Kansas State offers flying course for drone hobbyists

By Patrick C. Miller | December 10, 2015

Kansas State University will offer a half-day flying course to drone hobbyists in early 2016 to encourage safety and proper flying techniques.

With the number of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) expected to increase significantly during the holidays, Kansas State Polytechnic's inaugural UAS Multirotor Hobby course will be Saturday, Jan. 23, on campus in the new flying pavilion.

"We take safe flight operations very seriously and one of the cornerstones of safety is education," said Kurt Carraway, Kansas State Polytechnic's acting UAS program manager. "While it's exciting that interest in unmanned aircraft systems is flourishing, we feel it's important to help hobbyists understand the regulatory framework associated with UAS and to allow us to provide some safe operating tips.”

Course content will focus on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) small UAS rules and regulations for hobby applications and personal flight instruction with the program's aviation experts. The entire course will run three hours and will equip participants with essential knowledge needed to fly judiciously and confidently as hobbyists in the national airspace system.

In addition to learning how to fly, course participants will be educated on spatial awareness to ensure they understand the risks of operating near other aircraft and people on the ground. Hobbyists also will become familiar with UAS system safety precautions related to components such as electric motors powered by lithium polymer batteries and sharp, fast-moving propellers that pose risks to people and property.

"Operating unmanned aircraft is fun, but just as with many other fun activities, it is important to receive education and training in order to maximize enjoyment and instill a culture of safety," Carraway said.

After completing two hours of technical UAS education, attendees will receive active flight training for the last hour. Registrants under the age of 14 must have a parent or guardian accompany them. The cost of the half-day course is $200.

The U.S. Department of Transportation expects as many as 400,000 UAS to be sold. The agency has stressed its concern over the growing number of hobby pilots with little to no aviation experience behind the controls of unmanned aircraft.


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