University of North Dakota offers world's first degree course in UAV piloting

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This story is sourced from Flight International
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The world's first degree course for unmanned air vehicle pilots has started at the University of North Dakota, with 12 students.

Known as the Unmanned Air System Operations course, it will be a four-year bachelors degree, equipping students with pilot skills and the technical and operational knowledge they will need to be able to fly UAVs in all environments.

Jeffrey Kappenman, head of the university's unmanned aircraft centre, says: "Primarily the market is still military, but a lot of that is shifting over time. It's going to be a huge market in the future."

The university is talking to the US Federal Aviation Administration about its wish to set up a 35,000km2 (13,500 miles2) UAV flying range over North Dakota that the university's centre can use for UAV research as well as pilot training with real - rather than simulated - UAVs.

Professor Ben Trapnell says: "What we hope to do is educate and train students with the best available technology that exists, but we know that technology is going to change extremely rapidly. We may even need to teach courses in technology that has not hit the street yet."