By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Stories involving the use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), or drones as they are more commonly called, are often making headlines today.
In response to that trend, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has developed a program to teach operators how to properly use drones and to stay in compliance with the ever-evolving rules that drone operators are required to follow.
OCCC’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) is offering a free two-hour New sUAS Operator Orientation on Monday, November 9. Led by instructor Shane Snyder, the orientation is a snapshot of what a student can expect to experience during the actual course.
The full18-hour program will run from December 7 through 18.
“There is so much more to flying than just taking a quadcopter out of the box and putting it in the air,” said Patrick Clanin, Account Executive for the Professional Development Institute.
“You have to know the rules of the road and understand safe flying practices and also keep your expensive new investment from flying away, crashing, or worse, injuring someone as a result of recklessness or carelessness.”
The free orientation will allow new operators or individuals interested in attending the academy a chance to experience operating a simulator and practice flying a quadcopter.
“This course is designed for anyone, 16 years and older, who wants to fly small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) for fun, or as a new career after the FAA opens the skies to commercial use,” Clanin said.
“Students, who learn to fly small drones, are taught about the different types of flight systems and, most importantly, acquire insight into safe and legal flying practices.”
Each student will receive a small quadcopter with camera, flight simulator software and a Spektrum dx5e radio transmitter to be used with the simulator.
“The equipment will allow students to practice between classes and after the course is completed,” Clanin continued.
Students will learn to fly by using both computer flight simulations and live quadcopters. They will learn about the different types of flight systems and safe and legal flying practices.
In addition, participants will learn about emerging job opportunities, and companies can see how the application and use of this transformative technology fits into their businesses.
Graduates will receive a certificate of completion.
Over six three-hour sessions, participants gain a thorough understanding of sUAS.
The course will cover the different types of sUAS including both multirotor and fixed-wing and the different types of flight systems. Other topics covered are flight vehicles, radio controllers, components and characteristics, autonomous flight, routine maintenance, uses and applications, safety, FAA guidelines, privacy concerns and insurance.
The cost of the course is $1499.00 and does include a quadcopter with camera, flight simulator software and Spektrum dx5e radio transmitter to be used with the simulator.
The sUAS orientation will be held at the Professional Development Institute, located at 7124 I-35 Service Road, The flight simulation area will be held in PDI room 118 and PDI room144 (alternative fuels lab) where students will practice flight operations and where the top gun competition will be held.
“Top gun is a fun competition, when the class is completed, for best pilot,” Clanin said. “It tests the ability to go through an obstacle course without crashing.”
PDI also provides workforce development, certifications in computer design and CNG technician courses.
For more information about OCCC, visit www.occc.edu.