A British owned drone consultancy group is lobbying to change public perceptions with the launch of a brand new academy at a Southampton Air Cadet squadron. Pioneered by UAViate, the Hedge End drone academy will teach cadets how to build, fly and race next generation drones.
Drones have drummed up an influx of negative press over the past few months, with government officials even toying with the idea of banning the airborne devices altogether. In July an incident at Heathrow airport saw an unidentified UAV jeopardise the safety of an Airbus A320 carrying 180 passengers. An official report released by the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that the drone posed a ‘serious risk of collision.’ Investigations have been conducted into the cases of invaded privacy while the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have been forced to answer questions concerning the use of drones for commercial and national security purposes. Wide felt concern has led to an official inquiry by the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee which will examine the use of civilian remotely piloted aircraft systems and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Responding to the incidents Nick Aldworth, Met Chief Inspector said, “We have undoubtedly seen this technology flown in controlled airspace, we have undoubtedly seen it used to harass people, and we have seen it flown in contravention of the air navigation orders, so I think that concern arises by the fact that there is clearly a means of offending that we do not seem to be able necessarily to address quickly.”
While this negative publicity is not entirely unjustified UAViate is on a mission to remind Brits that drones can be incredibly useful. As the UK’s leading drone operations and consultancy provider the company is committed to responsible operations and the upkeep of rigorous safety standards at all times. At the core of its strategy to combat negative press is a commitment to educating society in a positive way. The newly commissioned Hedge End drone academy will encourage the local community to get involved and gain a better understanding of drones and their many uses.
An academy training programme has been developed with the support of Southampton International Airport and RadioC, the UK’s leading low cost supplier of multicopter, drone and quadcopter 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. The ultimate aim is to enter a team into FPV racing events and eventually send cadets to represent the squadron at national drone racing competitions.
In launching the academy UAViate will be helping the local squadron to fulfil key objectives of the Air Training Corps. The dynamic programme will promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force (RAF) as well as provide training which lends itself to RAF services.
Lee Barfoot, Commanding Officer of 2428 Squadron said, “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. 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.”
To find out more about UAViate the upcoming launch of the Southampton Air Cadet academy training programme, visit: www.uaviate.co.uk