Minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems Now Offered in Greenville, SC

"Careers are available in this new and growing field.  Many potential employers can't find individuals with the skills necessary to excel in this technologically advanced area.  Some education needed to prepare students will now be offered in Greenville," stated Margaret Evans, Greenville Campus Director, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide.  This announcement was made, last Saturday, at an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Demonstration hosted by Embry Riddle, Greenville Downtown Airport, Airwolf Aviation Services and Runway Cafe.

When people think of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) most envision their highly publicized military uses, but that is just one very small part of this growing industry.  At the event, video was shown and examples were given of the many civilian ways UAS can be used.  They have been very helpful in emergency responses to disasters, rescue missions, firefighting, police work and public safety.  Mostly by carrying photographic equipment capable of sending images back to people on the ground.  These images are then used to quickly determine the safest plan of action to achieve the highest degree of success in the shortest time frame.  UAS are energy efficient and battery operated so, in most cases, they are also the most cost effective and environmentally friendly option!

UAVs can help monitor endangered species, our country's borders, hard to reach utility wires and can be designed to collect weather data or provide thermal imaging.  Many agricultural uses are being developed and tested.  Amazon, among others, is even looking into the possibility that UAS may eventually deliver packages!    

"I learned that aircraft pilots usually make great UAV operators since a lot of the training is the same," stated Michele Rash, co-owner of Airwolf Aviation Services, a local FAA Part 141 pilot training facility.  "As of right now, you must hold a pilot license to fly a drone.  You are able to fly into the same airspace as other aircraft so you need a private pilot license to fly them in general or a commercial license to get paid to fly them.  Since UAS don't carry passengers, not even a pilot, they won't replace traditional aircraft pilots, but it does open up a whole new field for those of us interested in flight!  It looks fun and interesting.  Embry Riddle will even give school credit to those already holding a private pilot certificate!"  added Rash.

The UAS minor, now offered in Greenville, will require classes in:  Unmanned Aerial Systems and Operations; Operational and Business Aspects of Unmanned Aircraft Systems; UAS robotics; and UAS sensing systems.

Embry-Riddle also announced that a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in UAS Science and a Master of Science (M.S.) in UAS Engineering are now offered at their Daytona Beach, FL campus.  Aside from the unmanned aircraft and autonomous cars increasingly in the news, the field includes robotic surface water and underwater vessels, spacecraft and industrial robots.

Dr. Charles Reinholtz, professor and chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and several of his students were on hand at the event.  They were part of “Team AnDrone” that took fourth place overall at the Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) competition held on June 19-22, 2013, at Webster Field, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.  Thirty-five teams from U.S. and international universities competed for more than $51,300 in cash prizes to fund new designs for unmanned aircraft.  Sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the annual SUAS competition challenges students to design and fly an aircraft for a mission requiring autonomous flight, navigation of a specified course and use of onboard cameras and payload sensors. Students also submit technical journal papers and make oral presentations.  See:  http://news.erau.edu/top-news/find-news-releases/2013/suas-competition.html#.UqCdJdJDvTo You can view some of their missions at youtube.com/raerrobots.  For more information about the team please contact Charles Reinholtz at 386.323.8848 or reinholc@erau.edu.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace.   For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv. 

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide - Greenville, SC campus is in McAlister Square University Center located at 225 S. Pleasantburg Dr.  It is one of the few civilian campuses of  the 158 Worldwide locations.  For more information, please contact Margaret Evans, Greenville Campus Director, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, at margaret.evans@erau.edu or 864-233-5288.

AirWolf Aviation Services is a Greenville flight school that provides training for the FAA Private Pilot license, Instrument rating and more. Pilot’s licenses are equal to college credit toward the Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle, Greenville Campus.

GMU is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn't rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest Fixed Base Operator (FBO) in S.C., as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the Upstate economy.  For more information about GMU, please visit http://www.greenvilledowntownairport.com or contact Joe Frasher at joe@greenvilledowntownairport.com or 864-242-4777.