Saturday, October 20, 2018

Newly certified drone pilots share why they signed up for the city’s first drone-flying course

Last month, Ashish Jadhav, 35, a merchant navy officer and a musician in the city, signed up for the first batch of the drone-flying course launched at Pimpri Chinchwad Polytechnic.
Eleven participants had enrolled in what was an intensive five-day session on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. After completing the training, Jadhav, who is skilled at playing multiple musical instruments, is confident that he can film a music video for his rock band, Rudraxsha, with the help of a drone.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation made an announcement to legalise the use of UAVs in the country. The government’s Drone Regulations 1.0 policy, which will be implemented from December 1, is set to sanction the use of UAVs in areas such as disaster relief, agriculture and health, as well as the logistics and supply chain industry. “That’s precisely why drone pilots will be in demand in years to come,” points out Mayank Soni, 42, founder of Drone Tech India, which has collaborated with Pimpri Chinchwad Polytechnic to offer the city’s only course on flying drones.
Drone Tech India’s module follows the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) guidelines for drones. The first batch was familiarised with topics such as DGCA’s regulations, basic principles of flight, Air Traffic Control’s (ATC) procedures and radio telephony and weather and meteorology.
“Their course is detailed, which is important because piloting UAVs involve many factors other than simply flying the craft,” says Jadhav. Above all, a pilot can’t afford to lose focus.
“Losing focus could lead to accidents. Drones manufactured by DJI have four fastmoving propellers. A craft like that could perhaps even damage property,” he cautions.
Rishil Soni, 26, a jeweller from Gujarat was one of Jadhav’s batchmates. He travelled all the way from Gujarat to Pune to attend the training.
“I want to try out drone photography,” says the jeweller, who saw the advertisement calling out to aspiring drone pilots to Pune on a social media platform.
Industry experts are confident that the drone policy will encourage companies to use UAVs for various purposes. It has been reported that drones are currently being used to monitor crop health at a farm in Karnataka and that the state government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore to kick-start a pilot drone project, in agriculture, in a village in Haveri district. Indian logistics companies are also planning to deploy UAVs to deliver goods, which is projected to reduce transportation cost.
20/10/18 Ashwin Khan/Pune Mirror
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