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

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