Navarro College Course Turns Students Into Drone Pilots

Students are conducting research on the technicalities of flying drones, their uses, and how the tech will affect the future.

by Ashley Ford, Waxahachie Daily Light / March 2, 2018 0

(TNS) — MIDLOTHIAN — Sophomore technical and business communications students at Navarro College-Midlothian have become drone pilots as part of the course requirements for his class.

Students in Dr. Steve Thompson's course are conducting research on the technical side as to how the drone is able to fly and what current and future uses of the drone are in its future. Joining the crash pilot's course was Dr. Alex Kajstura, the Midlothian campus dean.

"There is nothing more successful in raising interest in a research subject in college than becoming a part of the research," Kajstura said.

Each student took a turn flying the Yuneec Typhoon-H drone and succeeded.

The English 2311 course has become common as a transfer course required by many colleges and universities throughout the state, Thompson stated.

Amanda Emerton, a Red Oak graduate of the University of Texas in Arlington, is taking the course to help fulfill the requirements for her bachelor's degree in nursing at UTA.

David Costello, a graduate of Navarro College, has come back to take the course and transfer it to UTA. When asked about the importance of technical and business communications, David replied, "Well, it's like Dr. Thompson has always told us—communication skills will get you a job and keep you a job."

The drone portion of the class involves flying the high-tech version. Students must be able to perform many feats, such as come home and land next to you when the battery gets low, dodge objects with its eyes, and show you a view of where it is with its rotating camera and can go view items at programmed coordinates.

Thompson said he uses the drone for hog hunting on his farm, and it is a must for finding hogs in tall corn or checking hog traps without driving through the mud. The camera can also be equipped with night vision for evening hunting.

He added there are laws against flying drones, especially for taking pictures of private individuals. Even though his class moved the drone about 20 diameters, there weren't any photos taken. However, there is a law that allows college professors to use drones for research.

"Technology cannot be ignored anymore in the classroom. It's in the future for all of us, and the many uses for the future jobs of a drone are unlimited. Drones are now being researched and developed to fly a single person, and the landing spot will automatically charge the battery," Thomson concluded.

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