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Students smile underneath their masks during the SUNY Niagara Workforce Development Drone Operator Class.

Take Flight with SUNY Niagara’s Drone Class

By News Archive

November 18, 2020

The economic impact of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), commonly called drones, is expected to be at least $82 billion by 2025 according to The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Much of this growth comes from the application of drone technology to existing industries, as well as emerging businesses that will be created.

In response to this growth, SUNY Niagara is offering a comprehensive, non-credit bearing Drone Operator Training course. The class size of the course is small to comply with SUNY Niagara’s COVID-19 response plan and to offer a personal, interactive learning experience between the students and instructor. Participants can expect to learn within the classroom and practice hands-on drone operating experience within the large facilities at the Sanborn campus.

The course is taught by Corey Harmon, owner of Above Ground Level Aerial, LLC. Harmon explains there are many opportunities to gain employment once one has learned how to operate a drone. He states, “The UAS industry is starting to take off in commercial real estate, professional videos, commercials, resorts, law enforcement, emergency search and rescue, accident reconstruction, surveying, inspections, and the development of wind turbines and solar panels. Drones are even being used in agriculture to spray fields, detect crop health, survey the land, and observe thermal imagery.”

Harmon also expresses the importance of taking the class even if it’s just for recreational use as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the use of UAS’s. The course will prepare students to take the FAA Part 107 UAS Pilot Exam. The course will topics such as: Advanced Safety Features, Video and Photography, Basic Mapping, Charts & Airspace, Drone Purchase Decision, Fixed Wing or MultiRotor, How to Fly, Insurance, Job Market, Payload, Safety Guidelines, Sensors, Typical Advanced Features, and Uses and Applications.

Students will be required to bring their own Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Quadcopter, as well as batteries and a charger.  In addition to purchasing these items, the class fee is $750. The course will take place on Monday and Wednesday nights, November 30, 2020, through January 11, 2021, from 6PM to 9PM at SUNY Niagara, 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn. The class will break from December 23 through December 30 for the holidays and will resume on January 4. To register, please visit the SUNY Niagara Workforce Development website at or call their office at (716) 614-6236.

SUNY Niagara’s Workforce Development offers accelerated training, in-demand skills certification programs, and customized training solutions to meet your career objectives. The Workforce Development team also offers community classes and activities for personal enrichment. Training is the core of their business and SUNY Niagara’s Workforce Development department is ready to help you achieve your goals.

Media Contact Information

Denyel Beiter
Event Coordinator, Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-5974

Drone operator

SUNY Niagara Selected for FAA Training Program

By News Archive

August 19, 2020

Today SUNY Niagara announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had selected its Drone Operator Training Program for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Program or the UAS-CTI.

“Offering coveted FAA-accredited drone operator training represents a significant step forward in our campus workforce training initiatives. Through this new partnership, the program will be taken to new heights as participants graduate with industry-recognized credentialing embodying the gold-standard in unmanned aviation of tomorrow.” Karen Kwandrans, Ed.D. AVP, Workforce Development.

The FAA’s UAS-CTI program recognizes institutions that prepare students for careers in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. To qualify for the initiative, schools must offer a bachelor’s or associate degree in UAS or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS. Schools must provide curriculum covering various aspects of UAS training, including hands-on flight practice, maintenance, uses, applications, privacy concerns, safety, and federal policies concerning UAS.

“Partnering with FAA in Unmanned Aircraft Systems represents the latest in an ongoing effort to position the College at the forefront in aerospace education. We are pleased to be a sole center of excellence in providing this credential for nearly the entire northeastern United States.” – William Murabito, Ph.D. President, SUNY Niagara.

SUNY Niagara, founded in 1962, is a two-year institution of higher education accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is the only public institution of post-secondary education in Niagara County. SUNY Niagara seeks to provide the people of Niagara County and the surrounding area with high quality, affordable education in diverse areas of the curriculum. The institution’s 50 degree and certificate programs are designed to enable its graduates to transfer to four-year degree programs or enter the workforce with skills that will enhance their career opportunities and contribute to the growth of the local economy. The current overall student enrollment at SUNY Niagara is 4,981 students.

Media Contact Information

Barbara DeSimone
Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-5904