Drone course now offered at Fanshawe

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: KERRA SEAY
These are just two of the drones used by the School of Aviation Technology by the London International Airport in a new continuing education course about the new technology.

A new Continuing Education course through Fanshawe College will teach and certify its students to fly drones.

The course is in compliance with Transport Canada regulatory requirements to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), more commonly known as a drone.

The drone industry is rapidly growing according to Stephen Patterson, chair of the Fanshawe School of Aviation Technology. He said the commercial use of drones in North America has grown from a $1.8 billion industry last year to a $3.6 billion industry this year. This calculation excludes military contracts.

“As [the drone industry] becomes regulated and people start understanding what it does for their business you're going to see it get heavily commercialized in the next few years,” he said.

Patterson said the certification course is in response to plans by Transport Canada to implement regulations on drones in the next few months.

“You'll probably have to register your drone when you buy it and then also provide proof of training it might actually result in an examination,” Patterson said. “It's almost like a boating license.”

The class will be using smaller drones that can be purchased from hobby shops by enthusiasts.

Commercial drones range in prices; some drones can be purchased for under $200 while other retail for over $5,000.

Fanshawe offers two streams of the drone course, a blended course and an online course.

The online class is the first section of the longer blended course. This is for drone enthusiasts who already know how to operate the technology but still covers the essential information to provide them with a drone license. This includes logging flight hours, meteorology, emergency procedures, and air regulations and laws among other things.

The blended course continues on with more detailed knowledge on drone operations. Patterson said this course is perfect for someone who has no experience at all with flying a drone. Students in the blended course can even use simulation software to learn how to fly a drone.

Patterson said almost any company out there could find a use for a drone, from a real estate agency using drone footage to advertise a house to emergency or utilities services to weddings.

“There's going to be a point where everyone [in aviation] will have to take it Whatever you could use a camera or a sensor for that's how it can be used,” Patterson said.

Both the online and blended courses cost $359.30 each. The course will be offered in the summer semester as well as the fall semester.