Dubai students can now learn how to fly drones

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Some of the schools in Dubai will be teaching their students how to fly a drone, through a new Drones Education Programme. The programme will be integrated initially at two Gems schools. However, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) aims to expand it to schools across the emirate.

The Gems Dubai American Academy and Jumeirah College are the first ones to implement the drone programmes within their schools. “There is a current and future need to train not only drone pilots, but solution experts and engineers. Bringing a new perspective into academics and learning, incorporating drones in education can help motivate students to put their curiosity into good use, in addition to the rich educational environment it can provide,” said Michael Gernon, senior vice-president, global head of innovation, research and development at Gems Education.

“The programme will help equip students with vital cross curricular skills required to encourage problem-solving and analytical thinking in real-world scenarios.”

The course curriculum will involve an integrated training programme with a ground school, which will teach students about flight theory and safety and regulations of drones. The course will also have simulator training (competency-based training based on minimum proficiency standards) and flight training (actual real-time operation of drones).

After the schools implement the programme, they will hold future competitions that will include a racing league, real world scenarios using drones, opportunities for internships and hardware and software experts to showcase their abilities. Currently, the minimum age for granting official permits to fly drones outdoor is 16 years. However, an educational permit will be introduced where students will be allowed to use facilities at specific times, in the presence of a commercially qualified pilot.

Representatives from the DCAA, Gems Academy, Jumeirah College and Exponent Technologies will be working together to implement the programme. For the public, all drone users must be registered with authorities and must have a valid drone licence to operate inside the country.

Who can join the programme

The programme will be made available for middle and high school students. There will also be opportunities for the students to take up certain aspects of the study, such as programming, stable flight with small drones and build dummy projects.

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