University Teams Up with Aviation Industry Executives to Advance UAS


The School of Aeronautics (SOA) at Lynchburg, Va.-based Liberty University says it is working in close cooperation with leaders in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry to formulate procedures for an effective regulatory regime for UAS operations.

On Nov. 17, a group of executives from Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. business, visited the SOA to discuss Liberty’s program for UAS. Textron Systems’ businesses develop and integrate products, services and support for aerospace, defense, civil and commercial customers.

During the meeting, the group prepared a proposal outlining ways to help train and certify UAS pilots in response to the forthcoming incorporation of the vehicles into in the National Airspace System.

As the demand for UAS pilots grows, the university says, it is imperative that students are being highly trained and qualified to safely and effectively operate within FAA regulations. The training would involve academic, simulator and flight training that includes normal operations along with emergency and tactical operations and applications.

“By combining the strengths and capabilities of our organizations, we have come up with an exponential answer that can be handed to the Federal Aviation Administration for their consideration to be incorporated into their Code of Federal Regulations,” says John Marselus, Liberty’s associate dean for UAS.

“The graduates of this program would put in place highly trained and qualified personnel who can safely and effectively operate within all Federal Aviation Regulations using the current guidelines and exceeding them with a proven training program,” he explains.

Marselus says they are also looking into creating a similar certification program for mechanics who maintain UAS. It would incorporate foundational knowledge of current rules and incorporate additional information and training that is UAS specific.

In January, Liberty says, it played a key role in the selection of the UAS test site in Virginia.

Last fall, students from Liberty’s UAS program received UAS operator certification in an Air Force-sponsored training event. The UAS program earned the Innovator of the Year award from Virginia’s Region 2000 Technology Council last year.

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