December 8, 2023

Drone Certification

Crashing Is A Good Thing

“I completely forgot how valuable this is.”

That’s literally what I said to Shawn “BW” Barstow as we watched drone certificate students make their first attempt at flying the fixed-wing drones they built. And crashing. It’s been so long since I last crashed a fixed-wing drone I totally spaced off the fact that what I know how to do now would never have come about without crashing. And isn’t that case?

“We learn from failure, not from success” is one of my favorite quotes from Abraham van Helsing in Brom Stoker’s Dracula, my favorite novel. Even Kim Horsely, lecturer here at Utah State University Eastern, said some of her favorite days in any class were the frustration days. The days you want to cry. Why? Because that’s when we learn.

The drone certificate program is the most hands-on program I’ve ever seen or heard of. And, yeah, that’s the point of certificate programs, but this one is different because you build your own drone, you crash your own drone, you repair your own drone, and along the way, you learn about all the academics involved in flying drones.

There’s rules and regulations, airspace restrictions, airport communications, weather patterns, photography basics, and then the whole industry-level-skills thing. Students get all that through the drone certificate program.

But the coolest part? Drones go with anything. What’s your major? I guarantee we can fit drones into it, and a drone certificate with any major simply makes you that much more hirable. Drones and law enforcement. Drones and architecture. Drones and geology. Drones and theater. Drones and wildlife resources. Drones and… you get the picture.

“Drones in and of itself isn’t a career, but it supplements every career out there,” says Barstow, aviation lecturer and drone certificate and Aggie Drone Academy director.

So come learn with us. Come fly with us. Come crash with us. I guarantee you’ll learn and be a part of something you never thought you’d do. Take it from someone who taught high school English for 13 years before coming on at USU Eastern as an aviation lecturer in sUAS, and someone who has built and flown fixed-wing drones for 20 years. Crashing is a good thing.

The done certificate program is one year; two semesters of five classes each, beginning with AV1900, which is available to take this Spring. Email [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.