COPTRZ, UK Commercial Drone Experts have announced the launch of an online training academy, the first and only online modular webinar courses OFQUAL approved (The Office of Qualifications and Examination Regulations in the UK) for both PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) and OFQUAL Level 5 for Chief Drone Pilots.

There has been a rise in insurance claims from drone pilots in the UK and that made the people of COPTRZ curious as to the causes in the spike. They interviewed larger companies through to individual wedding photographers, and it all boiled down to two things: How the pilots are trained, and the limited opportunities to continually develop their skills.

We reached out to Dan Wilson, head of training, Steve Coulson, Managing director and Kevin Gillespie, Marketing Director at COPTRZ for comments about the launch and the timing of their online training platform.

“It is fundamentally important to us that our new virtual platform still offers the benefits of learning from great teachers, and that is why our online academy will be run by the same experts as our face to face courses. We will be with our students every step of the way to ensure they achieve results,” said Dan enthusiastically.

Adapting to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus COPTRZ ACADEMY redefines online drone training, bringing the benefits of the physical classroom to the safety of virtual learning in a way that’s safe and supportive. 

According to Dan, this continual learning platform will provide industry professionals with the opportunity to continually develop and grow within a cloud-based ecosystem.  Each week new resources including masterclasses, webinars and live videos will be delivered to academy members by industry experts from around the world.

“Customers need flexibility and also maximum support in these testing times and COPTRZ ACADEMY delivers all the benefits of a traditional classroom and the benefits of online learning without the drawbacks,” said Steve. “It’s a new way of thinking about learning and personal growth in a rapidly changing world.”

Beginner modules will cover the PfCO drone pilot course and exam, members can then progress to the advanced OFQUAL 5 Chief Pilots qualification, take specialized online courses and draw on unique resources for specific drone applications such as Surveying, Inspection and Public Safety.

“We’ve supported over 1,000 organizations in the UK adopt drone technology into their operations, and the lack of continual development opportunities was an issue amongst a high percentage,” said Kevin emphatically. “We found from a specialist Emergency Services workshop we implemented across the UK for Randall Warnas, Flir, and Emergency Service Drone Pilots that there is a lack of education about how to get the best out of drone hardware and software once it has been bought.  A big part of that is that there’s no trusted, one-stop-shop educational platform in place for pilots to access the up-to-date knowledge they need on a consistent basis. Working with a number of the Drone Industry Giants (DJI, Parrot, Flir, Pix4D...) we found we were in a position to provide that kind of content to companies and drone pilots across the world.”

According to Steve, the way companies use drone technology across their operations means that they could have a drone solution made up of different components from different companies.  Currently, to access any kind of educational content operations personnel would need to visit or contact numerous providers to get the information, and even then, there was no guarantee the organization would finally get what they needed.

“In a nutshell, we wanted to replicate our Ground School online and ensure that people working through the course would still have access to our industry leading training team through ‘Live Trainer’ support,” explained Kevin. “And, because we work with a number of the big players in the drone industry, we’ve found we’re able to provide fresh specialist workshops, live webinars, interactive content and more on a weekly basis.”

So, it’s COPTRZ online learning only accessible to UK pilots?

“A major part of COPTRZ Academy, it’s a global accreditation unique to COPTRZ that can be used by any drone pilot across the world, and the industries we train most in it come from Emergency Services, Public Safety and Military,” Said Kevin. “It’s for pilots who fly in high pressure situations, companies that have a fleet of drone pilots and want to have a master team leader, and most importantly companies that want to have an industry recognized accreditation that differentiates them in contract bids.”

In these times of uncertainty and social distancing, training tools such as the ones described by the officers at COPTRZ seem to be uniquely positioned to help pilots train at home while they observe the necessary measures that would allow the entire community to emerge from this health crisis unscathed.