Since Atlantic Cape Community College launched a special topics class on unmanned aircraft systems in 2014, interest in the small aircraft has exploded as law enforcement, researchers and hobbyists explore their uses.
The college owns four UAS and recently received a Certificate of Authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing the college to conduct flights for researching the effectiveness of a small UAS for agricultural crop surveillance.
The college flies its Draganflyer X4ES at the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, a substation of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers University, in Chatsworth.
An exemption to allow the college to fly UAS anywhere in the United States for training and demonstration purposes is expected, which will allow Atlantic Cape to expand its program to include training for operators, says Assistant Professor James Taggart.
Currently, the Aviation Studies program at Atlantic Cape provides an overview of UAS in the Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems course. Remote Sensing Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems explores post-processing of aerial data, both geospatial and imagery, for remote sensing.
Once all approvals are in place, the college will add to these offerings with Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operation—Multi-Rotor, and a professional series program titled Multi-Rotor Unmanned Aircraft Systems Specialist, Taggart says.
Additionally, the UAS courses will be fully integrated with the Aviation Studies Associate in Science degree and offered as an elective for the Criminal Justice and New Media Studies degree programs.
The college has collaborated with the Atlantic City Police Department previously to demonstrate the uses of the unmanned aerial systems and how they can be used in law enforcement, Homeland Security, beach patrols and sea rescues.
Learn more about UAS and Aviation Studies at Atlantic Cape at www.atlantic.edu/aviation.
- Stacey Clapp