WILLISTON, N.D. (KUMV) – Anyone can fly a drone with a remote control and some education, but learning to fly beyond their line of sight takes some additional work. That’s what TrainND Northwest is teaching operators with their drone academy.
Tate Betts loves new technology, especially drones.
“I’ve always been interested in all the tech gadgets out there, but these are really cool because you get to fly,” said Betts.
He owns his own drones and has a part 107 license, but nothing compares to the Censys Senatero, a commercial drone he flies as a student at TrainND Northwest’s Ascent Unmanned Aeronautical Academy.
“Flying these big commercial, professional ones are a step beyond that. It’s awesome,” said Betts.
Betts is learning to fly the Senatero beyond visual line of sight, which will allow him to cover more distance commercially. As part of this four-week course, he charts a path through a computer, communicates with a grounds crew, and deals with real-life scenarios that will come up during his flights. Instructor Jim Ager says flying beyond visual line of sight allows limitless possibilities for drones, such as package delivery and pipeline inspection.
“Everybody is coming to the consensus that the technology exists today to be able to integrate unmanned aircraft safely into our airspace. It’s wide open right now and there’s several directions that this could go,” said Ager.
Betts’ last flight with the program was Friday, where he passed with flying colors. He says he plans on heading an oil and gas inspection operation for the company he works for.
For more information on the Ascent Unmanned Aeronautical Academy, visit willistonstate.edu/trainnd
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