FAA and Warren County Community College Hosting Drone Safety and Awareness Event
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is partnering with Warren County Community College’s unmanned systems program, Warren UAS, for a three-day program to introduce the public to the drone field.
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The free event, held April 27th-29th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Warren Washington campus, will highlight Drone Safety Day, which the FAA marks each year in April to encourage proper operation of drones.
“This is a great opportunity for the public and people in the industry to come together and exchange fundamental information and new thinking about drones. Both experts and people hoping to gain familiarity with drones will be able to learn from the experts at the FAA and our staff about the latest technology and training available,” said WCCC President Will Austin, who is on sabbatical to advance the UAS program and pursue private funding related to the college’s growth. “There will be a major emphasis on safe use of drones, which is a priority for us and the FAA.”
Warren’s rapidly growing UAS department features two new on-campus facilities, including the new Dr. Joseph Warren Robotics Research Center. The latest in drone technology is continually being acquired, and will be available for use by visitors during the program. The event was designed by college officials to educate the public about its offerings and the technology on display, including from FAA experts.
WCCC will highlight its nationally recognized Uncrewed Systems Program, which teaches flying, building, maintenance and repair of drones, alongside AI and robotics. The program offers both certification and degrees in various aspects of drone design, maintenance and operations.
Drone Safety Day: Focus on Safe Operations
The FAA provides guidance about drone technology and its regulations through its Droning On educational outreach program, as well as through Drone Safety Day, which will be celebrated as part of the event according to project manager Alina George.
The first day will be focused on education, and the second on public safety and local government. The third day will be open to the general public to gather information and see demonstrations
Austin noted that various vendors, college representatives and other training providers will be in attendance, including from Embry Riddle, the country’s leading aeronautical university. A frequent collaborator with WCCC on numerous projects, Embry Riddle often enrolls WCCC graduates to continue further education.
“We are proud to partner with WCCC to produce the best trained UAS technicians and operators in the world,” said David Thirtyacre, chief pilot in the university’s Department of Flight. “We are committed to bringing professional aviation standards to the UAS world and pride ourselves on safe, effective operations. ERAU and WCCC work closely together to establish the highest level of standards in the industry, and we are happy to be involved in this event.”
Project manager Alina George noted that the event’s programming will feature demonstrations and information sessions on public safety, career opportunities, The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST), and other important aspects of drone ownership and operations.
“To put this into context, there are more than three times as many registered unmanned aircraft as registered traditional aircraft. By 2026, we forecast that there could be up to 2.66 million commercial and recreational drones and more than 361,000 certificated remote pilots,” said FAA spokesperson Rick Breitenfeldt, who noted that Drone Safety Day, “gives the agency a chance to help the drone community understand the importance of flying safely.”
“Drone Safety Day will highlight the societal, economic, and safety benefits of safe drone operations with events in focus areas such as education, economics, equity, environment, and emergencies,” he added. “This is a great opportunity for businesses, schools, and organizations to share how they use drones, as well as kick off new safety initiatives. For drone enthusiasts, this is an opportunity to share their passion with your friends, family, and local community.”
The FAA is making major progress enabling beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations through rules rather than individual waivers and exemptions, noted Breitenfeldt, who revealed that flying drones over populated areas will also be a likely topic of discussion.
The focus of the college’s programming will be on drone careers, education and ways to enjoy the technology as a hobbyist. Also on display will be other aviation and unmanned technology such as hot air balloons and robots, showcased at both the college and nearby Warren County Technical School.
According to Breitenfeldt, safe operations will be a primary theme for the agency during the program. The FAA encourages those using drones to follow the acronym “Fly RIGHT” in connection with safe and legal drone use: Register your drone, Interact with others, Gain knowledge, Have a safety plan, and TRUST and Train.
- Warren County Community College Drone Training Program: Putting the Focus on Safety Education
- At Xponential 2022, AUVSI Announces the Member of the Year: Dr. Will Austin of Warren County Community College
- Warren County Community College Drone Program is Training an Industry Workforce: and Employers are Lining Up to Hire
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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