Since the middle of March of 2020, when lock down and quarantine measures began in response to the coronavirus pandemic, retailers throughout the United States of America have suffered major financial blows. Unemployment rates are down at around 13%, the highest the rates have been since the Great Depression. Still, some retailers who support e-commerce have seen a steady incline in product sales. While stuck at home people have been focused on home and self improvement projects. Online sales of home improvement products like decorations, furniture, and tools have gone up. In an effort to remain healthy online sales of athletic equipment and apparel have also increased. Another huge market increase has been the rise in sales of cleaning supplies and, of course, masks. But perhaps one of the biggest industry-wide increase trends has been in drones.
For quite some time now, market analysts have been predicting that drones will become the next big thing, sure to be one of the fastest growing markets of the next decade. In light of the coronavirus, drone advancement has not slowed down. The number one thing that had been holding back drones has been regulatory issues. However, drones have proven themselves to be crucial tools in assisting people in a world facing a pandemic. Now experts are predicting that drone sales will increase to over $12 billion within the next year. The drone industry will also create more than 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025, a huge relief when looking at the astronomical unemployment rates.
In preparation for the growing employment opportunities presented by drones, a company based out of Hartford, CT has developed a new program to prepare those looking to enter the drone industry. In 2016, Barry Alexander, a former airline pilot, founded Aquiline Drones. Along with other aviation industry experts like pilots, engineers, and even former military generals, Aquiline Drones has developed a hybrid cloud to support drone operations. They recently acquired an aircraft manufacturer to begin developing a fully American made drone as well. But one of their most impressive accomplishments is that they are the fourth US company to have been granted by the FAA a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate.
“A key thing to remember is that drones are not gadgetry, but aircraft, and if we want to gain the public’s trust, we must ensure safety first,” said Alexander. With the Part 135 license, Aquiline is now in the same ranks as Google’s Alphabet Wing, UPS, and Amazon Prime Air in their capabilities to use drones on a broader scale. As explained by a spokesperson for the FAA, “Part 135 certification is currently the only path for small drones to carry the property of another for compensation beyond visual line of sight.” This will become critical for the drone industry to reach the next step in situations such as parcel delivery or inspections.
With their in house drones and cloud service, and now a Part 135, Aquiline has positioned themselves to become leaders in the American drone industry. Alexander and his team began to question how they as a successful drone business could shape the drone industry in a post COVID-19 world. The field of aviation has been particularly hit hard as people have canceled travel plans for the foreseeable future. Aquiline recognizes that there will be countless members if the aviation field and those curious about drones who will be looking for jobs in the drone field. As the drone field is set to reach record highs in the coming years, Aquiline has developed a program called Flight to the Future.
Flight to the Future is a training program that will set participants up to be highly qualified and licensed drone operators. As explained on Aquiline’s website, “AD is offering Flight to the Future, a collection of carefully tailored ground and flight training courses, along with an online curriculum and business formation that allow you to start your own professional UAV business. We want you to join us in this opportunity to be ready for the future. Be your own boss, work from a safe environment and have your own hours. You have to adapt but you can do it under your terms. This is a chance to get out of unemployment, leave the present and reinvent yourself for the high technology future.” Learning how to safely operate a drone and be regulatory compliant is only one part of achieving success in the drone industry. Aquiline Drones plans on going beyond that by teaching individuals how to apply those skills in a business model that not only benefits them, but the clients they will one day serve. So while the majority of the world is still observing social distancing and stay home parameters, many are looking forward to a future of health and economic stability. Drones will clearly be one of the means to insure this stability.