PUBP&ADM 597B - Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs)

(3 Credits); Spring semesters, on campus

Instructors: Ryan Wicks, Charlie Schweik, David Price

Course Description

This interdisciplinary skills-based course is intended to equip students to develop and execute their own UAS project. It is specifically designed to serve two types of students:

Type 1 - pilot and data analyst. Students who WANT to become UAS pilots AND understand how to process and the basics of UAS remote sensing analysis; and,

Type 2 - non-pilot, data analyst. Students who are not interested in becoming a UAS pilot but DO want to learn the basics of piloting so they can make smart choices on what contractor they work with to collect data they need, and students who DO want to learn how to process and analyze the data their contractors provide.


Classroom instruction will cover the basics of flight and an overview UAS operations and applications across multiple sectors of industry and research. The class utilizes pilot training curriculum and content from Trillium Learning's Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Scientific Applications course ( Case studies of UAS applications, an overview of the current UAS technologies, and discussion of future prospects will be discussed. Type 1 students, ones interested in pilot training will meet 1-2 times weekly to develop piloting skills by flying lightweight practice quadcopters under the supervision of the instructor. Type 2 students, will work on an application or case study review on the use of UAS in their discipline of interest. Lab instruction will be provided in which students process and analyze imagery and data acquired by UASs using combinations of different photogrammetry and GIS software packages. Example projects might include: Damage assessment and infrastructure inspection, agricultural health assessment, ecological or invasive species mapping. Additionally, instruction on USA UAS policies and regulations will be covered, as well as preparation information for the FAA UAS 107 license (the small UAS Knowledge Test pursuant CFR 14 Part 107) will be provided. This latter information is obviously important for students wanting to get their own FAA 107 license, but is also important “awareness knowledge” for students who will be potentially selecting or hiring a UAS pilot contractor in the future.