HomeChina opens drone schools as demand for pilots soars

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New aviation schools are opening across China to meet a growing demand for commercial pilots to fly small, remote-controlled aircraft, or drones.

It is estimated the country’s maintenance, mapping, filming and agricultural industries will need more than 10,000 drone pilots this year.




There are currently less than 1,000 people licensed to fly drones and new schools, like that just opened in Beijing, are hoping to give students the skills they need to get work as professional remote-control pilots.

“I want to build my own company with drone services,” says student Xu Honggang, 24, who decided to enroll, attracted by the $780 a month salary pilots can earn.

“I like to work for myself, this is a new and popular line of work.”

The school, one of 42 in China, offers a two-week intensive course to students.

The $1,260 study programme includes learning about insurance, regulations and how drones are built and can be fixed.

Before flying real drones, students spend more than 20 hours on drone flight simulators.

“If we practice with the real drone, we will have a huge loss,” says drone flight teacher Zeng Jun.

“If we practice with the simulator, students can have a solid foundation and improve their confidence.”