Cool job for youths – drone piloting at padi fields

Dream job: Muhammad Ikmal Hafizi piloting a drone in a padi field in Kampung Simpang Lima in Sungai Besar, Selangor.

SUNGAI BESAR: Muhammad Ikmal Hafizi Mohd Nazri’s selflessness in quitting his job to return to his family home in the countryside in Sungai Besar, Selangor, to care for his unwell parents, has been unexpectedly rewarded with a new job as a drone pilot.

The 25-year-old enthusiast of remote control gadgetry had never imagined having a job which would be in sync with his hobby and, more so, to be able to do it back home.

“After I returned to look after my parents, I heard from friends that Koperasi Wawasan Tani Bhd Simpang Lima (farmers cooperative) was looking for a drone operator, so I applied and was appointed.”

Muhammad Ikmal Hafizi was one of six successful candidates chosen from a pool of 30 applicants to fly the drones for the purposes of spraying fertiliser and insecticide over padi fields.

The young man and fellow drone pilot, Mohd Afiq Haziq Sulaiman, 25, have jointly made modifications to the drones including battery usage based on the size of padi fields being attended to – these changes have enabled the drones to carry an optimum amount of fertiliser or insecticide to sprinkle over the fields, with an average plot measuring about two hectares.

Mohd Afiq, a Malaysian Skills Certificate holder, is among the first few drone pilots of the cooperative and has operated various drones including the DJI Agras MG1, a pioneer model used for padi farms in the area and requiring two pilots at a time.

Muhammad Ikmal Hafizi and Mohd Afiq have learned to control the flying altitude of the equipment and to operate the drones from 6.30am to 11am, and 5pm to midnight, when insects are active.

The pair are also part of the cooperative’s youth club Kelab Belia Wawasan and have been certified to work as drone pilots for the cooperative.

As for the income earned by drone pilots, both young men describe it as “appropriate”.

“Many people have asked me why I’m working in the padi fields when I have a diploma.

“I tell them that I feel satisfied that I get to have a job I enjoy with suitable pay, ” explained Muhammad Ikmal Hafizi. — Bernama

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