Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Flight Operations Manager

K-State Salina’s Applied Aviation Research Center seeks an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Flight Operations Manager. This position manages and conducts UAS flight operations for the K-State UAS Program and participates in research and systems integration under the guidance of the UAS Program Manager.


  • Performs primary pilot duties for UAS flight operations, including: plans missions, conducts flights, collects data as necessary, and creates post flight reports.
  • Maintains flight operations and laboratory records.
  • Manages FAA Certificates of Authorization (COAs) from application to renewal.
  • Manages staff and student UAS platform operators.
  • Establishes and maintains Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all aspects of UAS flight operations.
  • Ensures compliance with all applicable flight operations regulations to include overseeing crewmember qualifications.
  • Researches best practices for UAS operations in a variety of applications and industries.
  • Participates in UAS electronics and sensor technology integration and research.


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Qualified UAS operator
  • Two (2) years experience in UAS
  • FAA Private Pilot Certificate
  • Current FAA Class II Flight Medical
  • Ability to quickly learn and keep pace with a rapidly growing industry
  • Extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office, computer networking and programs, and computer based systems
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of Certificate of Authorization process
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills
  • Must be highly motivated and a team player
  • Proficient in analog & digital electronics
  • Must be a United States Citizen as required by the Technology Control Plan.
  • Must pass a background check
  • Able to work from engineering prints/schematics and parts lists
  • Able to lift 50 pounds
  • Must be able to work some nights and weekends


  • Bachelor’s degree in UAS
  • Certificate of Authorization (COA) development, application, and management experience
  • Demonstrated experience with civilian UAS applications
  • Piccolo autopilot and VTOL UAS pilot experience
  • FAA Commercial Pilot’s License and/or Certified Flight Instructor
  • Systems integration experience
  • Proficient RC aircraft flying skills
  • One (1) year of classroom and lab technical instructing experience


$55,000 - $80,000 Depending on Qualifications (DOQ)


This is a full-time, twelve-month term position based on the continuing availability of funding. Some evenings and weekends, and travel are required.


Email a letter of application, resume, college transcripts, copy of pilot’s license and flight medical, and contact information for three (3) current professional references (email, telephone numbers, and current addresses) to mblanks@ksu.edu with the subject line UAS JOB 2014 

Review of applications begins on July 1, 2014

Kansas State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.

Kansas State University encourages diversity among its employees.

Background Check Required.


One of three campuses in the Kansas State University system, K-State Salina offers bachelors degrees in the fields of engineering technology, aviation, technology management, social work, and family studies and human services as well as a Professional Master of Technology degree. Academic programs are designed to prepare students for their careers and focus on real-world application of the information they learn in the classroom. The Salina campus has many laboratories available for student research projects, three runways adjacent to campus, and a fleet of nearly 50 modern aircraft as well as two-dozen UAS platforms. R-3601 restricted airspace is located just 7 miles southwest of campus.

The K-State UAS Program is one of the most active collegiate UAS programs in the country with a primary research focus on the UAS application areas of agriculture, public safety, and energy; in addition to research in UAS airworthiness, sensor integration, and enabling technologies that cross numerous domains. The Program has received over 30 COAs and performs 100+ UAS missions per year. The Program’s UAS fleet is a mix of small UAS ranging from hexacopters to the AAI Aerosonde Mk. 4.7. For more information visit http://www.salina.k-state.edu/aviation/uas/index.html  

Located at the crossroads of I-70 and I-135, Salina has a population of about 50,000 and offers a variety of local and national restaurants, shopping, arts, and entertainment.