Drake State launches online drone pilot program

Partnering with Aquiline Drones, the program is the first at a community college in Alabama

Drake State Community and Technical College has partnered with Aquiline Drones, of Connecticut, to offer online, instructor-guided drone pilot training. It is the only community college in Alabama to offer a drone program.

“For 60 years, Drake State has built a solid foundation on teaching the most advanced technologies in a hands-on learning environment,” said Dr. Patricia Sims, president of Drake State.

The college will offer two courses — an introduction to drones that prepares students for the Federal Aviation Administration Drone Pilot certification exam and a course on cloud connected drone operations, computing and analytics. The cloud connected course will focus on digital technologies that enable cloud-connected commercial drone operations and how those technologies can be used to form businesses.

Sims noted that the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal is located just a short distance from Drake State, offering former military drone operators a course to enhance and certify their skills.

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Industrial-grade drones have long been in demand by various branches of the military, and since drone swarms and counter drone swarms are considered the future of warfare, the military has taken a keen interest in the hardware that flies, rolls and swims for a universal system.

Aquiline Drones is a commercial drone solutions company in Hartford, Connecticut. It created its Flight to the Future online drone pilot training program as a remedy for America’s staggering unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When launched, not only did the program attract applications from all over the country, but also from several community colleges that offer training as a certification course.

“This partnership could not have come at a better time for Drake State in terms of the current global events and our own particular geographical landscape,” said Sims. “We plan on marketing this all across our state to new and prospective students of all ages.”

“Not only are we offering an exciting high-tech journey with these compelling courses, but we are also priming its participants to enter a rapidly accelerating industry with a potential market share of $127 billion,” said Barry Alexander, founder and chairman of Aquiline Drones.

Drake’s courses will take one month to complete and be available starting in June.

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