix4D Mapper)
  7. Aerial Survey Camera Systems. Used to capture images and video from aerial survey missions. (eg: RedEdge-MX)
  8. Visual Observation Tools. Used to record visual observations during aerial survey missions. (eg: Canon EOS Rebel T7i DSLR camera)

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
  2. International Council of Air Shows (ICAS)
  3. National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA)
  4. Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA)
  5. Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
  6. Helicopter Association International (HAI)
  7. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
  8. Unmanned Aircraft Systems International (UASI)
  9. International Federation of Aerial Surveyors (IFAS)
  10. International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI)

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Common Important Terms

  1. Flight Planning. A process of preparing a plan for a flight that includes route, altitude, weather, fuel, and other considerations.
  2. Instrument Rating. A certification that allows pilots to fly in low visibility conditions using solely their aircraft's instruments.
  3. Navigation Chart. A chart used to plan a flight route, showing landmarks, navigational aids, and other features.
  4. Airspace. The area in the sky that is regulated by a governing body.
  5. Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT). An air traffic control facility that coordinates aircraft operations at airports.
  6. Aeronautical Chart. A specialized map of an area that shows airports, runways, navigational aids, airspace restrictions, and other features.
  7. Radio Navigation Aids. Devices such as VORs and NDBs that provide pilots with navigational information.
  8. Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Regulations that govern the procedures for flying in clear weather conditions.
  9. Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Regulations issued by the FAA that govern the operation of aircraft in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications are needed to become an Aerial Survey Pilot?

To become an aerial survey pilot, you must possess a valid commercial pilot's license, be instrument rated, and have several hundred hours of flight experience.

What type of aircraft do Aerial Survey Pilots usually fly?

Aerial Survey Pilots typically fly light single or twin-engine aircraft such as Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft models.

What is the typical length of a survey flight?

The typical length of a survey flight is 1 to 4 hours.

What type of equipment do Aerial Survey Pilots use?

Aerial Survey Pilots use specialized equipment such as cameras, scanners and navigation systems to collect data.

What type of data do Aerial Survey Pilots typically collect?

Aerial Survey Pilots typically collect data related to land use, topography, mineral resources, and environmental conditions.

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