The Unmanned Safety Institute (USI), a provider of remote pilot training and certification to individuals, organizations and enterprises, has launched a Professional Remote Operator (PRO) certification.
According to the institute, the PRO certification program is designed to offer a credential to elite drone pilots who would like to differentiate themselves from other remote pilots who hold just a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
USI says the specific prerequisites for a remote pilot to earn a PRO certification include as follows:
• Learn – Meet all educational requirements that match the level of rating.
• Earn – Achieve the appropriate airmen certification from the FAA or equivalent civil aviation authority.
• Practice – Hone remote pilot skills by building flight hours and experience.
• Promote – Be an active member of the safety community, taking on higher levels of responsibility and continuing to learn through professional development.
In addition to demonstrating proficiency through documented flight hours, all PRO applicants must complete at least 150 hours of educational units in aeronautical knowledge areas such as crew resource management, aeronautical decision-making and other subjects relating to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flight safety.
USI says the “learn” requirements can be met online through its Small UAS Safety Certification or in person through its partnerships with colleges and universities. PRO certificate holders must also earn four continuing education units (CEUs) on an annual basis to ensure they are up-to-date on changes in the industry. CEUs may be obtained through various workshops, education programs, industry trade shows and more, says USI.
USI has announced that SkySkopes, a UAS company with a team of drone pilots based in Grand Forks, N.D., is the first company to have its remote pilots earn a PRO certification.
“Certifications such as PRO from the Unmanned Safety Institute set SkySkopes apart,” comments Matt Dunlevy, president and CEO of SkySkopes. “With the ever-changing state of the UAS industry, complex new use cases for UAS presenting themselves every day, and [beyond visual line of sight operations] looming, continuing education and certifications are a necessary framework for top-tier UAS flight operators.
“Being the launch partner for USI’s PRO initiative is extremely important to SkySkopes and our University of North Dakota-educated pilots as we continue to prove to end users that ours is a world-class UAS flight operator,” he continues. “I applaud USI for further promoting UAS safety and training throughout the industry with the advent of their PRO program.”
USI notes it offers four levels of PRO ratings dependent upon the number of hours a remote pilot has flown a UAS, ranging from 50 to 1,000, as well as the number of years in which the applicant was performing professional flight duties.