UOG Drone Corps produces 2nd batch of FAA-certified remote pilots
The University of Guam Drone Corps program produced 12 more federally certified drone pilots over the summer, with some currently engaged in internships and field work opportunities.
Over the course of three weeks in the summer, UOG Drone Corps members gained instructional and hands-on experience with unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, in preparation for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 certification exam. The FAA certification is required for commercial drone services. After earning their certification, the members completed 40 hours of drone flight experience to apply what they learned in real-world applications.
“The most fulfilling aspect [of the program] is understanding and implementing all the different types of applications that drone technologies can provide. UOG Drone Corps provided me with an outlet to network with aviation-related businesses and entities to understand their goals and how we can work together to accomplish any task,” said UOG Drone Corps member Francisco Camacho, a criminal justice major.
This year, UOG Drone Corps partnered with Bella Wings Aviation to facilitate the knowledge course portion of the program. Bella Wings provided their equipment and office space to coordinate in-class lessons and simulated practicum for the students.
“It was amazing to see the development of the students from basic awareness of drones to actually applying what they learned in real world scenarios. I am confident that each student walked away with a great understanding and appreciation of how drones will continue to play a vital role in our everyday life,” said Charlie Hermosa, president and co-founder of Bella Wings Aviation.
Following their certification, some students have taken up internships and are assisting with field work and research through photography, surveying, mapping, and other services. Andrea Velasquez, a business administration major, took up an internship with drone business 2cofly to build on her experience from the program.
“Through my internship, I’ve learned that drones have more uses aside from the recreational aspect, like photogrammetry and surveying. I’ve purchased my own drone to familiarize myself with flight control and be more proficient. I would encourage businesses to invest in drone services because it can improve their operations.”
Other members have internships with Bella Wings Aviation and Aviation Concepts. Additionally, UOG Drone Corps conducts mapping and surveying services for local agencies, in which the members can participate. These opportunities help members network with various industries and develop strategies to apply drone technology in different sectors.
“Through UOG Drone Corps, we are helping to build a generation of responsible drone pilots who can assist our local workforce and educational institutions with an array of aerial services. We’re excited to see our students become licensed drone pilots and contributing members of society,” said Romina King, who is the associate director for NASA Guam Space Grant and NASA Guam EPSCoR, UOG lead for the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center, and a UOG associate professor of geography at the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center.
The UOG Drone Corps program, which started in July 2021, is jointly coordinated by NASA Guam Space Grant and the NASA Guam Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, both housed at the university. The inaugural cohort was instructed by Aviation Concepts and saw 12 members receiving their FAA Part 107 certification. Combined with the second cohort, the program has produced 24 certified drone pilots.
For more information on the program, please visit bit.ly/dronecorps or contact email@example.com.