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Introduction to Drone/UAS/UAV Safety and Use

UC Merced Extension - Student works with drone in agricultural setting.

Drones are in the process of revolutionizing data acquisition in the fields of surveying, precision agriculture, construction, firefighting, and even accident forensics. They are also becoming an invaluable tool for cinematographers and real estate services providing a low-cost and minimally intrusive alternative to helicopters. Increasingly affordable and user-friendly drones have also opened the field to a host of hobbyists and enthusiasts, opening up a burgeoning consumer market, and speeding up the rate of innovation and development. As drones find use in ever more applications, regulations have been developed in order to assure safe operation and integrate drones into the national airspace.

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Dates: TBD
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You can earn .08 CEU for this seminar. 

Course Description:

This one-day course prepares participants to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) test to earn a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) rating. The Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) rating is required in order to fly drones commercially. 

The UAG test is not included in this course. Individuals will need to register separately for the test with an FAA-approved site. 

The course will have a duration of 8 hours (including breaks).

Learning Goals:

  • To prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam
  • To develop a safety-oriented mindset through risk management and situational awareness.

Course Materials:

  • Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (PDF)
  • Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) (PDF)
  • US Department of Transportation Advisory Circular 107-2 (PDF)
  • Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge FAA-H-8083-25B (PDF)
  • Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards (PDF)

Lecture Topics:

1: Drone Law

  • Audience Q&A/questionnaire:
    What do you expect from this course, what are your learning goals?
  • Introduction and overview of part 107 regulations.
  • Overview of study materials and study strategy

2: Aeronautical Charts & Airports

  • Traffic Patterns
  • Overview of controlled airspace and the rules pertaining to flying drones therein.
  • Use of aeronautical charts, identifying air spaces, hazards, temporary flight restrictions
  • Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

3: Airports and Communication

  • Types of airports
  • Phonetic alphabet
  • Traffic Patterns
  • Communication requirements and protocol

4: Risk Management

  • Situational awareness
  • Pre-flight risk assessment
  • Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM)
  • Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM)
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Documentation and record keeping

5: Weather & Aircraft Loading

  • Effects of weather on the performance of aircraft
  • Identifying weather and cloud patterns
  • Density Altitude
  • Loading and center of gravity
  • Weather information sources

6: Finishing up

  • Practice Questions
  • Q&A
  • Exit survey