Basic & Fixed-Wing Drone Operator Training For Agriculture & Nature Conservation at University of Namibia
Using drones in agriculture and nature conservation is a crucial application in Namibia. In addition, most of Namibia’s population depends directly or indirectly on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods, further reinforcing the importance of such training.
The training was divided into two parts, an in-person training on the basics of drone operations and an online part focusing on fixed-wing operations. The first part of the training occurred in Windhoek in October 2021, with the second part between May and June 2022.
The in-person training taught participants how to operate a multirotor drone and covered data collection, processing, and analysis, knowledge of the Safety Management System (SMS), mission planning, validation and execution, and understanding of RPA rules and regulations. The drones the participants were trained to operate were the DeltaQuad Pro #MAP for fixed-wing flights, DJI Mavic 2 Pro for multirotor missions, and the DJI Tello to introduce participants to basic drone operations. The software covered for mission planning of the fixed-wing were DeltaQuad Mission Validator, QGround Control, and Google Earth Pro. In addition, an introduction to Pix4Dmapper was also covered for data processing.
The remotely piloted aircraft knowledge, safe and legal drone operation, data processing skillset, and competencies developed during the training will accelerate the implementation of the Namibia Integrated Landscape Approach for Enhancing Livelihoods and Environmental Governance to Eradicate Poverty (NILALEG). The project seeks to promote an integrated landscape management approach in critical agricultural and forest landscapes, reducing poverty through sustainable nature-based livelihoods, protecting and restoring forests as carbon sinks, and promoting land degradation neutrality.
We are optimistic that the new drone operators will have great success in their work. The next step in this training will comprise fixed-wing test flights and field data collection and processing.
We want to congratulate and UNAM team for completing their training. Stay tuned for more posts on the fantastic work done with the drones as part of the NILALEG project as they respond to the need for integrated management of Namibia’s rural landscapes to reverse environmental degradation and maximize sustainable livelihoods based on nature.