GA‑ASI UAS academy graduates first pilots
The first cadre of aircrew have graduated from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA‑ASI) UAS Flight Training Academy, it was announced on 25 August.
The North Dakota-based academy’s first graduating class included three pilots. Six sensor operators and five additional pilots will follow soon. The new aircrew will join GA-ASI’s 230-strong aircrew deployed worldwide for its Predator UAS series.
Prior to the academy opening, training occurred at the company’s California flight operations facilities, where aircrew instruction took as long as six months. Now, UAS training can be completed in two months. As part of the course, pilots complete 25 simulator lessons (59 hours), 15 flights (36 hours), and 114 hours of academic studies.
Before entering training, all GA-ASI UAS pilots must possess a FAA commercial instrument pilot rating, a Bachelor’s degree and accumulate 300 hours as a pilot-in-command. Sensor operators require a private pilot license or a commercial pilot rating. Both pilots and sensor operators also must be able to maintain a Class II FAA medical certificate and obtain and maintain a DoD security clearance.
The training academy's graduates are currently qualified for Predator A, but the company expects to make its Predator B training system available before the end of 2016. The academy can also augment the US Air Force's remote piloted aircraft training programmes.
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