In August 2020, an “Applied Drone Technology” course was launched through Clemson University’s professional extension. The course was developed by Dr. Joseph Burgett, a licensed general contractor and professor in the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management. The course is specifically tailored for contractors and gives them all of the information they need to start using drones safely and effectively.
The genesis of the course comes from Dr. Burgett’s work with contractors and state agencies who are initially reluctant to use Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). “I often get push back at first when I ask companies about bringing their drone work in house. They are usually worried about the FAA license, not knowing the rules or some other issue like insurance” Burgett said. He says his answer is always the same “…yes, those are real considerations but they are all knowable! There is no magic to what I do. You just need someone to show you.” That desire to help contractors start leveraging this innovative technology is what led to the development of the course.
The course is completely online and is available either as a self-directed or a more structured, instructor-led offering. Both versions have the same content which includes the following:
- Earning the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate (required for all commercial UAS work)
- Flight training with a cutting edge drone simulator
- Identifying FAA controlled airspace
- Filing Air Traffic Control authorizations
- Creating 3-D models, topo surveys and orthomosaic photos
- Quantity take-offs from drone imagery
The material is delivered in five, week-long modules. The self-paced offering has open enrolment and those interested can start the class at any time. The course is self-directed and those in the class have 10 weeks to complete the modules. More information can be found on the Self-Pace Course homepage. The instructor-led course is more structured and offered three times a year. The inaugural class started on October 5th and has a mix of contractors and government officials. The next class begins February 1, 2021. You can learn more at the Instructor-Led Course homepage. Dr. Burgett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.