More and more drone users take their passion to the sky in recent years

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SINGAPORE — More and more people here are signing up for courses to learn how to fly drones safely, amid growing interest in unmanned aircraft for recreational and commercial use.

Drone enthusiasts can enroll in beginner courses to learn the basics of flying a drone, or more advanced courses to earn the Unmanned Aircraft Pilot License (UAPL), which is required to fly. drones for commercial purposes.

Educational institutions and private academies that offer such courses told the Straits Times that their students are mostly males between the ages of seven and 70.

Drone Flying Academy founder Richie Lim said about 60 people sign up for his classes every month, triple in 2019. About 80% are recreational users and the rest are commercial users seeking research. of the UPLA.

“More and more people are interested in aerial videography because it provides a bird’s eye view of places. People are also showing these high view perspectives of buildings like MBS (Marina Bay Sands) on their web pages. social media, motivating others to learn drone piloting,” said Lim, who started his academy in March 2019.

Recreational user Edmond Seet, 54, took a basic Drone Flying Academy course in October 2021, two or three years after buying a drone he struggled to control.

“After the course, I found it much easier to control my drone and even got to play with more advanced drones at the academy,” the sales manager said.

Mr. Foo Wing Yong, deputy director of engineering services at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central’s School of Engineering, which oversees drone courses, said there had been an increase in enrollment in his classes since 2021.

ITE currently offers nine courses with a range of difficulty levels. Two or three classes for each course are held each term, with student numbers ranging from three to 16. Classes are always fully subscribed, ITE said.

This compares with only one or two classes in each course per term at the start of 2021.

Freelance designer Ang Ting Fang, 33, took three drone courses at ITE between last December and June, which taught her the basic movements of drone control as well as the laws and regulations related to the use such devices.

“I wanted to get a license to do commercial work, like being a pilot for hire. If companies want to hire pilots to inspect roofs, I can take on those jobs,” she said.

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