New rules allow people to become certified through a 16-hour course and a test.
Two community colleges in Idaho will offer classes on piloting unmanned aerial vehicles to train people for jobs in the growing commercial drone industry.
Brad Ward, president of Hayden-based drone company Empire Unmanned, will teach the first two-day class at North Idaho College this month. Company co-founder Steve Edgar will teach another course at Treasure Valley Community College.
Ward says he plans to offer courses every other month, depending on demand.
The Federal Aviation Administration last summer removed a requirement that drone operators also be licensed to pilot manned aircraft. The new rules allow people to become certified through a 16-hour course and a test.
Ward says his company has already added two employees who obtained a remote pilot certificated but didn’t previously have a pilot’s license.
“There are lots of military vets who have spent hundreds of hours flying drones but aren’t a pilot,” Ward says. “We can hire them now.”
Western businesses are using drones for several tasks, such as imaging for precision agriculture, and say they are poised for significant expansion.