Over the past year, drones have become quite prominent throughout the United States, as professionals and enthusiasts alike get their hands on the hardware, many of which are using the devices to capture images from above. However, unlike the pros, most enthusiasts aren’t trained properly in the maintenance and usage of a drone.
As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a few of the nation’s top flight schools have begun working on ways to ensure everyone who owns a drone knows how to use it properly: hence the birth of drone school, where owners of the device can learn how to properly control their unmanned aerial vehicles without injury or property damage in the process.
One such school, according to NBC News, is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, one of the top schools in the country for aviation. There, they have begun teaching a degree in unmanned aviation for the past three years. The course began with just 11 students, but has since risen to over 200.
Embry-Riddle is one of around 100 colleges and universities to offer programs in this field, and rightly so. It is currently estimated that tens of thousands of drone-flying jobs will crop up within the next decade, with some schools even estimating their enrollment growth at over 1,000 percent in anticipation for these forthcoming roles in the working world.
“It seems to be the wave of the future,” says Alexa Roman, a junior studying drone piloting at the University of North Dakota. And Roman is correct, as millions of drones are being sold on a yearly basis since their inception.
However, the FAA has serious concerns for those who are using unmanned aerial vehicles without proper training. In response, the FAA, partnering with various colleges, began a safety campaign this week to urge drone pilots to learn the rules of the air.
There have been near-crashes reported for quite some time, with many close calls over John F. Kennedy Airport happening within a 4-day period. Should an unmanned drone hit the cockpit of a real airplane it could be devastating for everyone involved.
Any unmanned drone pilot who violates the rules set in place for flying in the air by the FAA can face over thousands of dollars in fines, or even jail time for their transgressions.