LFCC piloting unmanned aircraft systems (drones) courses this fall


~ Press release issued by Lord Fairfax Community College

Recognizing the growing demand for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), better known as drones, in multiple area industries, LFCC is launching new courses this fall to train operators.

The initial coursework aligns with the aeronautical knowledge required for FAA-approved commercial operations as a remote pilot with small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) rating, and prepares students to sit for the FAA part 107 exam. Additional courses will cover maintenance, mission planning, safety, drone programming, flight data management, geospatial technology, and using geospatial data for analysis, presentation, and decision-making.

As part of the college’s School of Professional Programs, course delivery will be through a combination of online instruction and hands-on flying time to gain practice and skill.

“Our region, with the amount of logistics infrastructure, is an ideal location for this coursework, and our goal is to support the business community by training high-quality professional remote pilots for a variety of industries,” said Dr. Craig Santicola, dean of the School of Professional Programs. “It’s vital for us to offer programs that prepare students for jobs of the future, and drones are seeing increased use in so many industry sectors in our region.”  

 Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange, who is working on multiple drone-related projects at LFCC, said UAS are impacting so many industries, including emergency response, medical, engineering, computer science, information technology, package delivery, physical and cyber security.

“UAS are a technological game changer in the way we solve problems, conduct business, innovate, and view our world,” Dr. Stange said.

The new drones programming has the support of the Winchester Regional Airport Authority, which views drones as an essential technology.

“Increased demand for drone services will bring new economic opportunities,” Authority Executive Director Nick Sabo said. “A post-secondary education program like LFCC is proposing will foster workforce development and spur innovation and business growth within our community. This outcome aligns perfectly with the airport’s strategic vision to connect youths and jobseekers to schools, employers, and training programs that bolster the region’s aerospace workforce.” 

Learn more about LFCC’s upcoming drones courses at https://lfcc.edu/drones.

Registration for the programs will open March 28 for current students, and April 4 for new students at https://lfcc.edu/drone-courses-fall-2022/.



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