Staff and students at Cranfield University and its airport have completed a drone remote pilot course.
It forms part of long-term planning for integrated airspace use by manned and unmanned aircraft.
The commercial UAV remote pilot course incorporated a ground school element for flight planning – covering principles of flight, rules and regulations of the air, using aviation charts, risk assessment and meteorology.
It also integrated a flight assessment to check demonstration of basic pilot competence, including how to respond in an emergency and being able to operate safety features.
Rob Abbot, director of aviation operations at Cranfield Airport, who completed the training with some of his team, said: “Integrating UAV operations with airport activities and manned aircraft operations is going to be key in the future as we look to unleash the potential of a modernised UK airspace. This training has given myself and my team a solid understanding of UAV operations and the issues around using unmanned aircraft.”
Adding: “UAVs could potentially benefit manned aircraft operations in a number of ways, ranging from monitoring, maintenance and repair tasks to de-icing the wings of aircraft in cold weather conditions. At Cranfield, we are already looking at how we may be able to use them for runway and airfield perimeter inspections.”
The course was provided by Consortiq and was scheduled to help prepare students for the BAE UAV Swarm Challenge running again at Cranfield in March this year.
Students who complete the course will receive CAA-approved certificates for the ground school and flight assessment elements.