Airline pilots are worried about their jobs. So some are learning to fly drones

Austin, Texas (CNN Business)With mass layoffs at US air carriers expected this fall, airline pilots like Michelle Bishop are anticipating the unwelcome reality that pilots like herself may soon be left without stable work.”I’m just trying to fly as much as I can, while I can, because I love it,” Bishop, who has worked as…

Airline pilots are worried about their jobs. So some are learning to fly drones

Austin, Texas (CNN Business)With mass layoffs at US air carriers expected this fall, airline pilots like Michelle Bishop are anticipating the unwelcome reality that pilots like herself may soon be left without stable work.”I’m just trying to fly as much as I can, while I can, because I love it,” Bishop, who has worked as an airline pilot for more than 20 years, told CNN Business. In her recent downtime, Bishop said she spent hours scrolling through LinkedIn listings and other job sites searching for a line of work that wouldn’t force her to spend all day at a desk.One opportunity piqued her interest: Piloting drones.Aquiline Drones, a Connecticut-based startup, wants to create a gig economy for drone operators, pledging to roll out a simple smartphone app about two months from now that allows anyone with a license to take on short-term jobs, from capturing aerial footage at a wedding to snapping pictures of bridges and roadways for a public works department. Essentially, the startup wants to be like Uber or Lyft. And its founder, Barry Alexander, envisions thousands of airline pilots becoming its certified drone operators.Currently, certified drone operators are few and far between: There’s less than 200,000 in the United States. Since 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration has required drone operators to obtain certification.Aquiline’s goal is to help license new drone operators by the thousands — and most of them, said Alexander, will be former airline pilots.The company’s licensing program, called “Flight to the Future,” is slated to begin virtual classes on September 1. Anyone can sign up for the six-to-eight week training program for $1,000, and Aquiline developed a separate $800 course tailored for pilots who already understand the ins-and-outs of aviation terminology, regulations and weather monitoring. As part of the progra
Read More From Publisher