Accredited drone pilot training now available in Kuching

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 14: Love things drone?

To some people, these unmanned aerial vehicles are toys. It is just a matter of buying one, maybe online, take it out of the box and fly them.


But they are not toys. In fact, non-compliance with stipulated regulations can lead to a host of problems, including deaths.

The good news is that proper drone training is now available here. HDU Drone Academy has partnered with Petrosar Academy to offer foundational and professional drone pilot training courses for operators.

At the end of the four-day course, the participants would have the knowledge and skills crucial to successfully, safely and legally launch and operate their crafts.

HDU Drone Academy chief instructor and examiner Alasdair Garrick and Petrosar Academy director Feroz Hayat Khan today inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the collaboration at a simple ceremony held at FAME International College in Jalan Song here today.

HDU, located at Brighton Square in Jalan Song, was established by a group of Sarawak autonomous flight pioneers with vast experience in the aviation and aerospace industry.

The academy has been accredited and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) as the only academy in Sarawak that can conduct ground training, flight assessment, issue Drone Operator Licence and conduct recurrent assessments in Sarawak, including strict vetting of training syllabus by CAAM.

Garrick emphasised that HDU was serious in their commitment to raising awareness about professional and safe drone operations that comply with regulations through education and training.

While noting the lack of awareness on the regulatory environments for unmanned aerial systems or drones, he said it was a worldwide issue where many governments around the world were playing catch-up now.

“We want the public and especially our students to know that a drone is not a toy that you take out and play with because non-compliance with safety regulations and the authority can lead to serious accidents that could involve fatalities. It is a serious craft as it is operating in the airspace.

“As such, it is our job and role to train people to a high standard to be able to operate (drones) safely and legally without putting anybody at risk,” he added.

Garrick pointed out that half of the work when deploying a drone did not involve flying but the planning and assessment, getting the right permission and communicating with the authority.

“It is not all about taking off and flying and having fun. A huge focus of our module is on air law, apart from basic manoeuvers, calibration and emergency procedures. These are things that people who just go buy a drone and fly and take some nice pictures never really thought of.

“We need to make sure students are aware of what to do when things go wrong. Pilots must realise that they are in a dangerous business and the need to abide by different laws and regulations,” he added.

Garrick (left) showing a drone to Feroz.

On drone activities in Sarawak, Garrick said the potential and uptake of the technology were enormous across multiple industry sectors.

“There aren’t many industries that can’t fit drones in somewhere. If you are a smart and forward-thinking company, you will be able to work out very quickly how you can utilise this technology.

“The more industry realised how they can use and apply this technology, the quicker Sarawak as a state is going to develop,” he reckoned.

HDU provides training for commercial autonomous (UAV/UAS) pilots or operators. The Academy offers Drone Operator License Training Course up to the most advanced multi-spectral mission planning and execution.

The Academy conducts training and flying with complete theoretical and practical training in accordance with International Standards and Regulatory Compliance.

With two fixed ground schools in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur that incorporate a virtual environment, HDU is poised to provide cutting edge technology and management know-how to the next generation UAV operator or pilot personnel.

Each ground school facilities include an operation control centre, specific training area, virtual arena, and real and virtual technological labs.

The modules will be conducted consecutively for four days as an integrated ground and flight training. The course content includes Malaysia Aviation Authority, Aircraft General Knowledge, Airlaw Part 1, Airlaw Part 2, Navigation, Meteorology, Airmanship (safety), Flight Training, Theory Examination and Flight Assessment.

At the end of the training, the candidates will be tested by certified examiners. Upon passing these tests, HDU shall award the candidates the Certificate of Completion and Drone Operator License, Class 1, sub 20kg, which is approved and endorsed by CAAM.

There are also streaming courses to extend to specialisation according to the industry, namely pipeline inspection, agriculture, survey and mapping, power grid transmission lines, forestry, construction, oil and gas as well as mining.

Petrosar Academy Business Development executive Ashwanie Mulliady, Fame International College chief executive officer David Chew and its assistant manager-cum-head of Academics Voon Boo Khoon, and geo-specialist Azizul Jemain were present at the MoU signing ceremony today. — DayakDaily