Amazon Hiring Drone Pilots

Amazon Drones

If you’re an aerospace engineer with experience in drones, Amazon might have a job for you.

According to a handful of recent job postings, the company’s Amazon Prime Air Team wants “flight operations and certification personnel for flight testing our UAS technologies,” including flight operations engineers and senior technical program managers.

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For flight operations engineers, desired qualifications include more than five years of lead flight experience, a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering or a similar field, experience with arranging and managing test flights, and “excellent communications skills.” Amazon is particularly interested in those candidates with experience in certifying an aircraft, a fixed-wing or rotorcraft pilot’s certificate, and formal experience in aviation safety (as a safety officer, mishap investigator, or other role).

For senior technical program managers, qualifications are a bit less flight-oriented: experience in cost/benefit analysis, delivering complex projects on-time and on-budget, and the “ability to proactively identify upcoming risks, issues, and bottlenecks.”

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According to the Financial Times, Amazon plans on testing drones in Cambridge, in the U.K.

Amazon wants to use drones to deliver packages to residential doorsteps in 30 minutes, a plan that—if successful—would bring the company closer than ever to its goal of same-day product delivery. But Amazon Prime Air faces considerable obstacles before it can send drones shooting through the skies of major cities, not the least of which is approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

“The FAA is actively working on rules and an approach for unmanned aerial vehicles that will prioritize public safety,” read a note that Amazon posted on its website after the drone project was first announced in late 2013. “Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards.”

This latest hiring spree suggests that the drone program is not a publicity stunt. The bigger question is how large Amazon wants the program to become, and if it can clear all the regulatory hurdles that stand in its way.

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