Liberty University Aeronautics Students Receive Unmanned Aircraft System Operator Certification

Last week, all 12 Liberty University School of Aeronautics (LUSOA) students in the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) concentration received operator certification in the Dragon Eye UAS, making them the first Liberty students to receive full industry certification in the field.

UAS is the technology used to remotely pilot unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly referred to as “drones” in their military application. Liberty’s program, launched last fall, recently earned the Innovator of the Year award from Virginia’s Region 2000 Technology Council.

“This is a superb example of a team bringing to the table their unique expertise for a common cause. Air Force ROTC (AFROTC), UAV Pro, and LUSOA joined together to provide this opportunity to Liberty AFROTC cadets and students,” said John Marselus, LUSOA associate dean of Flight Operations.

Dragon Eye UAS certification is based on a Department of Defense training program used to fully certify Marines for the past decade.

The students completed all academic and simulator training on campus with LUSOA staff. They then split into two teams of six and took part in an Air Force ROTC-sponsored training and recruiting event held throughout the week at a military location. The flight training program was administered by Greg Lumpkin, president of UAV Pro. The company is a leader in unmanned vehicle training, support, technology, and facilities.

The students also had the opportunity to visit AAI Corporation near Fort Pickett, Va., where two Liberty graduates are preparing to deploy overseas. Trevor Britt (’12) and Sam Poff (’12) were recently certified to operate the Aerosonde UAS, which is currently being used in Afghanistan. Poff was singled out as a top performer in his class, according to AAI Senior Program Manager Dr. Joseph Cerreta.

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