Drone company chooses Kyle, Texas as winter drone training site

A specialized training center in Kyle is being used to train pilots on a new drone designed for agricultural work. A company in Iowa completes a series of courses.

The Public Safety Training Center was built by the ACC. It is best known for its tactical driving track, but it is also used to train law enforcement to fly drones.

Now administrators are trying to land commercial programs after bringing in a class to train on the DJI Agras T30 drone; it has been flying over Kyle’s Public Safety Training Center for several days.

Rantizo, an agricultural company based in Iowa, has rented space there to train its contractors to fly the new drone.

“I think the regulations are becoming more refined and defined as we now understand what the flight envelopes will be,” Gene Robinson said.

Robinson, one of the instructors, lives in Wimberley. He’s not surprised the company decided to make Kyle their winter training site.

“I think today was minus 18 where they’re from, so yeah they don’t play well in cold weather,” Robinson said.

For Juan Cantu, director of drone operations at Rantizo, it’s a return to basics. He’s from Texas.

“We were very lucky to find this place, so to be able to train all of our contractors and all of our guys at Rantizo in a facility like this is phenomenal,” Cantu said.

The cold weather that blew in on Wednesday is familiar to entrepreneurs here for the class. They are all from the northern states. Among them is Troy Gibbs, whose Wisconsin company uses drones. His company not only provides aerial services for farms, but drones can also help repair wetlands.

“So we can identify invasive species with the drone, select only areas to treat, and then treat those areas, get in and out quickly, without damaging your natural vegetation, wildlife, those types of things that when you’re in an environment fragile like that, you want to leave native species where you can and weed out invasive species,” Gibbs said.

The T30 drone was approved for use in US airspace in November. Rantizo is one of the few companies that sells them, and they have a package that not only includes all the equipment, but the training as well.

“This is the largest enforcement drone, licensed in the United States,” said chief pilot Adam Langer.

The drone package starts at around $50,000. Langer told FOX 7 that efforts are also underway to get the T30 approved to do what’s called spin-off. It’s several planes working on a construction site at the same time.

“It’s a step into the future,” Langer said.

That future could also include more companies launching more campaigns from Kyle’s training center. Rantizo plans to continue spring training classes in Iowa. But the success of their launch pad in Texas could be used again as the company plans to establish similar flight schools in other parts of the country.

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