Coronavirus: Grounded pilots take to the air in drones

15 February 2021

Airline pilots whose careers are in limbo because of COVID are in increasing demand as drone operators through their knowledge of aviation safety regulations.

UQ MBA student, Rob Sutton of Mirragin Unmanned Systems, said ex-airline pilots were in demand in the industry, which was no longer simply a hobbyist’s playground. With his company seeking to provide drone solutions for defence and emergency services, he said the complexity of the platforms involved, was significant.

“There’s a lot more that goes on behind them to make sure they’re safe and reliable and remain fit for purpose,” he said.

“There’s a huge role for aircrew and pilots who have that understanding to implement programs successfully and work collaboratively with manned aircraft.”

Mr Sutton credited his MBA studies at the University of Queensland Business School for giving him the tools to set up the company after a career as an engineer with the Australian Army.

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