Mon, Oct 19, 2009
Programs Offered For Pilots, Sensor Operators
The University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of
Aerospace Sciences (UND Aerospace) said Friday it is the
first educational institution in the nation to offer an
undergraduate major in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations.
The program addresses the increasing demand for qualified pilots
and sensor operators in the rapidly growing field of UAS,
high-altitude aircraft that are flown remotely from the ground for
both military and commercial uses.
Launched in August 2009, the curriculum places UND Aerospace in
the midst of expanded U.S. acceptance and application of
long-endurance, multi-mission aircraft capable of delivering
persistent situational awareness and rapid strike capabilities. UAS
are primarily used by the military for long-endurance
reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering, and on missions that are
too dangerous to risk the lives of flight crew. Civilian uses
include firefighting, law enforcement, border control, ocean
surveillance and weather prediction.
Describing the current shortage of qualified UAS professionals,
UND Aerospace Dean Bruce Smith said, "UAS is an emerging technology
that has experienced dramatic growth over the past decade. As
platform use increases with military, law enforcement and other
commercial applications, the demand for qualified pilots and
operators will increase as well. Our program offers tremendous
career opportunities to students who are passionate about aviation
and aspire to push the envelope of innovation."
UND Aerospace supports over 100 airplanes and helicopters. More
than 7,822 students have graduated from UND Aerospace since its
founding in 1968.
Consistently rated as one of the top aviation programs in the
nation, UND has received more than $24 million in federal, state
and private funding since 2006 to research UAS performance data and
national airspace issues, such as how UAS can be integrated into
existing traffic patterns and airspace used by commercial and
general aviation aircraft.
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