Textron, USI Create Drone Pilot Pipeline

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Image: Textron Systems

The Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) will be collaborating with Textron Systems to bring Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS/drone) operator training into university curriculums. According to the companies, the agreement will create an employment pipeline for college students, secondary students, exiting military personnel and adult learners “interested in pursuing an unmanned career pathway.” The new program will be designed to support classroom and flight training directly related to Textron’s UAS platforms.

“Through this collaboration, students participating in this unique experience will be prepared for graduation and employment within the unmanned systems industry,” said Textron Systems Vice President of Tactical Mission Systems Chris Mallon. “Over the past couple years, we have seen an increased demand for Aerosonde SUAS operations, making this certification program an extremely valuable asset for those wishing to join the Textron Systems team.”

Students will be able to cover program costs using traditional student financing, financial aid and GI Bill financing. The companies have not yet announced which colleges and universities will be offering the program. Textron’s Aerosonde SUAS is capable of both land- and sea-based operations. It can carry a payload of 20 pounds and has wingspan of 11.9 feet and a maximum endurance of more than 14 hours.