SUNY Sullivan Adds Course in Flying Drones

Responding to the commercial demand for workers with drone skills and experience, SUNY Sullivan is launching a new Science, Technology, and Math elective course this fall that will train students to use and maintain unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to take the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot—Small Unmanned Aircraft General exam.

Drones are used increasingly by law enforcement agencies for investigations, by engineers as part of infrastructure inspections to collect pictures and data of hard-to-reach areas such as wind turbines, and by videographers in fields such as media arts, computer graphics, and marketing.

The new course, Unmanned Aerial Systems: Drones, will teach students many of the aspects of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), including their various technologies, sizes, capabilities, and limitations, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration governing (UAS). The course covers the basic principles of flying UAS (drones). Different UAS systems and concepts will be covered, as well as the maintenance aspects of associated support equipment. Students will maintain and fly different flight systems and learn basic troubleshooting techniques for ground control stations and maintenance.

“This new drone class will be extremely valuable to future law enforcement officers as they are used for apprehensions, search and rescue, missing persons, and other important missions,” said Professor Criminal Justice Program Coordinator Robert Eiler, who said he plans to take the class. “The importance and value of this new technology cannot be understated.”

Graphic Design/Computer Graphics Associate Professor Joe Poon said graphic arts students would benefit from taking the drone class because of the strong interest these days in drone footage and “floating camera” angels in the commercial, design, and marketing fields. Poon added that aerial photography skills are needed for many jobs, including real estate photography, promotional event photography, weddings, journalistic photography, and even the filming of commercials.

Unmanned Aerial Systems: Drones is running on campus this fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4–5:15 pm. No prerequisite is required. For more information about SUNY Sullivan’s fall course offerings or to register, visit

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