120+ students through flight school for UAV owners

By on 18 November, 2014
UPG UAV school

Blake Whitley (Cardno Hard & Forester), Geoff Hewitt (Cardno Hard & Forester), Rick Calvert-Jackson (Technical Consultant UPG), Christopher Drummond (University of NSW) taking part in the UPG flight school.


UPG, local Trimble distributor, has proudly announced that it has had more than 120 students attend and pass its CASA certified flight school for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The five day course – which UPG claims is the quickest of its kind in Australia – takes customers through a theory and a practical component to gain their Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) certificate, which is essential to operate a UAV to undertake air work.

The flight school, run by UPG’s in house CASA-approved instructors, is open to both UPG customers and non-customers and has been held in multiple locations nationwide since launching in October 2013.

“Launching this flight school last year was a huge milestone for us,” said Paul Standen, geospatial segment manager for UPG. “After 125 years in the survey industry, we pride ourselves on the level of expertise, service and support we offer, so, because the process to gain the necessary certification to fly a UAV can be complicated, we wanted to make this much quicker and easier for people.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the feedback we’re getting and that we have been able to help so many people, in many different industries through the process. Our low student to instructor ratio means students gain excellent experience during the flight school to pass their RPAS qualification. We continue to fill up our courses right through to the end of this year and into next.”

David Hobby, UPG’s Chief Pilot who runs the flight school admits there is a lot of misinformation out there about certification.

“There are three things that a company needs to be able to fly UAVs – a company Operators Certificate (OC), a qualified Chief Pilot (named on the OC) and individuals with RPAS Level One certification from CASA (in a smaller company it may only be one person who is Chief Pilot and is RPAS certified).

“By attending and passing UPG’s flight school and passing your Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency, you will receive your RPAS Level One certification. Once you have this, you are eligible to apply to be the Chief Pilot for your company for which an additional interview with CASA is required.” Hobby explains.

UPG can also assist companies to go through the OC process with CASA.

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