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Flying into the future: K-State Salina Civic Luncheon to focus on emerging trends and technologies of unmanned aircraft systems


SALINA — In the state of Kansas alone, the unmanned aircraft systems industry will have an estimated economic impact of $489 million with about 2,500 new jobs created by the year 2017. Because of its rapid growth and yet its somewhat unknown capabilities, Kansas State University Salina will spotlight the unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, industry in its final fall semester installment of the Civic Luncheon Lecture Series.

“Emerging Trends in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology” will be at noon Thursday, Nov. 13, in K-State Salina’s College Center Conference Room. Mark Blanks, the university’s UAS program manager, will be the guest speaker.

K-State Salina is one of the first two universities in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems, which started in 2011. Since then, the program has doubled its enrollment, has acquired 24 aircraft and a mobile and ground control station, and has been selected for numerous research projects by many widely known enterprises such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“K-State Salina is truly at the forefront of this developing industry, especially in Kansas, and I always enjoy any opportunity to educate the community about unmanned aircraft technologies and applications,” Blanks said. “There is a common misconception that unmanned aircraft are used only in the military, but their value is found in numerous areas such as agriculture, mapping and surveying, wildlife monitoring and emergency management.”

Besides information on the commercial purposes and advancements of UAS, Blanks also will exhibit the latest aircraft and devices being used as well as the university’s contributions to the industry.

The Civic Luncheon Lecture is free and the public is invited. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches or purchase their lunches at the K-State Cafe and then bring their trays into the conference room.

Greg Stephens, associate professor of arts, sciences and business, created K-State Salina’s Civic Luncheon Lecture Series to provide the campus and the community with an opportunity to learn about and participate in various current events affecting local issues. For more information on the series, contact Stephens at 785-819-6887 or [email protected], or visit

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