On February 15, 2017, DJI and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) announced that they were coming together to form a partnership. And is exciting people who want to see the drone industry grow and thrive. As DJI continues to release more incredible aircraft, they are not only filling niches the market needs, they are getting drones in the hands of people that you’d never expect to become part of this developing technology.
Before DJI entered the market and engineered consumer drones that anyone can fly, the sport and hobby of quadcopters and other multirotors was somewhat self-regulating. You needed to build your own aircraft, which was very complicated, and you needed to learn to fly it with little to no automated stabilization. The AMA helped this, bringing pilots together at AMA airfields and allowing them to share their knowledge with each other at local Charter Clubs.
Now that almost anyone can fly a drone thanks to companies like DJI, people often overlook the need to practice and get an in-depth knowledge of their aircraft and safety. Early adopters of multi-rotor technology see the consequences of this and often express their fears that new pilots can get too eager and fly their drones in an unsafe manner without understanding why.
It’s great to see DJI and the AMA working together to address these potential issues. According to a media advisory released by the two organizations “DJI and the AMA will develop and promote a joint AMA membership offering; advocate for the accessibility, affordability and safety of personal drones; offer dedicated online support for pilots; and develop youth programs to nurture interest in pathways to aviation and technology careers.” The focus on young pilots is particularly promising. It’s clear that drones are letting young imaginations take off as they will have the passion that drives the industry forward. “Recreational and educational operations are a key source of innovation in technology, and model aviation in particular inspires many to pursue careers in sciences, robotics, aviation, and beyond,” said Ryan Tong at DJI.
DJI being directly involved in the education and mentorship of young, up and coming RC pilots who may have never had an opportunity such as this is an admirable program. It will help the future of the drone industry to progress in a positive and publicly responsible future. In the recent past, drone pilots have been painted in a dark and negative light, if only from the few pilots who have been flying without consideration of regulation and common courtesy.
It will be interesting to see how this relationship actually changes the hobby. Some things to look forward to in the near future are the promotion of the AMA Public Safety course which stresses actual piloting skills in real life scenarios and a discount on DJI products to support AMA educational efforts.