Liberty University begins training with Textron's Aerosonde

By Patrick C. Miller | July 16, 2015

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics in Lynchburg, Virginia, is working with Textron Systems Unmanned Systems to offer training in small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics with an unmanned systems focus.

This month, 12 Liberty students began training on Textron’s Aerosonde unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). They will complete Aerosonde operations certification over three semesters. From its schoolhouse in Fort Pickett, Virginia, Textron Systems has graduated more than 300 students from its training who are operating the Aerosonde system around the world.

According to Liberty University, the Aerosonde system was selected for student training because of its capability, reliability and maturity. Textron said the system is delivering thousands of monthly flight hours for U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers. Most of the flight hours are being provided by Textron Systems’ operators and maintainers.

“The Liberty University School of Aeronautics is pleased to include the Aerosonde in its curriculum as we prepare our students for careers in the burgeoning UAS industry,” said Dave Young, Liberty University assistant provost for aeronautics education.

Textron Systems developed its Aerosonde sUAS operations curriculum based on its experience in designing, manufacturing, operating and supporting UAS over more than a million cumulative flight hours.

“Our Aerosonde system has proven itself as a reliable, multi-mission asset for commercial and military customers on land and at sea,” said David Phillips, Textron Systems vice president for small- and medium-endurance UAS. “The addition of an Aerosonde curriculum offering to Liberty University’s renowned School of Aeronautics offers students a unique advantage as they graduate and seek career opportunities.”

In late 2014, the Aerosonde system received a certificate of authorization for operations with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), one of six authorized test sites established by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its larger program to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.


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