Aus­tralia’s 1st drone pilot­ing course

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - YOUTH | CAMPUS -

CAN­BERRA — The Univer­sity of Ade­laide has become Aus­tralia’s first univer­sity to gain ac­cred­i­ta­tion to of­fer a course in pro­fes­sional drone pilot­ing, in what has been de­scribed as a ma­jor step for­ward for com­mer­cial drone use in Aus­tralia.

The univer­sity has an­nounced it will of­fer an in­ten­sive, five-day course at a cost of A$3,500 ($2,660), which will al­low pro­fes­sion­als to use the drones with greater free­dom, open­ing up greater op­por­tu­ni­ties in film­mak­ing among other key in­dus­tries.

In an in­ter­view with Xinhua on July 11, Prof Lian Pin Koh from the Univer­sity of Ade­laide’s Un­manned Re­search Air­craft Fa­cil­ity said while hobby drone pi­lots might not need a li­cense to fly their ma­chines, they are re­stricted in what they are al­lowed to do.

Hav­ing a li­cense also al­lows you ... per­form more com­pli­cated or riskier tasks.” Lian Pin Koh, a pro­fes­sor from the Univer­sity of Ade­laide

“For most peo­ple who want to fly a drone for re­cre­ation, they can learn to fly the air­craft them­selves without need­ing a li­cense,” Koh says, if they “abide by a set of stan­dard op­er­at­ing con­di­tions spec­i­fied by the Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Author­ity”, like, not fly­ing above 122 me­ters.

“How­ever, the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent if a per­son wants to fly a drone for work, for ex­am­ple, to take video shots of a prop­erty for a real es­tate com­pany. In that case, this drone op­er­a­tor would need to be pro­fes­sion­ally trained by un­der­tak­ing a course like ours, and be hold­ing a Re­mote Pilot Li­cense be­fore they are al­lowed to do so.

“Hav­ing a li­cense also al­lows you seek per­mis­sion or ex­emp­tions from CASA to per­form more com­pli­cated or riskier tasks.”

Koh says that he ex­pects a wide range of peo­ple to un­der­take the train­ing con­sid­er­ing the ben­e­fits the course brings, say­ing that he has heard of in­ter­est from pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers and en­gi­neers, and ama­teur pi­lots who want to fur­ther their learn­ing.

“We ex­pect trainees from a di­verse field, from high school stu­dents who as­pire to be drone pi­lots, through pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers and videog­ra­phers, to en­gi­neers in the oil and gas in­dus­try who want to use this tech­nol­ogy in their work,” Koh says.

The pro­fes­sor says gain­ing the ac­cred­i­ta­tion is a ma­jor step for­ward for not only the univer­sity, but the Aus­tralian drone land­scape. The cour­ses are set to be­gin in Au­gust.

“When I first started on this path, col­leagues at my for­mer univer­sity thought I was wast­ing my time on toys and laughed,” Koh says. He joined the univer­sity in 2014 and made it his mis­sion op­er­at­ing drone as a re­search tool, and mak­ing stu­dents drone pi­lots.

With sup­port from bosses and staff, he’s happy “this dream is fi­nally com­ing to fruition”.

A drone in Jilin city, Jilin prov­ince, in June.

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