The K-State UAS Difference
K-State Salina offers students a hands-on approach to learning UAS technology. Most universities conduct operator and sensor training via simulation.
At K-State Students begin with UAS simulation and manned flight training. By the third semester students are in the field gaining practical experience flying both Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS and primary UAV trainers. As a team, students and their classmates assume roles as UAS crew members in such positions as Launch and Recovery, Sensor operator, Pilot in Command, Mission Commander, or Safety Officer. By the junior and senior years students have acquired numerous hours of actual UAS flight time and begin operating larger scale/longer duration UAVs such as the Aerosondes or Penguins. The experience and knowledge gained culminates in the senior year when the students integrates a live UAS and conduct test flights.
K-State is unique in that available airspace is not a hindrance to the program. KSU has agreements with the Kansas National Guard and the U.S. Army for airspace to include the Smoky Hill aerial weapons range and restricted airspace at Ft Riley to conduct research and training flights (R-3601 and R-3602). Students also have the ability to train in the National Airspace System via K-State’s Certificates of Authorization (COA). Through a longstanding respected relationship with the FAA KSU has been granted over 10 different COAs.
Sensor training can be an element that is overlooked or may not emphasized in civil UAS training. KSU has numerous COA’s overlying nearby Crisis City, a mock disaster training area owned by the state. With exercises conducted almost weekly students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sensor training opportunities.
K-State will also be offering students a unique UAS training that is applicable to real-world operations. KSU is one of only a few to conduct UAS hand-off missions. Missions launch from the adjoining class D airport where a chase plane follows the UAV to its operations area 5 miles away. Along the way the UAV is handed-off to another Ground Control Station and Pilot in Command at the operations area. When the mission is complete the procedure is reversed and the UAV is landed back at the Salina Class D airport.