Unmanned Aerial Systems

Sinclair Receives First UAS Exemption For An Ohio College

May 19, 2015
EmmyMik / Flickr Creative Commons

Sinclair Community College has been granted a Section 333 exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration, which means that Sinclair can operate unmanned aerial systems, or drones, commercially even before broad regulations go into effect. It’s the first community college in the country to get the exemption, which will allow Sinclair to expand its National UAS Training and Certification Center.

Andrew Shepherd, director of unmanned aerial systems at Sinclair College, says operating commercially will open up lots of options.

A retired Air Force drone is used in the classroom at Sinclair Community College.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Supporters of drone development are anxiously awaiting a first draft of Federal Aviation Administration regulations expected to come out soon. Right now hobbyists can fly drones—the industry term is unmanned aerial systems or UAS—but companies are prohibited from flying them outdoors unless they have special federal authorization for individual flights. The FAA said it would release a proposed rule by the end of 2014 to regulate commercial drones in U.S.

Woolpert gets its small drones from Florida-based manufacturer Altavian.
www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com

Commercial drones could be in Ohio’s skies sooner than expected, because the Federal Aviation Administration has granted a Dayton company an exception to the current ban on drones that aren't for government or recreational use.

Sinclair's National Center for UAS Training aims to become a leader in teaching drone engineering, design and operation.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

Sinclair Community College in Dayton has announced a partnership with Ohio State University on its unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone program.

Sinclair recently got news of a $4 million grant from the state to improve its facilities for teaching about drones. Now Sinclair will team up with Ohio State to offer people who get UAS certificates or associate’s degrees options to complete a degree at OSU in data analytics or geospatial precision agriculture; OSU students will be able to take classes at Sinclair to earn a certificate or degree.

 

Sinclair Community College has announced it’s teaming up with Southern State Community College to expand and collaborate on its unmanned aerial system program.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as UAVs or drones, are expected to become a big commercial market in the next few years, and a lot of entrepreneurs have their eyes on Ohio’s farm fields. Sensor technology and cameras on the vehicles would let farmers scan huge areas more easily, looking for mold, pests or standing water, just for example.

sinclair
Flickr Creative Commons User Sinclair Library

The state may have been passed over as a drone testing site, but a Sinclair community college is moving full speed ahead on the development, teaching and application of drone technology.

Sinclair announced Monday that its workforce development office has applied for two new certificates of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a new unmanned aerial system.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Federal Aviation Administration handed down its decision earlier this week that the Dayton region was not selected as one of the six national test sites for commercial drones. The news comes after months of preparation from business and industry officials, as well as Ohio’s political leaders. But Chris Ford with the Dayton Development Coalition says it won’t change the game for the drone industry in the region.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

 Southwest Ohio was passed over as a drone test site. On December 30, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will develop test sites for unmanned vehicles in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia, which the agency says together provide the necessary climatic and geographic diversity for testing.

Some schools across the state are preparing students for a boom in the drone industry once the federal government, as is expected, allows civilian unmanned aircraft to fly in U.S. airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration has until 2015 to present a plan for safely integrating drones into national airspace. Sinclair Community College already is training students for jobs using the technology,  and Kent State University is doing the same.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Right now, if you can spare the cash, you can buy your own drone—or unmanned aerial vehicle, as the industry likes to call them. You can buy local, too, because the Dayton area is trying to shape itself as a hub for the growing commercial drone industry. In a couple years local companies would like to be using them for agricultural purposes, emergency response, entertainment, even surveillance.

"The FAA really needs to address the procedures and policies associated with flying these systems," says Maurice McDonald at the Dayton Development Coalition.

Pages