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TAMK develops drone pilot and instructor training in Namibia

Published on 5.5.2023
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Darrel Und / Pexels.
Tampere University of Applied Sciences has received Finnpartnership funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' development cooperation funds for a support activity project. The project aids Radai Oy's business partnership support project. This is TAMK's first project using this funding, with which Finnish companies cooperate with developing countries.

Support can be granted for starting business activities in developing countries, which aim to establish long-term profitable commercial cooperation. The support function project must develop the local community and it must also be directly related to the project of the company seeking business partnership support. 

Radai Oy has developed a magnetic field measurement system and service that can be integrated into unmanned aerial vehicles (drone). According to Miia Mikkonen, head of international operations at Radai Oy, the service has been successfully implemented in Finland since 2016. Now Radai Oy plans to find out Namibia's market potential and build a cooperation network for a company producing magnetic field measurement services with drones.

– Cooperation with TAMK in Namibia creates the conditions for our successful operations there, says Mikkonen.

The project is connected to the Namibia cooperation project of the Tampere-based AiRRHow consortium. The aim of the Namibian counterparts is to become leading aviation experts in their continent and to develop an aviation expertise center in their region, The Center of Excellence in Civil Aviation for Africa. The AiRRHow consortium helps promote the project and takes Finnish know-how to Namibia. The consortium has existed for several years. Its goal is to develop Pirkanmaa's civil aviation in particular and create new markets for it.

The Center of Excellence agreement between Namibia and Finland was signed in Windhoek in November 2022 by Jari Skinnari, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development of Finland, and John Mutorwa, Minister of Labor and Transport of Namibia. Senior Lecturer Antti Perttula from TAMK was there with the rest of the AiRRHow delegation. In April 2023, the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö also got to know the project when he visited Namibia. 

TAMK takes its pioneer lessons to Namibia

TAMK's role in this undertaking is to develop drone pilot training and drone instructor training together with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and to clarify and advance Namibian regulation using the regulation related to drone operations in Finland as a model.

– In Finland, the regulations of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom demand a drone pilot's license from professional drone pilots. Its holder is allowed to fly light equipment far from people. Practical flying experience is required after the basic level test to complete the next step, which gives permission to fly a drone of a certain weight closer to people and settlements, says Antti Perttula.

TAMK has acted as an active pioneer in drone training and research and as a builder of the Finnish drone expert network for over ten years, with Perttula as leading expert. According to Perttula, there is a growing demand for TAMK's strong drone expertise also outside Finland. Discussions related to drone training have already taken place with several foreign counterparts. This project in Namibia is the first, which has progressed to practical implementation with the support of external project funding.

TAMK has also received funding for another, smaller project in Rwanda, Africa. It maps logistics needs and plans, for example, the contents of drone training with the local university.

Further information:

Senior lecturer Antti Perttula, School of Industrial Technology, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tel. +358 50 464 4550, antti.perttula [at] (antti[dot]perttula[at]tuni[dot]fi)

Project manager Kalle Tammi, School of Built Environment and Bioeconomy, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tel. +358 40 672 5378, kalle.tammi [at] (kalle[dot]tammi[at]tuni[dot]fi)