WilmU’s College of Technology is offering its first class using drones, remote-controlled pilotless aircraft that provide a bird’s-eye view via video.
In Aerial Cinematography (VMG 330), a hands-on course, students are learning the technical skills required to operate a professional-level quad-copter. Wilmington University currently has a fleet of three commercial drones, each weighing several pounds, and three micro-drones, which fit in the palm of a hand.
Timothy A. Day, who teaches in the College of Technology and is a drone operator himself, says the course was developed as demand for drone videography grows. The technology was first used for such tasks as monitoring military targets. Today, farmers use drones to key an eye on crops. Utility companies can check power lines remotely. First-responders used drones in search-and-rescue missions following recent hurricanes.
“Across the field of technology, from Videomaker to Popular Mechanics, almost every month there’s an article about drones,” he says.
Offered as an elective to all students, the course includes a series of lectures, in-class demonstrations, reading assignments and a series of projects. Students also are required to learn and obey all FAA laws and regulation for operation of a filmmaking drone, such as not flying more than 400 feet above the ground.
Day says the class is resonating with students, a mix of hobbyists and those who want to use drones commercially. More classes are in the planning stages.
“We’ve had a great response from students, great deal of excitement,” he says.