Making the Wright Brothers Proud: College Partnership Will Enhance Drone Training

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When it comes to drones, what could be better than a
collaboration involving the Wright Brother’s hometown and their historic first
flight location?

Photo courtesy of ECSU Newsroom

In what could be called a match made in heaven, North Carolina-based
Elizabeth City State University is partnering with Ohio-based Sinclair Community
College’s National UAS Training and Certification Center to improve drone research
and training. The college’s location in Dayton – hometown of Orville and Wilbur
– provides an appropriate backdrop for the center, which focuses on UAV training
programs with classroom and online instruction, drone simulation programs and
live practice.

ECSU is located a few hours’ drive north from the Wright
Brother’s inaugural aircraft launch site in Kitty Hawk. The university already
offers a robust aviation-science program and will offer a new drone bachelor’s
degree program this fall.

“Sinclair has a great program and facility. They are the top
in their state and a leader globally,” said Kuldeep Rawat, ECSU’s aviation
program director and dean of the Area of Science, Technology and Mathematics.

“The partnership, which was recently signed by leaders at the two institutions, brings ECSU and Sinclair together for training and applied research in the area of UAS,” he added. “The partnership with Sinclair will begin an era of collaborative research focusing on the unmanned traffic management of drones.”

To kick off the program, the two schools will execute a
joint exercise in June, connecting each campus via high-fidelity Simlat UAS
training software and the Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) capabilities
program. Lived manned and drone flights will take place in Ohio alongside virtual
UAV ops conducted at both Sinclair and ECSU. Sinclair ground vehicles will also
conduct an emergency scenario.

Andrew Shepherd, executive director and chief scientist for
UAS at Sinclair notes:

“The partnership between Sinclair and ESCU comes at a great time with both institutions launching their own bachelor’s degree programs in UAS in fall 2019 and the continued rapid advancement of UAS related technologies, regulations, and applications. The partnership will enable the development of resources and capabilities for joint education, training, and applied research and development opportunities to the benefit of economic development and workforce development in Ohio, North Carolina, and the broader nation.”



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