The Drone Academy at Tri-c
Flying drones used to be a hobby, but in recent years law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responder departments across the country have begun to use drones. In 2016, the KeyBank Public Safety Training Center at Cuyahoga CommunityCollege Western Campus opened and has become the go-to place for drone training across Northeast Ohio. The DroneAcademy Program at the Center introduces individuals to drone technology, prepares students to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 exam, and provides simulation for flying and using a drone.
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is used in a wide range of industries and for various reasons such as agriculture, construction, insurance inspection, public safety, and emergencies. The FDA regulates the national airspace and thus regulates drones. The FAA also set operating, registration, pilot certification, and airspace authorization requirements.
There are different rules when flying a drone for commercial purposes or just for fun.“The Drone Program at the West Campus is for first responders only,” said David Pace, police officer, and drone instructor at the Center. Drones are like flying computers which can be up and deployed in a minute or less.”
The DroneAcademy, Introduction to Drone Operation course “prepares students to be able to handle emergencies and acquire an FAA Part 107 certification,” ‘ said Pace.“Police officers, firefighters, and first responders must become 107 certified because they operate drones for the government. Graduates of the College’s PoliceAcademycomplete the drone program because “it is a specialty that a lot of officers don’t have,” said Pace.
After completing the Introduction, students can go back to their department and teach other officers, firefighters, and first responders. Students can also opt to complete the Five-day advanced Law Enforcement training. During the first two days of this training, students learn “all of the FAA regulations to become certified and the remaining three days, students learn safety, search and rescue scenarios, and how to enter abuilding to find a person using thermal imaging,” said Paceused for large events to do surveillance,” said Pace. Some bigger drones also have a small gate that is used to transport items to a person
To learn more about the DroneAcademy, students can visit tri-c.edu and click the Public Safety tab. Prospective students can also plan to enroll in the Introduction course, which is offered monthly, from March 2022 through Oct. 2022.