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Three colleges in Southern California have been selected for FAA drone initiative

Three colleges in Southern California have been selected for FAA drone initiative

In Southern California, three colleges have been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become part of the recently launched Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Collegiate Training Initiative.

Three colleges in Southern California have been selected for FAA drone initiative

The following three colleges in Southern California have been selected to participate in the recently launched Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collegiate Training Initiative that was recently announced by the FAA.

  • Palomar College
  • MiraCosta College
  • Southwestern College

These three colleges are among the 26 schools that were selected by the FAA nationwide.

Palomar offers a Drone Technology Program; MiraCosta College’s Technology Career Institute has an Unmanned Systems ROV/Drone Operator Technician Program; and Southwestern College offers a Drone Technology & Applications program, reports The San Diego Union-Tribute.

“This national recognition is a well-deserved honor for the faculty, students, industry partners and alumni-entrepreneurs who have made Palomar’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program one of the best in the country,” said Dr. Jack Kahn, Palomar College’s interim superintendent/president, in a statement.

Three colleges in Southern California have been selected for FAA drone initiative

Professor of Geographical Sciences and co-principal investigator at the Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence at Southwestern College, Ken Yanow said that the drone industry is still fairly young, but the drone technology is very accessible to both amateurs and professionals.

He said in an interview that the FAA decided it need to address the training of remote pilots since more people are flying drones professionally/

“They’re looking around to see who is teaching to prepare students to pass the pilot exam and who is preparing students to be proficient in the field,” Yanow said. The schools will work together with the FAA and share curricular requirements as part of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Collegiate Training Initiative. “They want everyone to work together to make sure that we do this right,” Yanow said.

Professor of Earth, Space and Environmental Sciences at Palomar, Wing Cheung co-created the college’s drone program in 2016.

“Being part of this FAA-led, nationwide program allows the schools with UAS programs to connect and learn from each other,” Cheung said in a statement. “The FAA is recognizing schools that have well-rounded programs which not only prepare students for their commercial drone pilot exams, but also teach students to fly responsibly and safely.”

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collegiate Training Initiative was introduced by the FAA back in April 2020. Colleges must be accredited two- or four-year institutions offering an associate or bachelor’s degree in drone technology or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS in order to qualify. The schools must also provide different classes covering, for instance, training, hands-on flight experience, as well as drone maintenance, drone use, drone applications, safety, and privacy concerns, insurance, and federal policies.

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Photo: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Haye Kesteloo

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