The Unmanned Safety Institute (USI), which provides remote pilot training and certification to individuals, organizations, and enterprises around the world, has launched a new Professional Remote Operator (PRO) certification.
The PRO certification program was designed to offer a new credential to remote pilots who would like to differentiate themselves from other remote pilots who simply hold an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate, according to institute officials.
The PRO program certifies 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.
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 subjects relating to UAS flight safety.
USI offers the opportunity for the learn requirements to be met online through its 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 more, officials said.
SkySkopes, a professional UAS flight operator with a team of elite UAS pilots headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D., 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 CEO 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.”
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 has been performing professional flight duties:
- PRO Basic Certification: Any individual who meets all the pre-requisites and
holds at least 50 flight hours on a specific UAS, may qualify for the
USI PRO Basic Certification.
- PRO Level 1 (Silver): Any individual who meets all the pre-requisites 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 (Bronze): Any individual who meets all the pre-requisites 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 pre-requisites 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.