Florida Institute of Technology: The Unmanned Aerial Systems Industry (Drones) Will Create Over 100,000 Jobs by 2025.



The program includes classes covering UAS history, FAA and NSA regulatory issues, operations, applications, flight training, and subsystems, to include payloads, sensors, electronics, software, autopilots, and platforms.


Florida Tech’s UAS program, one of only a few in the U.S., was started by Julie Moore, who was hired by Florida Tech in 2013 as an Assistant Professor of Aviation Science.

Her aviation background is remarkable. She spent 12 years in the U.S. Air Force flying the $30 million F-16 fighter jet. In 2007 she was selected to serve in a prestigious U.S. Air squadron called the Aggressors, the “best-of-the-best pilots” who acted as the enemy demonstrating “adversary storms and tactics.” (Forward Florida; 11/13/2014)

Julie spent three years in the Aggressors and in 2010 became a active duty detachment commander in the 93rd Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base in South Florida. In 2012 she became a reservist.

She is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a Master of Science degree in environmental studies at Green Mountain College.

18 credit hours are required for The Florida Tech minor in UAS. The curriculum includes the following courses:

  • Introduces the applications and technologies of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Includes the challenges of UAS integration into controlled airspace, crew qualifications and training, and safety.
  • Provides a study of major subsystems common to most unmanned aerial systems. Includes introductory UAS flight training using commercially available quad-copters and payload-capable hexa-copters. Covers major subsystems common to most UAS, and concludes with a student-planned, -executed and -analyzed UAS mission.
  • Provides students with foundational knowledge of aviation. Includes aircraft components, basic aerodynamics, airports, air traffic control, airspace, regulations, performance, weight and balance, aeronautical factors, aviation weather and air navigation.
  • Provides basic aeronautics instruction for all students. Prepares flight students for the FAA private pilot written examination. Includes aircraft components, basic aerodynamics, airports, air traffic control, airspace, regulations, performance, weight and balance, aeromedical factors, aviation weather and air navigation.
  • Prepares flight students for the FAA instrument rating written examination. Includes flight instruments, attitude instrument flying, navigation systems, regulations, air traffic control, airspace, aviation weather, flight planning, and departure, en route, and approach charts and procedures.
  • Studies intensively the National Airspace System including its political, geographical and operational structures. Covers ATC responsibilities, airfield operations and special-use airspace management.

According to Dennis Dalli, a Florida Tech UAS Research Assistant, “there are endless commercial applications for unmanned ariel systems that will save time, money, enhance safety and create thousands of new career opportunities.”


Dennis Dalli, pictured right.

Mr. Dalli says, “Can you imagine the risk of three men in a $ 765,000 tower crane inspecting a high rise building for rust and corrosion with the tower swaying back and forth when it could all be done without any men with a $ 25,000 UMS?”

crane suspended man baskets

Other applications, just to name a few, include monitoring and inspecting polluted areas, power lines, radiation, railroads, historical monuments, wildlife, refineries, hazardous materials, bridges, and wildlife.  As Mr. Dalli said: “There are endless commercial applications.”

In terms of UAS careers, according to http://uavcoach.com/uav-jobs/ “From aerial photography and cinematography in the extreme sports (or outdoor film industry) to land surveying start-ups and drone manufacturers, the UAV job market is in an exciting growth state.

The drone job market is opening up for UAS operators, pilots, and engineers at all levels of employment experience.

On this page, you’ll find the most comprehensive list of drone jobs, with 300+ opportunities currently listed.”

According to an article written by Ben Rooney on 12/26/14 in CNNMoney, “Big companies, such as Amazon and Facebook, are looking for pilots who fly drones and engineers with experience in building the unmanned aircraft. And they are willing to pay top dollar for the right stuff.

Large employers are already paying up for drone pilots — about $50 an hour, or over $100,000 a year — according to Al Palmer, director of the center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the University of North Dakota.”


On Tuesday, August 30, 2016 the FAA has issued new regulations that will require commercial UAS operators to have pilot licenses, and to attain special UAS licensing and certification. With the Florida Tech’s new UAS Lab, Julie Moore and her team have the ability to conduct research to help inform students about these policies.

The FAA issued a fact sheet on the new regulations on June 21, 2016. Essentially the regulations apply to “commercial” use of UAS operators.  Mr. Dalli indicated there is a “fine line between having fun and using a UAS commercially.”  For example, if you use your UAS to take photographs and then sell them the new regulations apply to you.

“The new rules for non-hobbyist small unmanned aircraft (UAS) operations – Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (PDF) – cover a broad spectrum of commercial uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds.”

“To operate the controls of a small UAS under Part 107, you need a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds such a certificate

You must be at least 16 years old to qualify for a remote pilot certificate, and you can obtain it in one of two ways:

You may pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and you must take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.

If you have a non-student pilot Part 61 certificate, you will immediately receive a temporary remote pilot certificate when you apply for a permanent certificate. Other applicants will obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate upon successful completion of a security background check. We anticipate we will be able to issue temporary certificates within 10 business days after receiving a completed application.”

In conclusion, on May 9, 2015 Florida Tech Hybrid Rocket Team (Team ACE) took first place in the Precision Altitude Competition at the annual NASA/FSGC/NEFAR High Powered Hybrid Rocket Competition near Bunnell, FL.


Florida Tech Hybrid Rocket Team ACE

Out of nine competing universities, Rocket Team ACE reached within 5% of the target altitude of 2000 feet (2097 ft agl). Only a past Florida Tech Team had ever done better at 1938 ft.

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