Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, a Textron Inc. business, announced today that the Lynchburg, Virginia-based Liberty University School of Aeronautics has implemented Aerosonde™ Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) training as part of its offered coursework for students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in aeronautics, focusing on unmanned systems.
The first courses kicked off this month with 12 students, who will complete Aerosonde operations certification over three semesters.
Liberty University selected the Aerosonde system for student training based on its capability, reliability and maturity. The system is delivering thousands of monthly flight hours for U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers in some of the world's most challenging environments. The majority of these flight hours are provided by Textron Systems' own experienced operators and maintainers.
"The Liberty University School of Aeronautics is pleased to include the Aerosonde in its curriculum as we prepare our students for careers in the burgeoning UAS industry," says Dave Young, Liberty University Assistant Provost for Aeronautics Education.
Textron Systems developed its Aerosonde SUAS operations curriculum based on decades of experience designing, manufacturing, operating and supporting unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over more than a million cumulative flight hours. Within its nearby Fort Pickett, Virginia-based schoolhouse, Textron Systems has graduated more than 300 of its own students to date based on this curriculum, who are operating the Aerosonde system around the world.
In late 2014, the Aerosonde system also received a Certificate of Authorization for operations with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, or MAAP, one of six authorized test sites established by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its larger program to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
"Our Aerosonde system has proven itself as a reliable, multi-mission asset for commercial and military customers on land and at sea," says Vice President, Small/Medium-Endurance UAS David Phillips. "The addition of an Aerosonde curriculum offering to Liberty University's renowned School of Aeronautics offers students a unique advantage as they graduate and seek career opportunities."