UAS Operations for Environmental Scientists

UAS Operations for Environmental Scientists


Nicholas School of the Environment


The next offering of this course will be January 9 – February 17, 2023

UAS Operations for Environmental Scientists is the second course in the three course sequence, UAS Applications and Operations in Environmental Science: Become the Scientist Pilot. This three course sequence is taught online, with both asynchronous and synchronous components, providing significant flexibility for professionals seeking to learn more about how drones are applied in environmental science. Learn more about the sequence.

Learn the basics of drone flight operations, how to become legally certified, and how to fly effectively for scientific research purposes. This course lasts six weeks and features asynchronous video lectures and assessments, plus six 1.5 hour synchronous sessions Thursdays from 7-8:30pm ET.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain variations in the four forces of flight and how to fly safely in response to them.
  2. Describe how the sky is organized by the National Airspace System (NAS).
  3. Read and interpret Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sectional charts and identify various airspace designations.
  4. Identify hazards and flight restrictions in FAA regional/sectional charts.
  5. Anticipate possible interactions and environmental factors that could affect drone operations.
  6. Describe the nature of accurate and precise drone data, and how to collect it.
  7. Identify components of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum that are sampled by drones.
  8. Address and account for the factors that can affect data collection for both multirotor and fixed wing drones.
  9. Develop a research plan that employs drones to collect robust scientific data.

The cost to take a single course in the sequence is $2,000; the cost to take the entire three course sequence is $4,200.

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