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Taking flight: RP to launch drone training centre

This is the first dedicated drone centre among Singapore's institutes of higher learning that provides training and education for drone users. 

SINGAPORE: A new drone training centre at Republic Polytechnic (RP) will offer courses to people who want to learn how to fly these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to RP on Monday (Jan 2), this is the first dedicated UAV centre among Singapore's institutes of higher learning that provides training and education for drone users. 

The centre, which will be officially launched during the polytechnic's open house on Thursday, comes amid a growing interest in drones among hobbyists, students and companies in various industries.

"Companies recognise and increasingly tap on the potential of drone technology to boost productivity and efficiency. Future growth of UAV applications may, however, be hampered by a lack of technical or situational knowledge and awareness of safety and security issues," RP said. 


A drone taking flight. (Photo: Winnie Goh)

The training centre will offer a range of courses - three basic and five advanced - to cater to different needs. Its basic courses, for instance, touch on how to capture aerial shots on video, while the more advanced courses are industry-based and will cover areas like recovery systems, land planning and search and rescue.

RP said it has the “latest technology in UAV training” with a fleet of more than 50 drones - the longest with a wing span of 1.2m.


Classroom where drone lessons will be conducted. (Photo: Winnie Goh)

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, one of the centre's instructors, Sasidharan Nair, said anyone can sign up for the course through an online portal. Safety will be an important aspect and is a “core module” for both the basic and advanced courses. Participants can use their S$500 SkillsFuture credit on the course.

“A drone is not a toy. It is a machine and you have to understand the machine. You have to be responsible when you fly (it),” Mr Nair explained.


Trainers demonstrate assembling a drone. (Photo: Winnie Goh)

At a two-day basic course, participants will learn about safety and regulatory processes for drone flying in Singapore - such as how to apply for a permit, fill in a risk assessment form and identify dangers while flying drones, followed by a full day of flying them.

Participants will be put through a simulator to gain confidence before flying their drones for the first time. They will also go through mini tests and certification will be awarded at the end of the course. All the courses are taught by RP instructors.


Students will be put through a simulator before flying the drones. (Photo: Winnie Goh)

Using drones could be beneficial for both industries and hobbyists, Mr Nair said. "For industries like search and rescue, if someone is lost in the jungle, how do you track them at night? You don't need to deploy anyone, you can just fly a drone with a camera to see and study the body movements."

“The whole idea of being in control of something flying, and seeing what you’re doing through the monitor at the same time - that’s something that gives a flyer satisfaction," added Mr Nair.