College classes now cover drone technology for farmers

Piedmont Virginia Community College is now offering a drone certification class for farmers who want to use that technology.

PVCC became the first college in the nation to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Authority to conduct research and development of aircraft and sensors, including small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, used for public safety. The college held a course for emergency services personnel and first responders in May.

Now it’s extending that training to farmers who want to obtain FAA certification to operate drones, and to learn about technology for extracting data from the drones.

“The class enables farmers who use precision agriculture practices to add an additional capability to get the data they need to make decisions during all stages of operations—from field assessments, planting, fertilizing, pesticide/fungicide applications and even insurance claims,” said Darren Goodbar, curriculum developer and principal instructor for the class. Goodbar serves as director of aerial services at Draper Aden Associates and is a certified pilot for manned aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft. He has been operating military drones and commercial markets for more than five years.

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