This is the journey of Saravana Raju who hails from a fishing hamlet in Chennai to being one among the experience drone pilot today training future drone pilots at CASR RPTO MIT Anna University . The story of Saravana has its origins in MR MOSS a simple, rugged , crash resistant trainers , easy to repair RC Plane that was marketed by RCFORALL an earlier Avatar of ZUPPA GeoNavTech .
Saravana has evolved today to be one among India’s versatile Drone Pilot capable of operating a range of drones like heavy pesticide spraying multicopters , Hybrid VTOL’s , Helicopters etc . Today Saravana performs a range of drone related activities including training , survey/mapping , pesticide spraying to name a few
Understanding factors that enabled Saravana and many others like him to shift from their traditional occupations to Drone piloting is critical to unlocking the huge potential offered by the evolving drone ecosystem in India .
The most important factor was the Aircraft Mr MOSS which was radical different from other trainers in the following ways :
1. It was made of crash resistant , low cost , easy to replace plastic parts like the glass fibre stick fuselage and unbreakable COROPLAST boards ( no parking signs tied on lampposts and gates ) unlike the fragile and easily breakable balsa wood used on other Trainer aircrafts of those times .
2. Its electric power system cost around a fifth the cost of a IC Engines being used on conventional trainers of that time .
3. Over all the cost of Mr MOSS as a Trainer plane was 20% the cost of any other trainer RC Plane being used at that time .
4. The aircraft was light in weight as compared to other trainers while being more crash resistant
5. Modular fully aatmanirbhar design and economical parts availability
All the above factors instilled a significantly higher level of confidence among trainees , gave them considerably more airtime while reducing downtime and keeping costs low . The resultant comfort level was the most important factor that encouraged the likes of Saravana to develop skills critical for the scaling of the drone industry going forward .
Replicating these factors in a drone is critical for realizing the vision of India as a global drone hub by 2030 .
Retaining its passion to expand the adoption of drones ZUPPA once again has dug deep into its past by developing a Trainer drone that meets these requirements .
The soon to be launched AJEET MINI is the result
AJEET MINI ZUPPA’s Trainer drone meets all these criterion being
· Rugged , crash resistant
· Low cost of drones and replacement parts
· Light weight
· Easy to fly , repair and maintain
AJEET MININ shall be a huge boon to RPTO’s across India enabling them to layer their training programs into Flight training and Application training phases .
The Flight Training phase shall familiarize , instill confidence in trainees to fly drones and impart basic control techniques and operate drones in various modes from manual to fully autonomous .
On completion of the flight training phase the trainees could then graduate to higher category application specific drone training .
This would reduce losses for RPTO’s by way of crashes on costly application specific drones. It will also ensure trainee competency when entrusted with high value application specific drones for use cases like pesticide spraying , mapping , logistics etc .
It would introduce a system of graded training like the one that exists in commercial pilot licensing .
By layering Drone Training into Flight and Category specific Training the number of RPTOs for flight training can be rapidly increased thanks to the lower entry costs .
This would be a huge advantage for Category specific RPTO's requiring higher levels of investment by providing them proven flight trained and certified pilots there by reducing their losses on account of pilot errors .
This layering will be ideally suited for the mass skill development initiative envisaged by the government fast tracking the vision of India as a GLOBAL DRONE HUB much before 2030 .