Ever fantasized about piloting an unmanned drone? Well, Mexico is home to one of the first drone flying schools in the entire region, namely Drone Academy.
Since opening its doors last year, the academy has received hundreds of students, ranging from amateur photographers to government researchers. The school accepts applicants eager to learn piloting skills for filming and aerial photography, aerial surveillance, search and rescue, scientific investigation and even armed drones.
The practical sessions involve students undergoing a series of tasks designed to manage the flight of the drones, including take-off, landing, displacements and how to operate the drone in manual and automatic mode.
“We opened the school because we saw customers buying the drones and did not dare to fly them, said Drone Academy’s Director, Jose Luis Gonzalez, in an interview with El Empresario. “Some had paid MX$7,000 or more and they were afraid to lose their new purchase.”
Courses at the academy are held in Mexico City and range from MX$6,990 for a basic aerial photography package, to MX$11,990 for the mapping and survey course.
The entrepreneur is also the founder of Droneshop, an online store that sells these devices and their accessories. But Gonzalez isn’t the only one developing the Mexican drone market.
Unmanned Systems Technology International released a drone called MX-1, which was marketed as “a proudly Mexican aircraft backed by thousands of hours of conceptualization, design, prototyping and flight tests,” according to its website. The MX-1 drone can allegedly fly for up to seven consecutive hours and reach a cruising speed of 68 mph. Other companies such as 3D Robotics are also fabricating drones in Mexico.
“Mexico has low production costs and there’s skilled labor that can turn the nation into a key player in the drone industry,” Gonzalez said. “There’s a big entrepreneurial spirit here.”