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Fri, Sep 08, 2023

ERAU Tapped to Provide Bureau of Narcotics UAV Training

School Finds Itself the Go-To for Turnkey sUAS Solutions

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been chosen to handle all needed curriculum and online training for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Under the contract, the Office of Aviation (or Air Wing, colloquially) opted to lean on ERAU as the best choice for a one-stop solution to develop an appropriate framework for training its future UAV operators. The change follows a small bonanza of sorts in the uncrewed aircraft training scene, as the equipment gains capability at a pace just a bit quicker than regulators can keep up. In a time of increasing BVLOS applications and increasingly sophisticated long-range networking, government bodies will probably opt for the same choice in the future: It's easier to let the experts devise training that meets the standards and produces capable students.

“The government has training standards and robust administrative policies and procedures already in place globally for everything that is crewed but nothing that is uncrewed,” said Dr. Scott Burgess, associate professor of Aviation and principal investigator on the project.

Embry-Riddle will "lend its expertise in designing and administering a standardized training program that could potentially be used by government employees, law enforcement entities and civil aviation authorities all over the world", providing standardized, consistent training for future drone pilots. of the Bureau.

“Their intent is to standardize sUAS training, certification and standardization globally,” Burgess added. “Our job is to offer our existing sUAS professional education, thus enabling their crews to perform to a set standard, as well as assist in setting conditions that provide a level of knowledge, skills and abilities equivalent to or surpassing established international sUAS crew standards.”

ERAU was happy to talk about its "custom courseware" under the contract, but aside from the usual PR platitudes, it's not quite apparent how much of the course will be reskinned content from other products in the school's portfolio. Given the somewhat specialized mission of the Bureau of Narcotics' Air Wing, it stands to reason there will be some fresh content tailored to their work. Graduates will hold standard "industry certification in sUAS ' when all's said and done, always a nice boon for those in Uncle Sam's employ.

“The Worldwide Campus Department of Flight has worked aggressively over the past six years to raise the bar for UAS operational integration, training and standardization into various commercial and governmental disciplines, and the federal government came to us for a reason,” Burgess added. “They have been very open to our ideas, due to the fact that our strength in these areas is combined with our knowledge in aviation safety. The DoS has also encouraged further ideas to establish a noteworthy program.”



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