All Collections
Frequently Asked Questions by Pilots
How do we calculate our pilots' prices?
How do we calculate our pilots' prices?

Discover how our auto-price calculator works to get more jobs as a drone pilot

Cezary Woźniak avatar
Written by Cezary Woźniak
Updated over a week ago

A key ingredient that makes Inflights work is the automated pricing engine, which provides clients with quotes quickly. In order to do that, Inflights asks drone pilots to provide the information needed to estimate the pilot price for a specific project.

This is why we ask our drone pilots:

  1. The day rates for the usage of their equipment, such as the drone, payload, and GNSS receiver. This day rate is the price you would expect for a full day of work (approximately 8 hours).

  2. The location of their base of operations for potential travel costs.

  3. The airspaces where they are allowed to operate.

Pilots who provide this information will receive flight proposals from our automated pilot search engine when we have a well-suited project near them.

The Pilot Price Calculation

Our pricing calculator then creates proposals for the pilots by:

  1. Estimating how long it would take to fly a certain area with a specific flight plan and drone.

  2. Multiplying the estimated duration with the day rate for pilot's equipment.

  3. If applicable, calculating the amount of Ground Control Points (GCPs) needed, and using the day rate of the GNSS receiver to calculate the cost.

  4. Calculating the costs for the permit.

  5. Calculating the costs for the travel distance.

  6. Adding it all up to create the total price.

This can be summarized using the following formula:

  Estimated Time for Flying * Day Rate for Drone 
+ Estimated Time for GCPs * Day Rate for GNSS Receiver
+ Travel Cost
+ Permit Cost
= Total Pilot Price

Important note for small flights: Inflights always uses a minimum price threshold, so that you don't get an unreasonably low price for small flights. For instance, we assume it takes a similar amount of time to fly 0.1 or 0.3 hectares, because the setup time is the same and the flight time is not a major factor for these small projects.


Imagine there's a client that wants to install solar panels on a small terrain and needs to get a digital twin of the terrain beforehand.

Inflights will search for pilots nearby the project that have added the appropriate equipment and their location info. In this case, the engine would look for pilots with at least an RTK drone and a GNSS receiver. (If the terrain is larger, the engine may prefer a fixed-wing drone.)

In this example, let's assume there is a nearby pilot with a Phantom 4 RTK drone and an Emlid Reach RS2 rover to measure Ground Control Points. The engine will create a proposal for this pilot.

To create the proposal, we go through the formula as discussed above.

Price for Flying

A flight plan is selected for this project, and Inflights estimates how long it takes to perform the flight(s) using a Phantom 4 RTK. This duration might be half a day, and if the pilot entered a day rate of €800 for their drone, then the cost of flying will be estimated to be €400.

Price for GCPs

Inflights then estimates how long it would take to lay down 7 GCPs which are required to ensure optimal accuracy. In this example, the engine might estimate 0.1 days. If the pilot entered €600 as the day rate for their Emlid Reach RS2, then the cost for the GCPs would be €60.

Price for Travel

If the pilot is further away than the maximum non-compensated distance that they indicated on their profile (e.g., 100km), then we will also take their desired compensation into account.

For example, let's assume the distance is 120km and they get compensated €0.30 per km, then the compensation will be 20km * €0.30 * 2 = €12.

Note that we usually prevent travel costs by finding pilots closer to the area.

Price for Permit

If we detect that the project's airspace requires additional authorization, which may carry additional costs in certain countries, then we also include this in the price.

For this example, no additional authorization will be needed.

Total Pilot Price

When we sum up all of the above, then the final proposed price for the pilot is €472 (= €400 + €60 + €12).

We hope that this article helps to understand how our pricing system works and why it's important to keep your information up-to-date.

If you have any questions let us know.

Fly safe,
The Inflights Team

Did this answer your question?