UAS Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)?

A system is the platform, payload and the autopilot, the communications, avionics (the on-board intelligence, communications, radio transmissions), and the human pilot.

What is a UAS platform?

Platform is a generic term for UAS that developed from the context of the aircraft being used as a “platform” to hold a sensor. The platform, or Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV), is often chosen by what type of information will be collected during the mission and other performance parameters such as range, altitude, and endurance. Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus has more than 20 different platforms to in our unmanned fleet.

What is a payload?

It is any device that is part of the aircraft that is used to gather or collect data external to the aircraft. Examples: Payloads consist of cameras that image in numerous different wavelengths, such as visual (often called electro-optical), infrared, near-infrared, multispectral, hyperspectral. Payloads can also be radars, air sampling sensors, radiation detectors, and many more..

What are the potential job opportunities for UAS operators?

Job opportunities will increase in 2015 as the FAA continues to open up access for commercial UAS to the National Airspace System (NAS). There is a big opportunity for small aircraft under 55 pounds, due to lower system cost and less risk in their operation. Among other applications, national studies have projected that agricultural and inspection applications will be a large market.

What is the difference between “In-the-loop” and “On-the-loop”?

“In-the-loop” is when a person is in direct “hands-on” control of the aircraft. “On-the-loop” is when a person is monitoring the aircraft during automated flight.

How does being an RC enthusiast translate?

Many of the fundamental skills learned operating remote control aircraft can be used to help pilot a UAS during non-autonomous flights. Even for autonomous UAS, it is important for a skilled pilot to be able to take over and be able to safely fly and land the UAV.

What is COA?

A Certificate of Authorization (COA) is granted by the FAA, allowing an entity to legally operate a specific UAS in a certain location. K-State has many which are used for research missions, enabling our operations.

How does K-State use UAS?

UAS can enable more efficient operations in many cases. They can also be used to make jobs easier and safer. We use them to explore the application of emerging technologies for various applications. K-State research includes agricultural applications, the development of missions for utility companies, advisement on relevance for Department of Transportation, and the FAA.

What is NAS?

NAS is an acronym for National Airspace. It is the national airspace where aircraft fly.