Companies Like DroneBase Are Paying People to Pilot Drones for Commercial Aerial Photography
DroneBase and Other Drone Piloting Services Companies
A recent image of downtown Panama taken by a DroneBase pilot (Courtesy of DroneBase)


Having fun flying your neighbor’s drone in the field next to your house? Get your own and you can turn that hobby into a career.

DroneBase, a company launched by a software engineer Eli Tamanaha and combat vet/drone expert Dan Burton, is a standout in the burgeoning drone services industry. Their concept is fairly simple: businesses (like real estate and construction companies) are in constant need of aerial images and video. So who better to provide them with professional-grade assets than drone pilots?

Operating in 50 states and 30 countries, DroneBase has created its Pilot program for amateurs and experts alike. Interested pilots can pick “missions” in the company’s app database (there are 1 million or so), fly their drone over the target area and get the work done (instructions for each mission are included), upload those assets for their business clients, and get paid. It’s that simple. Burton recently told TechCrunch that he pays some pilots as much as $50,000/year. The average mission length? Fifteen minutes.

DroneBase and Other Drone Piloting Service Companies
A look at the DroneBase ‘mission’ app (Courtesy of DroneBase)


The only requirements are you (a) need to be 18 years of age or older and (b) need to own a drone. Lastly, you need to make sure that you’re located in one of DroneBase’s eligible areas.

Obviously, DroneBase is not alone in this emerging market: Other companies with similar services are competing for market share. According to Reuters, 3D Robotics last year launched a drone surveying service for construction companies. It will have to compete with like-minded startups such as DroneDeploy and Airware. Also, as we’ve recently noted, Amazon has its sights set on drone warehouses and deliveries, though startups like Zipline will look to elbow their way into the sky, too.

Below, watch a video of a DroneBase “pano” mission to figure out if you have what it takes.



—RealClearLife Staff