January 11, 2017

Media Advisory -- Drone Operator Class

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend a course offered by Southern Illinois University Carbondale that allows drone operators to gain Federal Aviation Administration certification to operate unmanned aircraft systems. 

The two-day workshop, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, will be at the Transportation Education Center at Southern Illinois Airport. The workshops are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. 

FAA regulations put in place in 2015 require certification for drone operators if they will operate drones under commercial guidelines for businesses and surveying. The course will cover all of the subject areas on the test. Topics include airspace, regulations, weather, and aeronautical decision making. 

The FAA began issuing drone pilot licenses to commercial operators in August. Reports are the FAA forecasts there will be more than 1.3 million licensed drone pilots by 2020. One of 25 FAA-approved drone test centers in Illinois, SIU Carbondale is the only four-year public university that offers the program. 

There were 16 participants in the first drone workshop in November, and there is a waiting list for another workshop, Michael F. Robertson, associate professor in aviation management and flight, said. In addition, the university’s aviation departments will work with large corporations to certify employees. 

For more information or to arrange for interviews, contact Robertson at 618/453-9264 or mrobertson@siu.edu.