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Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus wins AUVSI XCELLENCE Award

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Xcellence award

Kansas State University Polytechnic unmanned aircraft systems program faculty and staff accept an XCELLENCE Award at the recent Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International XPOTENTIAL awards ceremony in Chicago. From left, back row: Duke Papworth, Trevor Witt, David Burchfield, Nathan Maresch and Spencer Schrader. Front row: Kirsten Zoller, Kurt Barnhart, Kurt Carraway, Tom Haritos, Tim Bruner and Travis Balthazor. | Download this photo.


SALINA — The unmanned aircraft systems program at Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus has been named the second-place winner in the Training and Education category of the XCELLENCE Awards by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International or AUVSI.

Kansas State Polytechnic was selected from a pool of accomplished applicants. Winners were announced at the association's XPONENTIAL awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 30, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The Kansas State Polytechnic program nomination detailed its plethora of UAS training options, which range from for-credit bachelor degrees to noncredit short courses customized for specific professional applications. The program's training options include Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certification for students. Degree-seeking students not only receive flight training in a range of multi-rotor and fixed-wing platforms, but they also become instructor pilots of these systems. As with all aircraft, safety is at the forefront of all flight training courses offered by Kansas State Polytechnic.

"I am so proud to be part of the fantastic UAS program at Kansas State Polytechnic,” said Kurt J. Carraway, UAS executive director of the campus's Applied Aviation Research Center. "The UAS training and education team includes campus faculty, staff and our incredible pool of students. Our education model is similar to our manned professional pilot program, which means we use upper-class undergraduate students as flight instructors of some of our courses. This prepares our students to lead aircrews in a professional manner upon graduation."

Carraway said the Kansas State Polytechnic UAS training and education model works, as evidenced by its incredibly high post-graduation placement rates and feedback from corporate partners that hire the program's graduates.

"We are also humbled to have such strong partnerships with our public safety agencies across the state, which includes training emergency managers, law enforcement officers and firefighters on practical applications for incorporating UAS operations into their toolkit for response options," Carraway said.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International's XCELLENCE Awards honor innovators in the unmanned systems industry, including individuals and organizations, with a demonstrated commitment to advancing technology, leading and promoting safe operations, and developing programs that use unmanned systems to improve the human condition.

"The rapid growth of the unmanned systems industry is reshaping our future by expanding business markets, providing consumers with innovative solutions and even saving lives," said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International. "The XCELLENCE awards recognize companies and individuals who are achieving remarkable results with unmanned systems technology to benefit our communities."

Written by

Kim Bird