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Auburn University launches the nation’s first FAA-authorized flight school for drones

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by beeline, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. beeline

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    Could this represent the future of licensed, commercial aerial imaging? A "pilot" program, so to speak:D?

    What am I missing here? Can I really get licensed at my Alma Mater? Like right now? Pinch me please.

    "Trainees will receive classroom instruction on flight planning, telemetry, safety measures and other essential topics. To receive a certificate (FAA approved), they will have to pass a written exam and a flight test."

    “This is not meant for hobbyists who just want to go outside to a pasture or side field and fly them on weekends,” Hutto said. “This is geared toward students who want to prepare themselves to go work for a company and fly one of these as part of their skill set, for faculty members who want to use it as part of their research, or for companies that want to use them to become efficient.”

    http://alabamanewscenter.com/2015/06/18/auburn-launches-first-faa-approved-flight-school-for-drones/

    War Eagle!
     
  2. msinger

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    Fools and money are easily parted.
     
  3. beeline

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    It takes money to make money.

    Other than the cost of the course, where do you see a problem here?
     
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  4. LUISMARTINEZ

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    "To receive a certificate (FAA approved)" There is no such thing as an FAA UAV operator or pilot license...yet. The universities are trying to get in on the ground floor of the coming training boom, by offering what amounts to a pilot ground school.
    Unless the school produced a written document specifying what "FAA approved" means I wouldn't give them my money
     
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  5. msinger

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    The cost is not a big deal. I can appreciate that it often costs money to make money. Here are a few issues:

    - This training is not helpful and/or needed in order to get an FAA exemption. At this point, we don't know what lies ahead for SUAS in the future, so it's unclear if the training will be helpful for whatever test the FAA comes up with when issuing their new SUAS airman certificate.

    - The training is not Phantom (or fill in your SUAS here) specific. For example, if you know the ins and outs of flying a Phantom, you will not be able to pick up a Solo and know what to do. For that reason, the training must be very generic.

    - These courses/classes/schools keep popping up out of the woodwork. This is not the first -- and, it will not be the last. All claim to be "FAA approved", but nobody really knows what that means. I think it just eliminates a barrier so people can more easily part with their money.
     
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  6. LUISMARTINEZ

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    The courses are propping up all over. Colleges need money and are getting in on the "ground floor" of what even the FAA says is a coming billion dollar industry so I don't blame the schools. Young kids should be careful in how they spend their money, too many variables; the most significant one is the FAA. Only the illuminati in the deep bowels of the agency today know what the final UAV permit/license/certificate, et al will look like. That's why I'm suspicious of the "FAA approved" label, prospective students should ask what does that mean, exactly.
     
  7. beeline

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    Wow you guys sure know how to bust a bubble:p. Consider me pinched.

    Nevertheless, I've sent an email to the university for clarification of the "FAA approved" statement, as the inference was decidedly a certificate for commercial purposes. If they respond I'll report back.
     
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  8. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Sorry. Just offering a little wisdom, I hold a commercial pilot's license. If my local college offered such training I would likely enroll, just want to know all the facts up front. I also sent an email to Auburn. Will let you know if they reply.
     
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  9. GoodnNuff

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    LOL, I think this is geared towards real, commercial drones (like fixed wings, octocopters, etc.) and not an advanced toy with a camera mounted on it.

    There are several universities offering classes in drone technology and I noticed our new Aviation High School here is offering courses as well.
     
  10. beeline

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    <Sorry. Just offering a little wisdom>

    Thanks for your insight, really. This story needed a reality check.

    What disappoints me most is the deceptiveness of the article. "the nation’s first FAA-authorized flight school...for commercial operators of unmanned aircraft". This is from an accredited flight school at a respectable university. The school didn't write the article but I don't see any evidence they've tried to correct the record either.
     
  11. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Exactly. It's a career oriented course.
     
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  12. GoodnNuff

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    But it very well may be the first school that has FAA approved curriculum? I doubt they are teaching how to hand catch a phantom or frame a photo. Mapping, surveying, agricultural applications etc are the core, not real estate photography. Though I'm sure some adult education classes through your local community college will soon offer that type of class.
     
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  13. beeline

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    I did think it odd that almost every conceivable commercial use was sited while video was curiously omitted. Fine with me as all I am interested in is commercial certification, not framing a shot. Will FAA requirements ultimately be easier to attain for "industrial" users while more difficult for us reckless, scumbag, peeping-tom video types;)?
     
  14. GoodnNuff

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    No, I think the opposite. I think as commercial drones will become bigger, with more payload capacity, fly higher and faster, travel further, etc., and will require more training and certification. We roof skimming peeping tom hobbyist photographers with our small drones will require less certification and regulation may left to the locals.
     
  15. LUISMARTINEZ

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    This is their response to my question:

    Luis,


    Thank you for the inquiry regarding our UAS flight school. We have FAA approval via a 333 exemption to commercially conduct UAS flight training. As you may know, the FAA has not yet completed the rule-making process so an operator’s license or certificate for UAS does not yet exist.(my emphasis added) We plan to instruct students on topics such as the current regulatory environment, how to obtain FAA approval, how UAS can be used in various applications, and the like. Too, basic flight maneuvers, safety checklists, etc. will be taught as well.

    If you are interested, we will gladly add you to our contact list. We plan to email additional information soon.

    Thanks again, and please feel free to call or email any time with additional questions.

    Bill
    William T. Hutto, Jr., A.A.E., Ph.D.
    Airport and Aviation Center Director
    2150 Mike Hubbard Boulevard
    Auburn, Alabama 36830
    (334) 844-4606
    (334) 844-4272 FAX
    huttowt@auburn.edu

    So "FAA approved" just means they got their 333 exemption to commercially fly UAVs, it does not imply any curriculum approval nor endorsement.
     
  16. beeline

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    Well, there goes that pipe dream. Thanks for following up with Mr. Hutto, Luis.

    Now if the FAA would just do something. Suppose I should be careful what I wish for...
     
  17. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Well, this is not a bad thing. My point is that there cannot be "FAA approval" in anticipation of the credentials as FAA final rules on UAVs have not been finalized. When they are in around 1.5 to 2 yrs. the attached document will likely be an accurate summary of them. If you are a young person and looking for a career flying UAVs commercially, lots of large companies will be hiring. Explore what's available and make phone calls. It's difficult to anticipate credentialing process for something the FAA does not have in place but you can prepare. A course in avionics would not hurt. Find a company flying UAVs (big ones, fixed and rotary wing, that's where the nice salaries are) not phantoms and ask them what credentials they looking for. If you truly have an interest in aviation why not pursue your private pilot's license while you wait on the FAA to get out the rules? You may discover you like aviation more than you knew and follow that path. Can't hurt. My final advice is to check, double check, phone, email, thoroughly before you put your $$ down. Best of luck.

    PS- I don't think the Auburn course would be a bad investment. Auburn is not going to close shop and disappear on you....
     

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    #17 LUISMARTINEZ, Jul 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015