Through a new partnership with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute says it will begin training “the next generation of pilots” at Florida high schools. The college-credit coursework will include various classes focused on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The institute will begin providing the courses at Florida high schools at which the Air Force branch of the JROTC has a unit. The goal is to expand the program nationwide and eventually to Air Force JROTC units around the world. A high school in Arkansas recently announced a similar program.
The Gaetz Aerospace Institute – a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) dual-enrollment education program – offers tuition-free college credits and hands-on experience in university-level courses focusing on growing industries including aviation, unmanned systems, aerospace, engineering, computers and business.
According to Embry-Riddle, there are 73 Air Force JROTC programs in high schools across the state. Ten schools in nine different school districts will take part in the tuition-free pilot program for the fall 2017-2018 semester.
The courses include as follows:
Principles of Aeronautical Science: three credits
An introductory course in aeronautical science designed to provide a broad-based aviation orientation in flight-related areas appropriate to all non-aeronautical science degree programs.
Private Pilot Operations: five credits
Develops the aeronautical knowledge required for certification as a Private Pilot with an Airplane Single Engine Land rating.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems: three credits
A survey of UAS, emphasizing the military and commercial history, growth and application of UAS.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Security: three credits
A sophomore-level seminar course focused on the concepts of drone security and protection.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operation and Cross-Country Data Entry: three credits
Provides an understanding of the core technologies of drones. It will include examinations of the design concepts, powerplants, control systems and communication technologies used in current unmanned aircraft systems and/or likely to be used in the next few years.
“Air Force JROTC is excited about the opportunity to establish an education partnership with Embry Riddle,” says Michael Wetzel, academic credit liaison with the U.S. Air Force’s Holm Center Academic Affairs Directorate. “Both military and commercial aviation are experiencing a shortage of young qualified pilots and unmanned aircraft vehicle operators. This is an opportunity to attract Air Force JROTC cadets to the field of aviation through Embry-Riddle’s ground school and small UAS certification programs – with the hope of getting high school cadets interested in an aviation career while becoming young leaders in their communities and for our country.”