Training of unmanned aerial vehicle users is now available in Latvia
Along with the technological development and increased availability of unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly known as drones) their use in the civil sector has been growing rapidly in the recent years. Nowadays, anyone may buy a drone with a simple control system and a high resolution camera to look at the world from a different angle. Regardless of the widespread application of unmanned aerial vehicles, in Latvia they are mostly used in the entertainment industry, and the majority of people treat drones like a toy. However, one should always bear in mind that a drone flies in the airspace which implies that the requirements specified by the legal enactments must be complied with.
Thus far, several incidents caused by unmanned aerial vehicles have already been fixed in Latvia. As an example, an episode with the AirBaltic aircraft may be mentioned when whilst landing the aircraft nearly collided with a drone. Also, there were cases when falling of an unmanned aerial vehicle caused substantial losses. As a rule, human factor, i.e. stretching one's luck, lack of common sense and insufficient competence, is the cause of such incidents.
In many countries, a special permission is to be obtained to use the unmanned aerial vehicles. In the process of obtaining said permission, a user should complete training as a result of which he or she will acquire the necessary knowledge and practical skills which must be demonstrated at the examination. From 2016, such training is available in Latvia, too. The pioneer of this industry is the Academic and Professional Aviation Centre (APAC), a structural subdivision of Transport and Telecommunication Institute (TSI), which ensures training both for those who use drones for leisure and those who use them in their professional activity.
The TSI/APAC Drone Training School is one of the projects of the APAC aimed at popularisation of the industry and raising public awareness which is also supported by the company DJI Latvija, the largest distributor of unmanned aerial vehicles in the Baltic region. On 8-10 July, the APAC Drone Training School was one of the activities at the sports, music and creativity festival Playground where the visitors were given brief information on the principles of drone operation and remote control as well as on the rules regulating their use. Also, all the interested persons were given the possibility to learn drone-flying skills in a virtual environment and get ready for a practical flight in the specially prepared overobstacle course under the supervision of an instructor.