The European Unmanned Systems Training Academy (EUTA) is spreading its wings.

The Academy is a joint venture of AEC Air Support and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR), with financial support provided by Midpoint Brabant, a regional development organization.

Midpoint Brabant has also made accommodation available for EUTA at Gate2, the home of its Aerospace & Maintenance Cluster in Gilze-Rijen, the Netherlands.

On Tuesday 25 June, AEC and NLR signed a partnership agreement and officially established EUTA. The Academy will train UAS operators for a variety of applications including professional aerial surveillance; inspections of wind turbines, high-voltage pylons and petrochemical installations; road markings; and aerial photography and video. Although EUTA will initially focus on civil UAS operations, in future its scope may be extended to include military training.

The first class of eight UAS operators will start in September 2013. For practical training purposes EUTA will use its own unmanned aircraft, which is currently being constructed in the United States. The Academy is attracting interest from professional pilots, petrochemical companies, companies offering aerial surveillance, photography and video services, and many others. Applications from dozens of students have already been received.

The EUTA programme will cover all aspects of UAS operations. Trainees will receive thorough instruction in all theoretical and practical aspects of working with unmanned aircraft, using simulation environments as well as an actual UAS.

Over the years, NLR has gained extensive experience in training and education (including police training), in the technical aspects of UAS operations, and in existing and future legislation in this field. The organization is therefore ideally placed to contribute to EUTA. For its part, NLR hopes to benefit from the practical experiences of UAS pioneers while contributing to a field that is expected to develop significantly over the next ten to fifteen years. This will allow NLR to further extend its UAS knowledge base.

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