Featured NewsTrending NewsDrone EducationHigher Learning: Troy University Offers Hands-On UAS Course


1 September 2022

One class in Troy University’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Minor degree program in drone operations is already paying dividends for students.

The course, Remote Pilot Familiarization, gives students the practical airmanship knowledge to successfully pass the FAA’s Part 107 Remote Pilot examination, as well as practical experience in quadcopter and fixed wing drone operations.

“This allows an individual to act as the Remote Pilot in Command for commercial drone operations,” says Colonel Al Allenback, USAF (Ret), UAS Program Director in the Geospatial Informatics Department. “This class is offered every spring semester one day a week on the Troy campus, and is designed to front load the FAA airmanship academics before Spring Break, then conduct the practical laboratory and field drone flying afterwards when the weather was more favorable.” 

Troy computer science major senior Riley Bates, armed with her academic instruction up to Spring Break 2020, took the FAA exam over the break.

“I recently passed the Part 107 remote pilot test, and I got accepted to do research at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in UAV cybersecurity this summer,” says Bates.  “Remote Pilot Familiarization gave me the knowledge and resources to be able to accomplish these things. This class is by far my favorite and most practical of any college course I have taken.”

[Learn More: New Unmanned Aerial Systems course helps students earn FAA certification - Troy Today]

Riley along with two other Troy University students who have taken the class have earned their Remote Pilot Certification through the UAS program at Troy.

Allenback conducts classes in drone operations, pre-flight ,and actual flying using remote technology to give the students the best possible virtual experience.

“I run it like military or commercial pilot training, rules and regulations, systems and operations, safety, and use the full up DJI and senseFly eBee flight simulators in the classroom before we go out to the field and fly," he says.

The UAS minor is offered online and falls under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Geospatial Informatics Department. The minor can be associated with any major and includes courses in UAS piloting familiarization and FAA Part 107, remote sensing, human factors and safety, UAS design, legal and ethical considerations, and research into real-world UAS applications.

“Drones are in every area of our lives now—such as emergency response, fire suppression, agriculture, construction and surveying, delivery of supplies and goods, and even life-saving at the beach,” says Allenback. “Since unmanned aerial systems are used in almost every activity, every industry or commercial endeavor will need people who not only know how to fly them, but also how to best use them for a community’s or company’s advantage. The UAS Minor can be used with almost any major field of study. We are building CDO’s—Chief Drone Officers!”

The Federal Aviation Administration recently selected Troy University’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program to be a part of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI).  

“I am extremely proud that Troy University has been accepted into this prestigious national drone collegiate studies program,” says Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of TROY. “We are the first institution in Alabama to join this consortium of schools offering courses in Unmanned Aerial Systems.” 

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