Four pilots have opened a new drone training school called UAV Air in the UK to help people learn how to fly unmanned aircraft safely and legally. 

UAV Air, developed in partnership with drone operators Cloud12 and UAViate, will run a series of £1,150 - £1,500 courses this autumn that are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

Stock photo of a drone ©iStock/Malifor
Stock photo of a drone ©iStock/Malifor

There has been a surge in the number of drone-related accidents in recent months, with a number of drone hobbyists coming close to causing major incidents by flying their UAVs around airports like Heathrow and over busy flight paths. 

Pilots from the US have reported 650 close calls with drones this year and in the UK there have been seven near-misses between planes and drones in the last year. 

The UK government realises the seriousness of the issue and the Department for Transport last week announced that it is introducing new rules designed to stop drones from flying in built-up areas, which could result in dangerous drone pilots hit with fines of up to £2,500.

UAV Air director and A320 pilot Will Coldwell said: “The commercial drone industry is very new and growing at a phenomenal rate so there is a real need to provide formal training, by experienced instructors to accepted aviation guidelines. We have set out to do just this with UAV Air and have already seen phenomenal interest in our courses, which begin this month.”

The UAV Air cofounders flew commercial airlines across some of the busiest airspaces in the world before become drone experts, flying UAVs across Hollywood movie sets. Collectively, the training team has more than 40 years of flying experience, 20,000 commercial flying hours logged and eight-years first-hand experience in the civilian drone industry.

Aspiring commercial drone pilots can choose from a total of four UAV Air courses, with a flight assessment and conversion course available for those already in possession of a theoretical qualification.

Course content is structured to equip pilots with a strong technical, theoretical and practical understanding. Students are taught the theory and flight assessment standards necessary to fly drones commercially in the UK.

The first courses will take place in Berkshire, Staffordshire and East Yorkshire throughout September and October.