NATS and Sky-Futures announce strategic partnership to deliver UK commercial drone pilot training

NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic control provider, and Sky-Futures, a world leader in commercial drone-based inspection services and training, have announced an exciting new partnership that will change the landscape of drone training in the UK.  The initiative will bring NATS’ unrivalled airspace and aviation expertise together with Sky-Futures’ industry-leading technical drone-flying skills to deliver expert training to the burgeoning commercial drone sector and the emergency services.

As businesses and public services increasingly seek to embrace the benefits of drone technology, the NATS/Sky-Futures partnership will deliver tailored, scenario-based training that will aim to set a new standard for the UK. As well as online theory training about aviation law and responsible flying, students will receive advanced training on how to safely operate a drone in scenarios that closely match their own working environment.

This is an exciting development that takes us closer to safely realising the potential of this emerging industry in the UK. We recognise drones have huge potential to deliver benefits across society and to our economy and, by partnering with Sky-Futures, we can offer commercial drone operators the all-round training necessary for the drone industry to flourish safely alongside the traditional aviation industry.

James Cranswick

Drones Business Manager, NATS

Customers will be trained at the Sky-Futures Training Academy (SFTA) near Oxford as well as at NATS operational centres in Swanwick and Prestwick. Facilities at the SFTA include a ship, railway line, motorway, oil rig, metal towers and commercial buildings – a customer who inspects transmission towers, for example, will be trained how to prepare for this type of operation and how to use a drone as an inspection tool. This level of role-specific training is unmatched in the UK.

The combined strengths of Sky-Futures and NATS form the basis of a market-leading training partnership. Together, we will work to further improve the standard of commercial drone pilot training and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this exciting industry.

Nick Rogers

Co-Founder & Chief Regulatory and Training Officer (CTRO), Sky-Futures

A sneak peek to the drone training at the Sky-Futures Training Academy

About NATS

NATS is a leading air traffic management and solutions company, established in the UK in 1962 and now operating in countries around the world.

NATS handled 2.6 million flights in 2017, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic from its centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire. NATS also provides air traffic services at 13 UK airports; at Gibraltar Airport and, in a joint venture with Ferrovial, at a number of airport towers in Spain.

NATS has taken a leading role in encouraging the safe and responsible use of drones in the UK, offering a range of resources for drone operators including the free Drone Assist app, an online Drones Portal with resources for drone operators and providing NQE-level drone training with resident experts.

For more information visit the NATS website

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