The gift of flight: Kansas State Polytechnic offers hobbyists UAS flight safety instruction as holiday drone sales expected to rise
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015
Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program is offering a half-day flight safety instruction course for hobbyists on Jan. 23, 2016. | Download this photo.
SALINA — As the estimated number of unmanned aircraft systems owners is expected to dramatically grow this holiday season, the UAS program at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is offering a half-day course specifically for hobbyists to ensure proper use and safety.
Kansas State Polytechnic's inaugural UAS Multirotor Hobby course will be Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, on campus. Content will focus on two areas: classroom education on the Federal Aviation Administration's rules and regulations for hobby applications of small UAS, and personal flight instruction with the program's aviation experts in the newly built flying pavilion. 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.
"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. We're thrilled to be able to offer our experience and the campus's innovative technology to make a positive impact on hobby operations."
One of the most popular projected gift items this holiday season is small UAS, or drones, as the U.S. Department of Transportation expects as many as 400,000 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.
Along with learning how to fly, participants in the course will be educated on spatial awareness to ensure they understand the risks of operating near other aircraft in flight 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.
The UAS Multirotor Hobby course will begin with classroom instruction at either 8 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., per the participants' preference. After completing two hours of technical UAS education, attendees will then 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.
In November, Kansas State Polytechnic received approval from the FAA for unmanned commercial flight training. Under the new authorization, the UAS program will implement structured flight training curriculum for undergraduate students starting in January 2016 and currently is offering customized training and consulting services for commercial UAS operators and industry partners.
Kansas State Polytechnic plans to offer additional UAS hobbyist courses in 2016.
To register for Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS Multirotor Hobby course, visit http://polytechnic.k-state.edu/profed/uashobby. To inquire about commercial flight training, contact Travis Balthazor at 785-826-8557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.