National Aerospace Laboratory, university partners open unmanned operator training center in the Netherlands

LAS VEGAS, 9 Aug. 2012. Officials at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) announced what they are calling “the first training center in Europe for operators of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).”

NLR, with partners such as the University of Tilburg, are researching the possibilities of UAS operator education and training, with the goal of increasing the safety, sustainability, and efficiency of aviation.

The training center, expected to be operational in 2014, is located at Gate2 Aerospace & Maintenance in Rijen, an aviation campus in Brabant, a province of the Netherlands.

“There are increasingly advanced unmanned aircraft in the air space, carrying out both very minor and very complex tasks; hence, there is an increasing demand for operators,” says a spokesperson. “These operators must be able to operate the ‘control stick’ safely and professionally, with both feet on the ground. They must be able to remotely operating, for example, cameras or radar, and, if needed, to also provide maintenance and repairs, and all in accordance with increasing regulations.”

NLR runs research facilities that include laboratory aircraft, wind tunnels, aircraft simulators, and a control tower simulator, and employs approximately 650 people who work at sites in Amsterdam and Markenesse. The annual turnover of NLR totals roughly 75 million euro.

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