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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

Gurugram-based Redbird Flight Training Academy (RFTA) has become the first institute to have trained its first batch of pilots free of cost, including Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) manned by women pilots, amid the government’s push to encourage drone operations in the country.

The government has been pushing for increasing the production of drones and their applications in various fields such as agriculture, disaster management, health care and law enforcement.

RFTA also intends to take drone technology to remote corners of the country.

RFTA said in the first phase of the programme it would select 20 commercial pilot licence holders from Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), who would be trained as drone instructors.

In October, IGRUA, the government-run premier flying training institute, had joined hands with Delhi-based Drone Destination for the training of drone pilots.

RFTA plans to train 40% women pilots for these jobs.

It will also be roping in gram panchayats from 100 villages for the novel initiative.

“We will let gram panchayats of 100 villages select their representatives, where four out of 10 will be women pilots, who will be trained free of cost. The move will empower women in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of using drone instructors for various applications such as land mapping and survey, disaster and crop management, women and public safety and making them self-reliant at the grassroots level,” RFTA said.

The initiative is expected to be a stepping stone in the booming unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry along with providing means of livelihood to many people.

“Just like the government’s Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, which was formulated to join the remote parts of India and promote the civil aviation industry, this initiative will also bring people closer to aviation,” RFTA added.

“RFTA, a Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved RPA training institute, is felicitating the country’s first batch of 15 certified drone pilots in Delhi on Friday (November 6). This is a landmark event in the Indian aviation history, as a comprehensive roll-out of drone pilot training programme initiated by RFTA ,” said an official from the MoCA.