As the number of commercial and military applications of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) grows, there is an increasing need for pilot training in order to catch up the control expertise with the UAV technology. The Netherlands, and partnering aerospace space company, Strat Aero, have signed a letter of their intent to establish Europe's first UAV training facility. The proposed site would have a runway of 2,440 metres in length that the Netherlands would make available to all EU member states for training on fixed- and rotary-wing UAVS, alongside a training capability simulation program offered to both commercial and military UAV operators.
That the new facility will be offering training to commercial UAV user illustrates that UAVS, particularly drones, have become a mainstream product. Drones ranging in price from $160 - $1,000 were popular choices for Christmas presents on Amazon this year and analysts expect the 89% of UAV market share that is held by the military sector to be reduced 3% to 86% over the next decade. Rising civil use for drones comes primarily from the agriculture, energy and media sectors but, although there are US Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, legislation is lagging behind the technology as the number of potential applications of UAVs grows rapidly. Current FAA guidelines prohibit a commercial drone to fly higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport. It is also against guidelines to attach a camera to a craft, to take pictures, and to sell those pictures. In response to widespread demand for the use of UAVs in certain industries, the FAA has issued a small number of commercial drone permits on a case-by-case basis, allowing drone cameras to be used for oil rig monitoring, aerial surveying and in film and video production companies