Drone company selects Kyle, Texas as winter drone training site
AUSTIN, Texas - A specialized training facility in Kyle is being used to train pilots on a new drone that’s designed for farm work. A company from Iowa is wrapping up a series of classes.
The Public Safety Training Center was built by ACC. Its best known for its tactical driving track, but it’s also used to train law enforcement on how to fly drones.
Now, administrators are trying to land some commercial programs after bringing in a class to train on the DJI Agras T30 drone; it’s been flying over the public safety training center in Kyle for the past several days.
Rantizo, an Iowa based Agriculture Company, rented space there in order to train its contractors on how to fly the new drone.
"I think the regulations are becoming more refined, and defined, because we are now understanding what the flight envelopes are going to be," said Gene Robinson.
Robinson, one of the instructors, lives in Wimberley. He is not surprised the company decided to make Kyle its winter training site.
"I think today it was negative 18 degrees where they are from, so yeah, they don’t play well in cold weather," said Robinson.
For Juan Cantu, Rantizo’s Director of Drone Operations – it’s a homecoming. He is from Texas.
"We were very fortunate to find this place, so being able to train all of our contractors and all of our guys at Rantizo in a facility like this is phenomenal," said Cantu.
The cold weather that blew in Wednesday is familiar for the contractors here for the class. They are all from northern states. Among them is Troy Gibbs, whose company in Wisconsin uses drones. His company not only provides aerial services for farms, but the drones can also help repair wetlands.
"So, we can identify the invasive species with the drone, pick out just those areas to treat, and then spot treat those areas, get in and out quickly, no damages to your natural vegetation, wildlife, those types of things that when you are in a fragile environment like that you want to leave the native species where you can and get the invasive species out of there," said Gibbs.
The T30 drone was approved for use in American Airspace back in November. Rantizo is one of the few companies selling them, and they have a package deal which not only includes all the equipment, but also the training.
"This is the largest application drone, licensed in the United States," said Chief Pilot Adam Langer.
The drone package starts at about $50,000. Langer told FOX 7 efforts are also underway to get the T30 approved to do what’s called Swarming. That’s multiple aircraft working a job site at the same time.
"This is a step into the future," said Langer.
That future may also include more companies launching more campaigns from the training center in Kyle. Rantizo plans to continue spring training classes in Iowa. But the success of their Texas launch pad may be used again as the company considers setting up similar flight schools in other parts of the country.
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