Every college graduate has poured through entry level job listings that ask for “5+ years experience” and wondered, probably aloud and to his or her nagging family, “How is anyone supposed to get experience if every job already requires experience?” Listen, consider yourself lucky — consider how that conversation goes for drone pilots, whose entire industry didn’t even exist five years ago.
Amazon has open job listings for a “Flight Operations Engineer” who would be based in Cambridge, England. In the truly meaningless fashion of job boards, the job requires “5+ years of relevant aviation experience.”
The list of responsibilities mostly consist of “conducting flight tests and overseeing safe operations,” rephrased over and over again. Flight test experience of any kind, manned or unmanned, is preferred, and they want you to have a few years in a safety-specific flight role, like “Aviation Safety Officer.”
In fact, the word “safety” is plastered almost paranoiacally all over the listing. The word appears 13 times, more than “flight,” “unmanned” and “aviation” combined.
So why list the job in England? Drone legislation in the U.S. is backed up as the Federal Aviation Administration races to figure out how it’s going to regulate “unmanned aerial systems” (yes, that’s what they’re calling drones now). In the meantime, Amazon is reportedly testing their flight systems in a number of other countries. After all, the last thing Amazon needs right now is some hasty court decision that sets a precedent for their delivery service being illegal.
There may be only a small, hyper-qualified niche of aviators ready for this listing, but there are already more than a dozen colleges paving the way with drone-based majors that can land graduates six-figure salaries right out of school.
Or they could just hire a drone racer like Charpu, who can thread a lightning-fast quadcopter underneath a parked car, and call it a day on that whole “safety” thing.