Unmanned Safety Institute launches elite certification program for remote pilots

The Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) — an organization providing remote pilot training and certification to individuals, organizations, and enterprises around the world — announced on Nov. 20 the launch of a new industry Professional Remote Operator (PRO) certification.

The PRO certification program was designed to offer a credential to elite remote pilots who would like to differentiate themselves from other remote pilots who simply hold an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate. Sky Futures Photo
The PRO certification program was designed to offer a credential to elite remote pilots who would like to differentiate themselves from other remote pilots who simply hold an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate. Sky Futures Photo
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The PRO program differentiates individuals by certifying that remote pilots possess not only the knowledge to safely operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but also the skills and abilities to safely and proficiently operate UAS. PRO certificate holders are recognized by USI and the UAS community as elite professionals who have clearly demonstrated their knowledge and skills and have been independently verified by USI as an authoritative body.

The specific prerequisites for a remote pilot to earn a PRO certification include:

  • Learn – Meet all educational requirements that match the level of rating.
  • Earn – Achieve the appropriate airmen certification from the FAA or equivalent civil aviation authority.
  • Practice – Hone remote pilot skills by building flight hours and experience.
  • Promote – Be an active member of the safety community, taking on higher levels of responsibility and continuing to learn through professional development.

In addition to demonstrating proficiency through documented flight hours, all PRO applicants must complete at least 150 hours of educational units in aeronautical knowledge areas that include crew resource management (CRM), aeronautical decision making (ADM), and other essential subjects relating to UAS flight safety.

USI offers the opportunity for the “Learn” requirements to be met online through its award-winning Small UAS Safety Certification, or in-person through USI’s partnerships with many local colleges and universities.  PRO certificate holders must also earn four continuing education units (CEUs) on an annual basis, to ensure they are up-to-date on changes in the industry. CEUs may be obtained through various workshops, education programs, industry trade shows, and much more.

In conjunction with this announcement, USI has also announced that SkySkopes — a professional UAS flight operator with a large team of elite UAS pilots headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota — is the first company to have its remote pilots achieve a PRO certification.

“Certifications such as PRO from the Unmanned Safety Institute set SkySkopes apart,” said Matt Dunlevy, president and chief executive officer of SkySkopes.

“With the ever-changing state of the UAS industry, complex new use-cases for UAS presenting themselves every day, and BVLOS looming, continuing education and certifications are a necessary framework for top-tier UAS flight operators. Being the launch partner for USI’s PRO initiative is extremely important to SkySkopes and our University of North Dakota educated pilots as we continue to prove to end-users that ours is a world class UAS flight operator. I applaud USI for further promoting UAS safety and training throughout the industry with the advent of their PRO program.”

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To learn more about SkySkopes, click here.

USI offers four levels of PRO ratings dependent upon the number of hours a remote pilot has flown a UAS, ranging from 50 to 1,000, as well as the number of years in which the applicant was performing professional flight duties:

  • PRO Basic Certification: Any individual who meets all the prerequisites and
    holds at least 50 flight hours on a specific UAS, may qualify for the
    USI PRO Basic Certification.
  • PRO Level 1 (Bronze): Any individual who meets all the prerequisites and holds
    at least 250 flight hours on a specific or combination of UAS may qualify for
    the USI PRO Level 1 (Silver) Certification.
  • PRO Level 2 (Silver): Any individual who meets all the prerequisites and holds
    at least 500 flight hours on a specific or combination of UAS may qualify for
    the USI PRO Level 2 (Bronze) Certification.
  • PRO Level 3 (Gold): Any individual who meets all the prerequisites and holds at
    least 1,000 flight hours on a specific or combination of UAS may qualify for
    the USI PRO Level 3 (Gold) Certification

Remote pilots interested in earning a PRO certification from USI and becoming leaders in their field, can apply online.

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