UAViate, a drone consultancy group in the U.K., says it is lobbying to change public perceptions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by launching an academy to teach cadets how to build, fly and race next-generation drones.
UAVs have drummed up an influx of negative press over the past few months, explains UAViate, which gives the example of a UAV that was spotted near a plane at London’s Heathrow airport in July, as well as investigations into invaded privacy.
While this negative publicity is not entirely unjustified, UAViate says, the company is on a mission to remind Brits that drones can be incredibly useful.
The newly commissioned Hedge End drone academy will encourage the local community to get involved and gain a better understanding of UAVs and their many uses. An academy training program has been developed with the support of Southampton International Airport and RadioC, a supplier of UAV parts.
The curriculum will teach cadets a range of core skills, including how to build and fly drones safely, how to accurately record and log flying hours, how to obey the rules of the air, and how to be a responsible pilot.
In launching the academy, UAViate will be helping the local squadron to fulfill key objectives of the Air Training Corps. The program will promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force (RAF), as well as provide training that lends itself to RAF services.
“We are thrilled to be working with UAViate, who will provide training for our cadets which will be useful in both the services and civilian life,” says Lee Barfoot, commanding officer of 2428 Squadron. “It’s great that an aviation company has such an interest in the community and is actively encouraging youngsters to take an interest in drone technology.”