Academy gearing for drone boom in Namibia

As drone technology takes off in Namibia, a training school in the country hopes it has done enough to take advantage of the anticipated drone boom, ready with comprehensive solutions on how users can operate unmanned aerial vehicles safely and responsibly within the country’s airspace. 

The Namibian Drone Academy was founded by Pascal Supply, a passionate photojournalist who has been in the business for many years, and who got hooked on drone photography since he first got his hands on one. Over the last 4 years, Pascal has worked closely with Namibian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to start up a drone school; and that dream came to life towards the end of last year.

he says the ultimate goal is to help upcoming drone pilots get skilled in drone aviation, making the industry much safer and more productive.

“Each drone piloting course caters to a specific kind of individual, interest and goal,” Pascal says. “Some may be casual drone pilots, others interested in boosting their creative ability while others are looking for specialised commercial applications. If you fall into any of these categories, you would definitely benefit from our courses.”

The academy’s instructors are all qualified trainers who acquired certifications in commercial drone operations. Pascal explains that initially, the academy will be offering two courses: the first is the private Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) certificate, designed for private users, like farmers looking to fly a drone over their crops or livestock. It entails a brief theoretical aspect after which emphasis is placed on the practical part.

The second course is for the commercial RPAS certificate, which is for people who want to fly drones for commercial purposes – operators who wants to offer drone technology as a service to clients. This course involves a theoretical part after which the students write a test.

Only when the student passes the test do the instructors commence with the practical portion.

“In the coming years, we will see more and more the impact of drones on our life. Probably it will have the same impact as when cars came into our lives. A farmer can use the drone for security purposes, facilitating the daily job such as checking waterholes to name a few. For government and police, the industry already provided good solutions to assist them.

“Think about search and rescue missions, having a third eye in the sky when patrolling and even assistance in anti-poaching. In the coming years, we will see an increased impact of drones in transport. Namibia has some quite seasonally remote villages and a drone can be used in emergencies when needed to reach these villages.”

The Namibian government recently received a drone to assist with its policing operations, and just a few days ago, we covered a story where the fisheries ministry was looking into the idea of deploying the drones help with combating fish pirates in the Namibian Exclusive Economic zone along the south Atlantic Ocean.

Pascal is convinced of potential for drone technology to do all this and more; like wildlife monitoring, overall surveillance, safety, movie and photography projects as well as documenting tourism development. 

“Drone technology is moving fast. We train ourselves on a constant basis so we can offer new training in the future. Upcoming new trainings will be for fixed-wing and FPV training. Within our ATO (Approved Training Organisation) we train ourselves with extra courses such as instructional techniques, dangerous goods, and how to improve our training for the students.”

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