Drone Pilot JobsDrones to be gradually integrated into operations …as drone academy offers private and commercial qualifications

November 3, 2021by helo-10

Edgar Brandt

As technology for unmanned flying vehicles evolves, the expectation is that these drones will gradually be integrated more into business and government operations. To capitalise on this expectation, the Namibian Drone Academy was established at the end of last year to provide training on how to safely operate these unmanned flying vehicles and to operate responsibly within the country’s airspace. 

“In the coming years, we will see more and more the impact of drones on our life. Probably it will have the same impact as when cars came into our lives. A farmer can use the drone for security purposes, facilitating the daily job such as checking waterholes to name a few. For government and police, the industry already provided good solutions to assist them. Think about search and rescue missions, having a third eye in the sky when patrolling and even assistance in anti-poaching. In the coming years, we will see an increased impact of drones in transport. Namibia has some quite seasonally remote villages and a drone can be used in emergencies when needed to reach these villages,” explained founder and owner of the Namibian Drone Academy, Pascal Supply. 

He added that the impact of drones can significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency within a company or organisation. In order to do this, the academy aims to train more Namibians to become skilled drone operators and to add value for their respective businesses or organisations. Also, Supply is convinced of the massive potential drone use can have as the list of functions it can adequately perform is growing rapidly. This includes functions such as wildlife monitoring, overall surveillance, safety, movie and photography projects as well as documenting tourism development. 

Said Supply: “This technology is moving fast. We train ourselves on a constant basis so we can offer new training in the future. Upcoming new trainings are fixed-wing and FPV training.” It is worth mentioning that all Namibian Drone Academy’s instructors have a qualified certificate for commercial drone operation and this in combination with a minimum amount of flying hours represents solid experience. 

“Within our ATO (Approved Training Organisation) we train ourselves with extra courses such as instructional techniques, dangerous goods, and how to improve our training for the students.”

Supply explained that for drone pilot training clients can choose between two courses. The first is the private Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) certificate. This course is set up for the farmer who wants to fly a drone on his farm and entails a brief theoretical aspect after which emphasis is placed on the practical part.

The second course is for the commercial RPAS certificate, which is for people who want to fly drones with a commercial objective. This course involves a theoretical part after which the students write a test. Only when the student passes the test do the instructors commence with the practical portion. “When the student is ready, they can do the final skills test. The student will also have to obtain also a Radio & Telephony certificate as well as a certificate of English proficiency,” Supply explained. The academy currently utilizes the Mavic 2 Pro (quadcopter) with two controllers whereby the instructor, with the main controller, can take over the flight at any time. 

“We see that our students are more relaxed in the beginning. It’s a step-by-step process where the instructor follows the progress of the student to become a confident drone pilot who will carry out a safe drone flight,” said Supply. 

He concluded that before buying a drone, locals can contact the academy for advice on which drone will be the perfect fit for their requirements.