A YORK-BASED drone training company has put together a new course, which involves ex-military pilots teaching people how to fly drones.

The course is specialised and the training is done by former RAF and Royal Navy fighter pilots – along with ex-Army Air Corps helicopter pilots and Civil Aviation Authority examiners - who work for York drone training company, York-based Flyby Technology.

The BVLOS course, which stands for Beyond Visual Line of Sight, is taking how drones have been used by the military – flying them all over the world on missions controlled by pilots out of sight or even hundreds or thousands of miles away – and turning it into a civilian concept.

Flyby Technology founder Jon Parker, a former RAF fighter pilot, said: "Yesterday, drones were all about taking photos and videos, today it’s about inspecting buildings, power lines and other infrastructure but tomorrow it will all be about operations beyond visual line of sight and we are now training these drone pilots of tomorrow."

All the pilots on the Flyby course go through a month-long intensive training at Flyby’s specialist drone flying school in Leicestershire.

Drones which are allowed to fly beyond visual sight could weigh up to a third of a tonne and carry weights of up to 150kg.

This makes them ideal for day-to-day work including spraying agricultural crops and making deliveries or for humanitarian emergencies such as taking water, food and medical supplies into remote regions after natural disasters.

Drones can be a less expensive option than manned helicopters and aeroplanes and, of course, can fly into places manned aircraft cannot reach.

Drones have also been used by the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that they will be used to deliver medical equipment, medications and blood packs in the future.

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