The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks is setting up a program to train foreign students to fly unmanned aircraft.
UND's Unmanned Aircraft program director, Al Palmer, said the university is buying three flight simulators, which can teach pilots to fly aircraft such as the Predator, for an Air Force research project. The university plans to use the equipment to attract international students.
"They'll be systems, generic systems that would allow us to train the basic concepts of unmanned aircraft systems," Palmer said, "without getting into the real sensitive details of how sensors work and how you analyze the data that comes off those sensors."
Palmer said any training program that includes international students must be approved by the State Department, a process that takes several months.
He added that there is growing demand worldwide for unmanned aircraft pilot training.
"United Arab Emirates was the first to purchase the export version of the Predator, and I suspect there will be other countries that will take a look at using those devices as well," he said. "They'll be looking for organizations for training and, of course, we would like to provide that training."
Palmer planned to attend an unmanned aircraft conference in Abu Dahbi later this month to gauge interest in the training program.
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