Embry-Riddle UAS Program Leads Nation as One of First to Begin Flight Operations

The long-awaited Small Unmanned Aircraft (sUAS) rule known as Part 107 from the FAA went into effect today. Almost immediately, members from the Aeronautical Science Department from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach Campus became some of the first in the nation to begin flying, opening new doors for students and faculty in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science (UASS) program.

The new rule enables commercial sUAS operations similar to manned aircraft operations in certain airspace and eliminates the need for an exemption to fly or limit to student-only flights under the FAA interpretation as recreational users.

Several Embry-Riddle students and faculty completed the requirements for their Remote Pilot Certificates first thing this morning. Immediately afterwards, with the university safety team on sight, the UASS students and faculty began flight operations in Class G airspace.

“The new Part 107 rule allows faculty to better educate students about the safety and operational aspects of sUAS, similar to how we teach student pilots through our world-renowned College of Aviation Flight Department,” said Professor Joseph Cerreta

“I was able to use my Remote Pilot Certificate issued to me this morning to actually fly with faculty, reinforcing what I learned on the simulator, “ said William Rose, a UAS student and lab assistant. “I also collected elevation data for a landowner grading his field with centimeter-level accuracy.”

Embry-Riddle’s UAS program, the largest in the nation with over 450 major and minor degree-seeking students, will continue to grow and achieve even greater success under the new FAA Part 107 rule.

Embry-Riddle was one of the first schools in the nation to offer a degree in UAS. Both the Prescott and Daytona Beach Campuses offer a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science. The Daytona Beach Campus also offers a Master of Science in Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering. The university’s Worldwide Campus offers a Master of Science in Unmanned Systems, a Master of Aeronautical Science with UAS Specialization and a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications. All three campuses offer a minor in Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Embry-Riddle is also a co-founder of the ASSURE Coalition (Alliance for System Safety of UAS Through Research Excellence), a Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).