Drone Essentials is offered by TAFE NSW's Riverina Institute. The
course is made up of a classroom unit, which covers theory, and a
field unit, which takes students outside for some practical flying
time followed by an exam. Passing the exam means the student is
awarded a certificate of competency.
Thomas Carberry, project officer for farming systems, said that
drones have been becoming increasingly popular with agronomists and
farmers. Drones are being used to monitor crops and livestock through
infrared imaging. "From that they can identify plant health and
save on fertilizer use if they can identify specific areas that they
need to fertilise," he said. "Sometimes they can save up to
30 per cent on fertiliser use just from getting that image, and can
get a greater yield from it."
Teacher and certified drone pilot, Nicholas Wilke, said he hopes the
course will appeal to both professionals and hobbyists. "We teach
people how to set up a drone and how to safely operate a drone,"
he said. "All the software associated with a particular model is
covered and then we test them."
New drone flying laws by the Civil Aviation Authority will be coming
into effect in September, allowing people to operate drones that weigh
less than two kilograms without a licence. Mr Wilke said he hopes the
course will educate people about the new regulations and what they
mean for drone enthusiasts.