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Credit: RMIT University

Credit: RMIT University

RMIT University delivers drone pilot training as part of aviation and aerospace degrees

An announcement made by the RMIT University highlighted a new elective that the University is offering that will deliver Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) as part of a degree.

The unmanned aviation industry is flourishing and RMIT will deliver drone pilot training as part of a degree.

RMIT University, in collaboration with Flight Data Systems, is delivering RePL as part of a degree. The course is also the first in an Australian university to be delivered by industry.

Senior Lecturer at RMIT’s Aerospace Engineering & Aviation, Dr Graham Wild, said that the global Unmanned (UAV) market is predicted to reach $11.2 billion by 2020, and that Australia is well placed to be a key player.

Dr Wild said, “This is a new industry that is making aviation available to the masses as a service industry.”

“It is employing thousands of people in the country, and this is growing; the direct benefits in farming and search and rescue help people and society daily,“ he added.

RMIT is expecting high demand for the new course. It is being offered as a university wide elective, to allow all RMIT students to be part of the unmanned aviation industry.

This class will be an elective for these courses: Bachelor of Applied Science – Aviation and Bachelor of Engineering – Aerospace.

Students who take this elective will be given an opportunity to earn a micro qualification as part of their degree, which will give them new opportunities in the growing unmanned aviation industry.

The elective will give students the chance to acquire a RePL for the small class of multi-rotor aircraft, 2 to 25 kg, with a restriction of up to 7kg.

Dr Wild said that the micro qualification was the key to more graduate job outcomes. More opportunities for students will open at companies or organisations that hold a Remote Operators Certificate. It would be possible for them to get a job where they are paid to fly these aircraft for commercial operations.

“The majority of these companies are small businesses so walking in with a micro qualification means you will not cost the company A$3,500 in training costs. You can go out the day you start and fly, to earn rather than cost money,” he said.  

Dr Wild added, “Unmanned aviation goes beyond aviation and aerospace, and is applicable in civil/structural/environmental engineering, in geospatial sciences, even construction management and architecture utilise unmanned aerial systems.”

“It’s essential that our graduates keep up with this rapidly-growing industry,” he said.

Some of the typical uses for drones, in the size category are:

(1)    Carrying large cameras used in film and TV

(2)    Carrying large cameras with platforms for hyperspectral imaging, which are used on farms

In 2019, a future postgraduate offering that will give students more flexibility because they will also utilise fixed wing aircraft in the excluded sub 2 kg category.

RMIT is a national leader in Aerospace Engineering, ranked fifth by the Excellence in Research Australia as world leading, and the highest in the country.

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