Ray Faulkner, founder and Managing Director of iRed, flying a drone.
High-flying Hampshire business iRed has launched commercial drone flying training courses after being officially approved.
The business is a pioneer in infrared technology and in recent years it has taken off after combining drones with its sophisticated cameras.
Now it is able to train drone pilots at its centre in Emsworth near Portsmouth to meet standards set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
It also runs courses on using infrared cameras and is now one of the country’s leading training centres that can provide both drone and infrared training.
Those who complete the drone course receive a Commercial Remote Pilot Qualification (CRPQ), which can then be used to attain Permissions for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the CAA.
Students are taught about operating procedures, airmanship, aviation safety, charts and navigation – and night flying training is also available.
There are countless applications for drone usage including in agriculture, search and rescue, 3D modelling, inspection of renewable energy sources and photography.
Alan Mak MP, who recently visited the business, said: “I was delighted to visit fast-growing local business iRed.
“It specialises in not only using drones to survey sites with thermal imaging cameras, but also offering training courses in the safe use of the technology.
“Thermal imaging using drone technology is used in the building, electrical, veterinary and solar industries amongst many others.
“The company is a fantastic example of a local-business exploiting opportunities created by disruptive new technology to secure jobs and grow the local economy.
”With similar businesses following iRed’s lead, Britain will be in an excellent position to lead the world in advanced technology.”
The team at iRed outside their bespoke training facility.
Ray Faulkner, founder and managing director of iRed and a former airline pilot, said: “Along with the hardware we supply, we run a series of training courses.
“Thermal imaging technology is not as simple as saying red equates to hot and blue to cold. The data need interpreting correctly.
“Drones have brought a whole new dimension to our work, but flying them commercially does require special permissions.
“Being approved by the CAA means our course is a way for people to become qualified, enabling them to use drones for a whole variety of inspection purposes.
“As a company we intend to keep pushing forward and bringing technology to those who can benefit from it.”
To find out more about the Commercial Remote Pilot Qualification, please visit https://ired.ac.uk/courses/caa-pfco-drone-training-course/