On June 21, 2018 a small unmanned aircraft went whizzing over Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium. Daniel Kuhar, a student at Blacksburg High School and member of the BHS Drone Club stood on the field, eyes fixed on the small craft as it zipped its way overhead, fingers twitching slight adjustments to its path on the remote controls.
Veronica Spradlin stood close by, monitoring the drone’s progress on a phone plugged into the control console, ready to take command should need arise. An Engineering teacher at Blacksburg high, Spradlin was the remote pilot in command for this mission, responsible for the safe completion of the first ever drone flyover of Lane Stadium.
Through a partnership with Liberty University, three unmanned systems (UMS) courses offered at any Virginia community college can now transfer to Liberty as equivalent UAS courses in their B.S. in Aeronautics–Unmanned Aerial Systems Cognate degree program.
Virginia community college students who complete the three-course sequence, UMS 107 (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Remote Pilot Ground School), UMS 111 (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) I), and UMS 211 (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) II) can transfer these courses to Liberty University for equivalency with two Liberty courses, AVIA 230 (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and AVIA 235 (Small UAS Ground). This partnership makes it easier for students to transfer community college credit to Liberty University, a four-year institution, which helps them to further their academic pursuits in UAS. The GeoTEd-UAS project hopes to facilitate more similar transfer agreements between VCCS colleges and four-year institutions.
Photographs from the 2017 GeoTEd-UAS Faculty Institute.
Funded by the NSF and administered by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), the Geospatial Technician Education-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (GeoTEd-UAS) project is providing professional development and training in UAS for educators. On May 20-25, the second UAS Faculty Professional Development Institute will be hosted by Virginia Tech.
Media are invited to attend. Please see attached press release for more information.
Pictured are students at Thomas Nelson Community College learning to repair and maintain drones in the UMS 177 (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Components and Maintenance) class. The UMS 177 class is one of three courses that lead to a Career Studies Certificate in sUAS Flight Operations Technician. Thomas Nelson is the first community college in the Commonwealth to have three students complete a pathway in sUAS.
On Friday, April 20 the GeoTEd-UAS team led by Virginia Space Grant Consortium and faculty and students from Thomas Nelson and Eastern Shore Community will participate in student service learning UAS mission to support a community project. Students and faculty with gain hands-on experience mapping with drones and the use of a thermal imagery camera while conducting some missions on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Students from UAS and GIS classes will participate.
The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Virginia Coast Reserve and the community of Oyster are working together to design, implement and maintain a shoreline nature trail along the eastern tip of the village. The Eastern Shore Community Foundation is providing funding for the trail, which will allow public access and recreation with unobstructed views of southern barrier islands off the Virginia Coast. The trail project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018.
The student service learning project is part of the GeoTEd-UAS project in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
GeoTEd-UAS is primarily directed towards the institution of UAS courses and career pathways in Virginia’s Community College System (VCCS).
That said, it is essential that a UAS pipeline of pre-college students be established to to ensure a continued interest in UAS at community colleges throughout Virginia.
In response to this need, GeoTEd-UAS has conducted many pre-college UAS events at partnering colleges, and supported student scholarships and internships in unmanned systems.
We are also establishing dual-enrollment, transfer, and articulation agreements with several four year universities. GeoTEd has sponsored and conducted several events designed for pre-college students and their teachers.
These events typically include a discussion of UAS applications, UAS data collection, assembling a drone kit, and hands-on flying instruction that generally culminates in a tournament involving flying drones through an obstacle course.
Participants of these events have ranged from middle school students to high school faculty. GeoTEd-UAS has worked with the Greater Peninsula Governor’s STEM Academy, the Hampton Roads Cyber Alliance, Materials Conference (M-STEM) led by the NSF-funded National Materials Center, and many other organizations.
There are a few good tutorials from AmericaView here. The titles include: Understanding the use of sUAS to Assess Rainwater Harvesting Potential for Urban Multi-family Housing: Introduction and Rainwater Harvesting (RH), Geotagging Images from the 3DR Solo, and Mastering the Aeronautical Chart-An Introduction to VFR Sectionals.
This certificate is designed to prepare participants to skillfully fly and maintain an sUAS and to earn the FAA Part 107 certificate. Knowledge of the safe and legal operation of an unmanned aircraft (drone) and the collection of imagery for customers is on the forefront of employer demand for many new and emerging fields. This program develops these competencies and allows participants to succeed in this challenging and demanding field.
The Center of Excellence is designed to lead the expansion of the autonomous systems industry in Virginia. “The autonomous systems industry is one of the cornerstones of the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe.
Virginia is home to a vast array of autonomy related assets located across the Commonwealth, as well as an FAA test site (Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership).
Virginia has garnered a reputation as a leader in autonomous systems with industry estimates consistently placing the Commonwealth among the top 10 states positioned to reap the largest economic benefit from the industry’s $82 billion forecasted economic impact through 2025.
The newly established Center will serve as the ombudsman and advocate for this industry in the Commonwealth and will as act as a champion for the development and deployment of all aspects of the autonomous systems industry. Find out more here.