Northwest Aerospace News February | March 2019 Issue No. 7 - Page 56

UNmanned Systems training is now embedded in many college Programs Washington’s Community and Technical Colleges are embedding technical training on the use of drones in non-related programs By: Mary Kaye Bredeson, executive director; and Jennifer Ferrero, APR, ACB, ALB, marketing communications Center of Excellence for Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Jennifer Ferrero APR, ACB, ALB Communications and Marketing COE for Unmanned and Autonomous Systems L earning to operate drones is not only trendy, but also is becoming standard in many community and technical college programs that have nothing to do with unmanned flight. “There is not a market for someone who is just a drone pilot,” said David Stasney, L.G. LH.G., water resources instructor, Spokane Community College (SCC). Stasney is a licensed geologist and hydrogeologist who started working with drones about three years ago. He said, “I was so excited about the possibilities in my industry that I was losing sleep over it.” He said that collecting data via drone imagery — regarding orthophotography (shoreline erosion, aquatic vegetation), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), thermal imaging, and monitoring and sampling — is being used in many commercial applications by students of the Environmental Sciences program at SCC. Mary Kaye Bredeson Executive Director for COE for Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Recently Stasney had a student engaged with Dow Chemical for a project in Southeastern Washington in an agricultural research setting. Another recent project by SCC students was for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cheney, Washington, where they conducted drone flights of a newly constructed wetland to create contour maps, estimate volumes, and estab- lish baseline monitoring data for comparisons over time. COE UAS SPOTLIGHT 56 NORTHWEST AEROSPACE NEWS