UAS Aerial Ignition Academy


UAS Aerial Ignition

What is the academy? The UAS Aerial Ignition Academy is a unique program to provide maximum on the job experience with unmanned systems and advanced curriculum of both classroom instruction and foundational topics for UAS aerial ignition carded pilots. Aerial ignition candidates will spend three consecutive weeks learning about and operating UAS and the Ignis II payload. The first week is classroom oriented dedicated to payload orientation, firing techniques and understanding mission profiles. The remaining two weeks candidates will team up with qualified aerial ignition pilots and will grow confidence and gain experience operating the payload daily while supporting prescribed fires. The academy concludes with a final closeout near the end of the three weeks where all teams will reconvene and share experiences and expectations moving forward.

Why is attending the academy important?  Using prescribed fires, the National Interagency UAS Training Program and the National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center (PFTC) have partnered to ensure that our natural resources are protected while proactively managing the risk of wildfire. It is critical that prescribed fires and UAS missions are adequately planned and executed by personnel with the appropriate training and certification, as improperly executed missions can result in serious safety and legal consequences. 

Why the Southeast?  The Southeast is an ideal site for the Aerial Ignition Academy due to the year-round burning programs of multiple agencies, complex airspace, broad prescription windows, and the high level of interagency cooperation. This variety of field experience with prescriptions, planning procedures and techniques of various agencies offers an accelerated learning opportunity for the participants to be successful and prepared for professional operations on all UAS aerial ignition operations.    

Professionalize – Stabilize - Standardize 

The Interagency UAS Program is building the pathway towards professional pilots. Strong fundamentals, unified delivery and experiential learning are critically important. This Academy will be a pillar of the program leveraging quality training opportunities with professional cadre and participants leading the way.  

Who can attend?  An experiential learning environment committed to learning in action and training for success will be the foundation of this professional program. It is imperative that our instructors and candidates have this mentality. UAS is entering an era where airspace complexity is increasing. With an emphasis on safety as the number one priority, professional training must be the hallmark for what right looks like. Pilots in the academy will build on their knowledge and skills learned through the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot, Basic UAS Remote Pilot A-450, and UAS Incident Operations S-373. To date, Aerial Ignitions will be the most advanced training pilots will receive. The skills required to complete the academy training and future missions will be challenging, unlike any UAS training to date. Candidacy requires agency approval (for additional information on participation please visit the Candidate Nomination tab on the National Interagency UAS Training Program Learning Portal page). Pilot candidates should have agency owned and approved UAS, payloads, and associated support kit on-site and throughout the academy.