First, a ‘hello’ - I recently joined the forum, and this is my first contribution. Following a chat with PingSpike, I offered to share my experience of taking the NATS Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) course (just completed). This post will be longer than a few lines, so be advised
I decided I wanted to do a formal course with a view to obtaining permissions from the CAA for commercial RPAS operations. An internet search revealed quite a few companies that run such courses, but I also found a link to the NATS course. The three day course was at the slightly more expensive end of costs, since I saw some courses advertised for around about £900, and the NATS course is £1,200 including VAT. In the end I decided to go with NATS - since they run air traffic control in the UK, I figured they’d be best placed to talk about the challenges of operating a drone commercially.
The three day course agenda covered (amongst other things):
- RPAS Regulators
- Meteorlogical elements
- Human factors
- Practical Operations
- Ops Manual
- Pre/Post flight checklists
Clearly I have no other course to compare it against, but I felt it answered all of my questions on drone operations, and met all of my training expectations. It was a very good experience working with enthusiastic aviation professionals, who also fly drones in their spare time. Being able to ask a 35 year air traffic control veteran all of my course and drone-related questions, and discuss them at length, was hugely beneficial to increasing my knowledge.
The course was very helpful not just from the formal structure aspect - being able to chat about Lipoly battery safety/reliability and useful drone apps was also beneficial. As for the practical flight test, it was a real eye opener being able to test fly a Phantom 2, before using my Mavic for the flight test. If you cut your teeth on the P2, I doff my cap to you
So, if you’re thinking about doing some commercial work with your drone, I can wholeheartedly recommend considering going on the NATS course. Great guys, who’re very friendly and approachable, and who really know what their talking about. They’re very focussed on the safety aspect of being a drone pilot, and the training course really reflects this.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Happy flying!