Drones are serious business: Transport Canada requires pilots to be certified

Jan 21, 2020

Photo: BC UAV

(Jason Wilson, second from left, with BC UAV Ground School Course students.)

Where the world saw a toy, Jason Wilson saw a versatile tool. Wilson owns BC Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (BC UAV) in the Cowichan Valley. When drone aircraft were emerging, he was immediately drawn to their potential for all kinds of practical applications. BC UAV has been an industry leader since 2015, and Wilson is still discovering practical applications for the remote-controlled aircraft. Their work focuses on industrial inspections, real estate photography, filming special events, and instruction.

Transport Canada now requires all operators to be qualified, whether they are flying for fun or for work purposes. There are Basic and Advanced exams for drone pilots, and the agency strongly recommends taking a course with a Transport Canada-compliant flight school before attempting an online exam.

BC UAV’s next three-day Ground School course runs Feb. 8 to 10, providing everything you need to develop your flying skills and succeed on the exam. BC UAV was amongst the first Transport Canada-compliant flight schools, and offers both traditional and online instruction. Wilson is one of the experts Transport Canada consulted when they were developing the new standards, and is one of the first to be qualified as a Flight Reviewer.

Ground school for UAV operators includes subjects taught to conventional pilots — meteorology and the basic physics of flight, for example. Wilson’s courses also teach UAV-specific material.

The Advanced course offers three days of instruction, including a practical component where students get real “stick time” flying a drone. And if you need to use drones for specialized operations, BC UAV can help take you to the next level: a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Wilson draws on broad experience in diverse situations, and he’s proud of the trust and confidence that major industrial and government clients place in him to fly “in some pretty nasty environments.”

“Things like industrial inspections are critically important and require a special set of flying skills,” Wilson said. “By flying these dangerous inspections, we’re saving risk to people’s lives, and that’s invaluable. It requires advanced flight skills and involves strict attention to protocols.”

Wilson is also a trusted instructor – he has trained Fisheries and Oceans staff and Canadian Coast Guard personnel and conducted their flight reviews.

“Some of my students are in the first official drone programs in their respective roles, and that speaks volumes about the quality of our training.”

With bachelor degrees in science and education, Wilson has been teaching for decades. “Whatever I get involved in, I usually end up teaching it,” he said. “Whether it’s science, music, scuba diving or unmanned aviation, I have a passion for teaching.”

Wilson’s passion pays off for those who attend his courses. Not only do they gain the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain their Transport Canada qualifications, they get more out of their flying.

“Whether they have commercial uses in mind or they’re flying just for fun, there’s no substitute for education and flight training with a qualified instructor,” he said.

BC UAV’s three-day Advanced Ground School will help prepare individuals to succeed on the Transport Canada Advance exam, and develop your flying skills. The course includes everything you need: textbook, two pilot charts, and a personal trainer drone for you to keep.

The next Ground School course runs Feb. 8 to 10. Click here for more information or to register. Additional courses will also be available throughout the year – check online for details and registration information.

 

(News Source: Cowichan Valley Citizen, BC UAV-sponsored post)

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