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Coastal Pines on Cutting Edge of Drone Education

November 27, 2018 04:04 PM

Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC) has recently partnered with CrossFlight Sky Solutions (Bluffton, SC), recognized experts in the SUAS / Drone technology field. CrossFlight and their educational partner’s team offer curriculum and educational training for local industry, business, civil authorities, and community members seeking to become FAA Certified Commercial Drone Pilots.

Safety Concerns a ‘Now’ Problem with Drones

Most of the world knows that Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Drones are here to stay. Already prevalent in the hobbyist and military world, drones are now being used by private industries and civil authorities in record numbers. From surveying, engineering, construction, marketing, law enforcement and real estate, aerial imaging is being incorporated daily.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated the drone industry to reach $100 billion by 2020. In 2016 more than 800,000 drones were sold in the U.S., and in 2017, almost 1.2 million drones were sold. In 2018, that number could be as high as 1.4 million. That is a lot of machines competing for airspace with commercial planes, private planes, helicopters and other aircraft. And as technology continues to improve, those numbers should only increase.

The Problem with Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has some valid safety concerns with the drone industry. Currently, only drone pilots that wish to use their drone for any commercial or business purpose must be certified. An FAA Remote Pilot Certification (sometimes referred to as the FAA FAR Part 107) can be achieved by passing an exam with topics such as aeronautical decision making, weather, airport operations, airspace, physiological conditions, risk assessment, and much more. To date, there are only and estimated 10,000 certified pilots throughout the United States. That leaves the other 99% of drone operators without any kind of training, education or knowledge of the FAA rules on how to properly and safely operate a drone. It seems almost inevitable that tragedy is bound to happen.

Drones can do serious damage to people and property. A collision with an aircraft could easily cause a crash and hundreds of close calls have already been reported.Some of these incidents have been caused by reckless individuals, while other close calls could have easily been caused by non-educated and ill-informed drone pilots who just don’t know the laws.

What are the potential solutions?

Some will tell you tell you that the drone industry needs more rules and stricter guidelines. That may be true to a certain extent, however the FAA has plenty of regulations that govern drones and all airspace. The problem in reality seems to be a lack of education and knowledge of these rules and regulations as well as an even greater lack of enforcement of the rules already in place. To properly manage the congestion in the air, education and training will no doubt have the greatest impact in keeping our skies safer. Anyone operating a drone should know the ‘laws of the air’ just as anyone operating a car needs to know the ‘laws of the road’. Online drone education and training options, as well as instructor led classes at technical colleges, community colleges and high schools are a convenient and affordable way to learn how to effectively and safely operate a drone. Considering the alternative, it is worth the investment to learn the rules, regulations and laws governing our airspace.

Coastal Pines Technical College – FAA Drone Pilot Certification Class

CrossFlight CEO Jerry Whittaker stated “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Coastal Pines Technical College. Through this partnership we desire to create a wave of certified commercial FAA drone pilots, ready to begin and carve their careers in the exciting and fast growing drone technology industry. We feel that this partnership fits perfectly with CPTC's commitment to excellence in advanced technology and we could not be more excited.”

The 22 hour program is an instructor led class covering FAA rules and regulations, airspace classifications, risk assessment tools, aeronautical decision making, airport operations, weather and much more. Students will also take part in both a manual and automated hands on flying segment during the class, as well as discuss potential career paths in the exploding drone technology field.

The class will be held Monday December 3rd through Thursday December 6th from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, as well as Saturday December 8th from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Coastal Pines Technical College Golden Isles Campus. For more information, or to register for the class, please visit CPTC Community Education at or email




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Los números de teléfono son accesibles a las personas que son sordos o con pérdida de la audición a través de Georgia Relay marcando 711 o 1-800-255-0056 de TTY/TDD.


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