While many professionals have recognized what kind of an impact drones can have on the approach they take to projects of all types and sizes, being able to actually realize those benefits is about more than purchasing a piece of technology. Drones might be making their way into the classroom, but many working professionals struggle with the logistics of operating a UAV safely and effectively if they haven’t been properly trained to do so.VAMPIRE PRO from AEgis Technologies was created to provide that exact type of instruction in a customized way. This powerful UAS simulation provides a set of features that can be modified as needed to ensure operators have the necessary training and insight to safely maximize the technology. I wanted to get a better sense of how commercial operators are and will be using this type of program, so I connected with Del Beilstein, Vice President, Business Development at AEgis Technologies. We talked through the opportunities the program provides commercial users, how organizations can determine if this type of program is a fit for them and plenty more. Jeremiah Karpowicz: Tell us a little bit about AEgis Technologies. In what ways are you looking to impact the commercial drone market?Del Beilstein: AEgis is a privately held small business headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama. We’ve provided products and services to the US government, commercial organizations, and international customers for more than 25 years, with Modeling and Simulation (M&S) related engineering services and technologies as our core competencies.One of the areas we’ve achieved particular success has been in providing simulation for training operators of Unmanned Air System (drone) operators. AEgis has delivered more than 8,500 software licenses for our Vampire family of UAS simulations for military training since 2010. We’re bringing our experience and proven simulation software to the emerging commercial drone market to help build operator proficiency, minimize risk of aircraft loss, and reduce liability for UAS commercial companies. How does your experience in simulation development impact what you’re looking to do in the commercial drone market?Our background of more than 28 years of modeling and simulation development and nine years of delivering and supporting military UAS simulation training help us understand the small details that are important in making a effective and quality training environment for drone operators. The realism of the models in our environment, adjustable weather and light parameters, accurate and predictable flight control responses, and the ability to inject common drone fault and emergency conditions in our Vampire simulation offer a great training tool to new operators. Even experienced operators can benefit by using Vampire® as a means of getting back up to speed if they haven’t flown recently. How are you looking to specifically leverage the opportunities in the market that you’ve been able to identify?We believe that as commercial unmanned flight service organizations and programs mature they will adopt aircrew training standards and methods similar to their commercial manned flight service counterparts, who have been relying upon simulation to train and certify their aircrews for decades.To be ready as that demand increases, we’ve adapted our proven military simulation for small UAS, Vampire® to meet commercial unmanned flight training simulation needs. The new version is called Vampire® Pro, and we’re currently beta testing this product with several different groups including UAS OEMs, academic institutions with UAS degree programs, and first responders to make sure it is flexible enough to provide excellent training across a variety of flight mission profiles. Anything you can share with us about plans to expand or augment your offerings in the near future?We’re also working on a classroom drone training system that allows a single instructor to train ten or more students simultaneously. It’s an extension of our Vampire® Pro simulation that we’re calling Vampire® Team. This training system consists of an instructor console and a scalable number of student stations. Team gives the instructor the ability to assign flight missions to students, track their progress, grade their flight performance, insert fault conditions and evaluate their reactions to them, and provide them a comprehensive review of their training. Team is intended to support training at drone training centers, schools and colleges, and company-internal training at larger commercial organizations. What has you excited about the future of the commercial drone space?We’re excited about the potential for beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) operations for drones. We’ve seen the tremendous benefit of these operations with our military customers and believe once the rules and protocols are established to enable BVLOS operations it will be a tipping point for the industry to truly take off. What’s the best way to discover whether or not your solution is the right fit for a particular user or project?Vampire® PRO is intended for organizations with formal aircrew training programs, or those looking to find a safer way to practice UAS flight. People can find information about our Vampire® PRO simulator for small UAS at www.aegistg.com/unmanned-aircraft-systems-vampire/ and see videos of our UAS Simulation products at .For more information they can reach out to us with questions at [email protected].