Registration open for drone pilot training course

Photo: UA College of Engineering

Registration is open for a training course designed to help prospective drone pilots learn how to fly safely and legally, while preparing to pass the FAA’s remote pilot certification exam.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems 1 professional development course will be offered in-person at the University of Arkansas Global Campus in Rogers. It can also be taken remotely. The program consists of four sessions on Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27. The course finishes with a live flight day, which must be attended in-person.

The cost is $299 per person and group discounts apply, along with a 10% discount for UA faculty, staff and students. Participants are also responsible for the cost of the FAA exam (about $150), eBook ($90) and the cost of their personal drones, which are not included in the course fee.

The course will teach best practices and the basics of data processing software. Students will gain practical proficiency with hands-on flying and will learn about flight weather data interpretation, flight planning, airspace, map reading, and use of platforms to perform video and mapping tasks. Hands-on instruction with various drones, including thermal platforms, will be included.

The course is intended for people who want to become more proficient pilots, flying safely and legally. It is open to researchers, faculty, staff and anyone interested in using the technology for work or commercial ventures.

Instructor Rich Ham, who joined the UA after retiring from the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security, said the course is a good opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a drone pilot.

“There are very few courses that offer the knowledge level required for the FAA remote pilot examination and also teach and evaluate practical UAS flying,” Ham said. “Anyone who wants to be a safe and compliant pilot should consider this course.”

For more information or to register, visit the Professional and Workforce Development website.