Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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32 unmanned systems inside August/September ugust/Septe August/September August/September be August/September 2016 0 2016 6 2016 AIR TRAINING Photos courtesy of (Top Right) Kansas State University Marketing and Communications and (Bottom Right) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University T here is palpable excitement within the unmanned aircraft industry about the opportunities opening up now that re- strictions on commercial drone f lights are be- ing relaxed. One sector is moving quickly to adapt to the new landscape: pilot schools. Not only will the Federal Aviation Administration's easier-to- live-with Part 107 rules unleash drone service firms—firms whose growth could boost the de- mand for skilled operators—the new rules will make training that next generation of pilots easier to do. L ike f ir ms using unma nned aircraft systems (UAS) for map- ping, filming and inspection, pilot schools have long been considered for-profit drone operators and have been working under the same sharp f light limitations as everyone else. "To provide that type of training, that is considered a commercial operation—be- cause we're charging tuition for those opera- tions," said Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program, based in Salina. DRONE PILOT COURSES TAKING OFF Now, however, schools that have been rely- ing heavily on simulators are redesigning their curricula and creating new classes to give stu- dents more hands-on experience with multi- rotor and fixed-wing drones. Though f light ex- perience is not required under the new rules, it could be a competitive advantage—especially for those seeking jobs at firms using commer- cial-grade aircraft and high-end sensors. "Part 107 facilitates the appetite for profes- sionals," Carraway said. Kansas State Polytechnic Kansas State has been offering hands-on training to students through a Section 333 ex- emption from the FAA—the first school to do so. Once Part 107 comes into force, the school will offer even more options. Students will be able to take one of two tracks: aviation technology, which focuses on the operations side of UAS, and engineering technology, focusing on integrating sensors and systems. But even in the aviation track students will develop skills that go well beyond operating a joystick or setting waypoints. Carraway said graduates would be trained to identify data "PART 107 facilitates the appetite for professionals." Kurt Carraway, executive director Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Kansas State Polytechnic Schools are boosting classes, flight time to meet expected demand for pilots. by Rachel Kaufman