Students learn to fly drones in AACC class


Photo courtesy of the AACC Drone Center

AACC students can take a class to learn how to fly drones and get their Federal Aviation Administration license.

Tomi Brunton, Associate Editor

Students looking to fulfill their technology requirements can take a class on how to fly drones.

The AACC Drone Center offers the class, UAS-111, which prepares students to take a Federal Aviation Administration exam. The course also teaches students to incorporate drones into science, industry and commerce.

“I think it is a great class and it’s going to touch all the majors in some way,” Tim Tumelty, an instructional specialist who teaches UAS-111, said. “If you are a business major, your business in the future may use drones. … It has a direct link to architecture, landscape architecture. … I work closely with the Art Department in video, [and] I team up a lot with the environmental science major.”

Tumelty started the Drone Center in 2019, and also teaches a one-credit class, UAS-100, that focuses entirely on the Federal Aviation Administration license.

Tumelty said UAS-111 was “targeting people that wanted to get their drone license” but it turned out differently.

“Most of the students in the class are interested in getting their technology credit, and they think, you know, doing a drone class would interest them more than other gen-ed technology options that are out there,” Tumelty said.

Tumelty added he “learned a lot last semester” about why students take drone classes.

“I learned that everybody in the room wasn’t … excited about getting their drone license,” Tumelty said. “So, you know, I adjusted the learning objectives. What I promised this semester different than last semester is [that] I’m going to be more general and less nuanced.”

Brady Weichert, a second-year business student who is taking the class, said it “prepared” him to work with drones.

“I like flying drones as a hobby and I saw that you could, like, take this class and get your license,” Weichert said.

First-year forensics student Arman Jones said he took the class to fulfill the college’s technology requirement.

“It’s actually pretty cool,” Jones said. “The teacher is really cool, and … you get to fly drones and stuff.”

Tumelty said he hopes to start a drone club.

“I need interest,” Tumelty said. “You need to have 10 students and a president or vice president to start a drone club. Those are run by students, not by faculty. So I need to really just put the word out there, to let people know that I’d be willing to be the … staff representative for the drone club.”