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Stéphane on a mission in the desert.
Matthieu (left) and Stéphane (right), co-owners of Belgian Drone School and DeltaCopter.
BELGIAN DRONE SCHOOL
Training Belgium’s top drone pilots TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL | PHOTOS: BELGIAN DRONE SCHOOL
From real estate and railways to the construction and customs industries, drones are becoming the buzzword of the day and the need for drone pilots has never been greater. Belgian Drone School is one of Belgium’s top training academies and prides itself on the fact that its instructors are all professional pilots and leaders in their field. The school is co-owned by Matthieu Gerard and Stéphane Tilmant, both renowned drone pilots who are regularly called upon by top European companies. As Gerard explains, his aim with the school is to share his own expertise and experience with the next generation of pilots and hire other teachers who are similarly qualified to do the same: “I started flying drones several years ago, but I quickly realised that it was actually hard to find really first-rate professionals either in Belgium or elsewhere in Europe. That is why all our instructors are experts in the drone business themselves and active pilots in my sister company, DeltaCopter, which carries out industrial inspections with drones in highly sensitive conditions. They all have something special to share 36 | Issue 61 | January 2019
with the students and can bring the benefit of their own experience.” Courses can take anything between one month and one year, depending on how fast the pupils learn. Belgium also has some of the most rigorous accreditation exams in Europe and is one of the only countries which requires students to pass two exams in order to gain a drone piloting license. However, this process ensures that Belgian pilots are immensely well qualified. As the exams are divided into two parts, theory and practice, the coursework at Belgian Drone School is similarly split. The
Matthieu at Total inspecting oil tanks seals.
theory gives students a thorough grounding in Belgian legislation, meteorology, aviation communications and the physiological aspects of drone piloting. The practical part, meanwhile, involves learning to fly drones in the field and learning figures and manoeuvres until students reach the required standard as determined by independently appointed examiners. “My aim is for Belgian Drone School to become the best school in Belgium, and I think that’s something we can definitely achieve,” concludes Gerard. Web: www.belgiandroneschool.be
Stéphane training a student at Belgian Drone School.
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.