SALINA, Kansas — As the estimated number of unmanned aircraft systems owners is expected to 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 FAA’s rules for hobby applications of small remotely piloted aircraft; 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, university officials said.
“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 RPAs, 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. 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.
Kansas State Polytechnic plans to offer additional UAS hobbyist courses in 2016.