Varazdin FOI Opens Drone Pilot Academy Aimed at Students

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the rapid development of technology has made unmanned aerial vehicles available to a wider range of users, regardless of their age. Today, there are toy drones on the market for around 100 kuna, but also professional drones for around 100 thousand kuna. Operating a popular drone requires preparation, knowledge, and responsibility for one’s own actions because irresponsible behaviour can have dire consequences, in regard to human and animal lives, as well as property.

Following global trends and in accordance with the relevant legal regulations, the Faculty of Organisation and Informatics (Varazdin FOI), in cooperation with Varazdin County and the European Talent Centre Croatia – Centres of Excellence in Varazdin County, has developed the Drone Pilot Academy aimed at high school students. All participants are provided with equipment in the form of drones for use during the training.

Silvija Zagorec, Deputy Prefect of Varazdin County, pointed out that the Varazdin FOI’s education programme aims to create young “pilots” who will use the airspace in a responsible way.

“With this partnership, the county is raising the bar of the quality of the educational offer it boasts and imposing itself as the leading county in terms of technological innovations in education. We’re proud that this academy is being launched and that we’ll contribute through the training so that new technologies are being applied responsibly and in a safe way,” said Zagorec at a recently held presentation of this training at the Varazdin FOI.

The Drone Pilot Academy, they say at the Faculty of Varazdin, is designed as a set of workshops that will be held in the municipality of Beretinec, using the natural beauty of Varazdin County. Through education, the partners, as they point out, want to enable, above all, students to responsibly operate drones in compliance with EU and Croatian regulations and learn their application in various fields.

“At FOI Varazdin, we’re constantly working hard to strengthen the educational offer we have both for our students and for the wider community in which we operate. It’s our social responsibility to contribute to the community in which we operate, which we do best through what we’re the strongest in – quality education that enables the strengthening of competitiveness and long-term economic development,” said FOI Dean Nina Begicevic Redjep, emphasising that education allows participants to safely access the exam of the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency and obtain a license to operate unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Varazdin FOI training, which starts at the end of August this year, lasts five working days and is intended primarily for high school and university students. In addition to the theoretical knowledge obtained in the fields of physics, electronics, communication and multimedia necessary to operate an aircraft, participants will learn practical knowledge and gain flying experience.

“It’s invaluable for participants to acquire the skill of operating drones so that they can operate them safely. Therefore, for the practical part, we’ve prepared a programme that includes maintenance and control of drones through the simulation of solo flights in the simulator, after which participants are made ready for the most exciting part of this education – solo flights out in the open,” stated Boris Tomas, assistant professor.

The project is also supported by the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency (CCAA), whose experts are involved in the implementation of the training, and CCAA air safety inspector Damir Bezik said that Croatia was among the first in the European Union to adopt legal regulations on this topic. 

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