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Drone Bootcamp to Instruct Would-be Pilots

By Tom Robinson

Old Dominion University can teach you how to own a drone for fun or profit.

An upcoming immersive workshop will detail why there is more to piloting an unmanned aerial system, commonly called a drone, than just making a purchase and taking the controls.

"Interest in drones has grown exponentially," said Dean Claud, Director of Online Program Development in the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development. "The technology has excelled past the understanding of the guidelines and safety concerns of using drones. This bootcamp is designed to provide the foundations for drone operation."

The Drone Bootcamp at ODU will be held Dec. 1-3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The University will partner with Sentinel Robotic Solutions (SRS) to provide a comprehensive overview of the history of unmanned aircraft systems, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules governing their use, and the expanding commercial opportunities for licensed drone operators.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates 3.5 million drones will be sold this year. Aside from the popularity of drones with hobbyists, Claud noted drones are now widely used in such fields as agriculture, real estate, security, insurance and even wedding and special event photography.

Safety and privacy concerns accompany the growing presence of drones, however. Bootcamp students will learn how and where the FAA allows drones to be legally and safely flown. Students will receive hands-on piloting instruction from SRS staff under the supervision of FAA-licensed remote pilots on the third day of the bootcamp.

"This is a great opportunity for people to get an exceptional prerequisite experience if they want to start a business or add drones to their business," Claud said. He added the University hopes to develop a week-long course on drones and the information required to pass the FAA exam to become certified as a drone pilot.

The cost of the bootcamp is $999 per person. Visit the bootcamp website to register by Nov. 28 or to request further information.

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