UMS SKELDAR, the world-leader in pioneering maritime unmanned helicopters, has completed CAA-approved certification of flight crew in Switzerland, ahead of training roll-out with Swedish flight ops as company expands across global markets.
Europe’s leading provider of Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms, UMS SKELDAR, has teamed up with UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority)-approved specialist UAV and drone training organisation Remote Unmanned Systems Training Academy (RUSTA) to complete a range of theory and live-flying exercises leading to PFCO (Permission for Commercial Operations), providing commercial drone pilots with the skills and qualification to operate safely and legally in UK airspace.
The intensive training programme covered air law, crew resource management, human factors, meteorology and power systems together with operational and live mission simulation training pre-flight, training flights and test flights.
The five-day training course was delivered by Sion Roberts, Founder and Managing Director of RUSTA, with a 22-year career in the RAF and three years as an instructor in the USAF. The seven-strong UMS SKELDAR crew was headed by Flight Operations Manager John Cousins (ex RAF) and Chief Instructor Stephen Hemingfield (ex RN and RAF), who report to Joschka Höfling, Site Manager Switzerland and Product Manager for the R-350, all based at UMS SKELDAR’s Swiss operations centre at Möhlin, near Basel.
“RUSTA’s Remote Pilot Certificate SUAS (RPCS) course is UK CAA approved, with the permission allowing operators to fly in the prescribed weight category. The training and assessment has been designed for UAV operators that wish to obtain a PFCO from the CAA and importantly provides independent examination and verification of our professional flight operators. This course, initially specified for up to 20kg, offers the teams future-proofing for continuous operations and paves the way for certification in higher weight categories,” explained Joschka Höfling.
UMS SKELDAR will roll out training programmes to cover the SKELDAR V-200 flight operations crews based at the Swedish operations centre in Linköping. The qualification is a regulatory requirement in order to obtain permission to operate and offer UAV services commercially in UK airspace.
Axel Cavalli-Bjorkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR, the joint venture between Saab and UMS AERO GROUP, added: “Our flight operations crews are exceptionally well trained, with experience of the armed forces of NATO nations including the UK, Sweden and Switzerland, in addition to pilots with a commercial track-record of manned and unmanned aircraft operations. This training programme is recognised by the CAA and is widely acknowledged as the benchmark for European commercial UAV flight management. We look forward to further development of training solutions as we expand our global operations base across commercial and military markets.”