We worked with academic staff to understand the areas of technical competence of the students, in addition to the amount of experience of actually operating UAVs. Establishing the outcomes desired from the training was also important, this would allow us to design a course that optimised the learning experience.
The university requested that, on completing the course, each student had the option of applying to the CAA for their Permission for Commercial Operations.
Since the students would have excellent knowledge of aerodynamics and electronics, as well as some UAV flying experience, we designed a course that would spend relatively little time on UAV theory.
Training instead emphasised the “soft” skills of Crew Resource Management, Situational Awareness and Critical Decision Making. We consider that these human factors skills are invaluable in an operational environment, like research and development, that demands flexibility.
The academic staff were the first to go through the resulting 4 day course. This allowed them to fully understand the training that their students would undergo. It also created some friendly rivalry with the students around who would achieve the highest test scores!
The first batch of students to go through our course were the members of Team Bath Drones. We are proud that they went on to be the first team ever to achieve a clean sweep in all three prize categories in the prestigious IMechE UAS Challenge. Sponsors QinetiQ were particularly impressed with Bath’s operational standards.