March 24, 2017

Unmanned Aircraft Courses Offered by CSM

unmanned aircraft
Noah Zwick, left, and Jeff Seehase work on their flying skills during the Introduction to Small Unmanned Aircraft System course at the La Plata Campus.

Two classes have been added to the spring schedule at the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown Campus, helping anyone who wants to learn to safely operate and use an unmanned aircraft, or drone.

The first course is for those who want to use drones for personal enjoyment. The second is for drone owners who want to use it for commercial purposes and need to pursue FAA certification.

Learn about the courses during a free information session Tuesday, April 4, from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Leonardtown Campus in Building C, Room 114.

“Drones are for everyone,” said Bill Winters, instructor for both of the courses. “You can use these for home videos. You can use them in your business. There are unlimited applications.”

Drone sales doubled between 2016 and 2015, so the FAA is encouraging drone owners to fly safely and has developed strict rules and regulations on the operation of aircraft.

“Every drone that meets FAA criteria as a sUAS must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration,” Winters said. “The Federal Aviation Administration … would like anyone who receives a sUAS to know the rules and regulations before they take to the air.” The two courses are designed to provide that training.

Introduction to Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) (AVN-5010) is a 12-hour class that will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 18-27, from 5:30 to 8:30 in the evening. Students will come away from the course with their own drone and the necessary software, along with the skills to use it.

Remote Pilot Test Prep (AVN-5020) is an six-hour class on Tuesday and Thursday, May 2 and 4, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm that will help pilots prepare for the FAA certification test. As of August 2016, FAA pilot certification is required of anyone operating a drone for their business.

“The College of Southern Maryland is excited to offer these new courses on this emerging technology,” Dr. Daniel Mosser, CSM vice president of continuing education and workforce development, said. “There are countless applications and workforce impacts expected, and we are offering the most comprehensive, up-to-date course material available so that our students can be among those who are capturing this technology’s potential.”

Reggie Young of Prince Frederick participated in CSM’s inaugural drone course, held earlier this year at the La Plata Campus. The first course was a combination of the two courses being offered at the Leonardtown Campus. “I liked the material that was presented and the obstacle course challenge to fly the drone through,” he said. “I think this course could really benefit people who want to learn to fly drones who’ve never had any previous experience.”

“The CSM program is geared to empower enthusiasts with the skills they need to enjoy flight in a safe and controlled manner whether you are a beginner or experienced pilot,” Mr. Winters said. “Career opportunities for students with drone training are endless and include military drone pilot, firefighter, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, oil and gas operations, traffic reporting, agriculture, forestry, engineering, commercial contractors, film, and other industries. The world of sUAS is exploding and CSM can provide you with the skill to be a hobbyist or begin your career in the growing commercial world.”

Mr. Winters was introduced to the small unmanned aircraft program at the National Security Agency, and he helped with the drone course offered at the La Plata Campus earlier this year. He is a certified FAA pilot and has been operating sUAS commercially for five years.

The two courses were developed by CSM in partnership with SkyOps, a technology transfer company that creates training experiences that prepare the American workforce for new jobs and business models created by emerging technology. This partnership between the college and SkyOps allows CSM to lead innovation in the region by offering a nationally recognized curriculum.

To register and for more information, visit CSM’s website. For additional assistance, email conedops@csmd.edu or call 301-539-4760.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit their Leader member page.

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