Clark State College Adds Drone Classes as Demand Grows!

Dear Commons Community,

Clark State College has begun offering courses to create more licensed drone operators, given the use of drones by so many industries from emergency services to real estate agents, videographers, agriculture and construction.  I also suspect that there is growing interest in all aspects of drone development and deployment especially in the STEM fields. As reported by the Springfield News-Sun.

“The continued rise of drone technology has transformed the Dayton region into the leading area for development, testing and flights of innovative UAS technology. In partnership with the Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Air National Guard, AFRL, regional colleges and universities, and private industries, Ohio has become a destination of choice for UAS researchers, developers, manufacturers, suppliers, trainers and educators,” according to the Dayton Development Coalition.

Shannon Joyce Neal, a spokesperson for the Dayton Development Coalition, said drones are an exciting field right now.“This is a sector the state and region have been working to support for close to a decade, with a long list of partners working together to bring investment and jobs into the region,” she said. “Over the years we have shared the region’s assets and resources at trade shows like AUVSI Xponential and worked with the Air Force and the state of Ohio to develop SkyVision.”

Adam Parrillo, assistant dean of the school of business and applied technologies and GIS/Geospatial program coordinator at Clark State College, said “there is an increasing interest in the field as federal, state and local governments support the use of drones, and as drone costs decrease while the technology gets better.”

Parrillo said the college wants to be “on the front edge of connecting our community with this industry demand” and is now offering a second drone license course through their Workforce and Business Solutions. They offered its first two-day course in March and had five people participate.

“Now that we have a generation of individuals that have had drones for recreational purposes, they are looking for opportunities like this or don’t know about opportunities like this,” Parrillo said. “Part of what we do as a community college is inform our area about these real opportunities for professional and personal growth.”

The Drone Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) License Prep Course for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Operations, Planning, and Piloting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 13 and 14, according to a release from the college.

“Being licensed for commercial drone use is increasingly popular and useful in a variety of fields,” said Gerritt Smith, director of Clark State Workforce and Business Solutions. “Emergency service agencies, real estate agents, photographers and videographers, agriculture, construction and many more industries can utilize drone flying and imaging to enhance their businesses and services.”

Elaine Bryant, Executive Vice President of Aerospace and Defense at the development coalition, said drones have become increasingly common in our daily lives.

“While uses like package delivery and video are well known, drones are excellent, and increasingly common, for reducing risk in everything from infrastructure maintenance to disaster aid. In places where it’s difficult for humans to venture, drones can often be their eyes, ears and more. Licensed operators are essential to ensure public safety during these flights,” she said.

Clark State initially offered the course, Parrillo said, because drones are useful tools for collecting many different types of data from mapping to photography, and even real-time surveillance.

“Drones are increasingly used across industry sectors, including emergency service agencies, real estate, photographers and videographers, agriculture, construction, inspection. To undertake these activities, companies and organizations must have certified remote pilots through the FAA,” he said. “We thought, what about those that don’t have a formal drone background or don’t have the time to enroll in a college program, but may want to use their acquired skills in a more productive way? This could be that door.”

The two-day course will prepare students for the Part 107 License Exam by providing a hands-on opportunity to practice drone flying through simulation and on mini and mid-sized unmanned aerial drones, and students will get a copy of the ASA 2021 Remote Pilot Test Prep guide to prepare for the licensing exam, the release stated.

“While individuals can fly recreationally without, the certification must be obtained to do any commercial (receive financial benefit) activity with a drone,” Parrillo said. “While it is only a 60 question multiple-choice knowledge examination, you must know the regulations for drone activity including the various classifications of airspace, the basics of drone safety, how to read air charts, understand weather conditions, and flight crew management.”

Parrillo said it can be challenging to navigate all of the information and this course can help guide potential pilots.

“Once licensed, the world of drones becomes much more tangible in terms of jobs and even careers. Though the UAS market is still being worked out, there should be real opportunities for those that get into this field earlier than later,” he said. “We hope that this workshop not only assists individuals in the preparation to become remote pilots but also links them into Clark State’s opportunities to get hands-on flight time and practice activities that mirror current commercial activities.”

The course is $375 per participant and Clark State will provide all needed equipment. To register, visit the college’s website under News.

Bryant said Clark State’s location is an ideal location for UAS operator training due to being minutes from the Ohio UAS Center and the Springfield Beckley Airport. She said Sinclair Community College also offers UAS-related courses and certifications, as well as being a national leader in the field.

“Adding another program to this ecosystem strengthens the Dayton Region’s position in the industry and provides additional opportunities for partnerships. With the great work at Sinclair and Clark State, this region is once again leading the revolution in flight, just like the Wright Brothers did more than 100 years ago,” she said.

As for the future of drones, Parrillo said there will be a demand for individuals that have experience in all aspects. He said as the industry develops, there will be increasingly specialization and more automation.

Bryant said drones have the potential to revolutionize transportation.

“The future of flight will come from the convergence of UAS and eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. The regular use of small, agile aircraft capable of carrying several passengers, with or without a pilot, is within sight. Those aircraft are coming to Springfield, and their pilots will learn how to fly there, too,” she said.

It all makes sense!



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