K-State Polytechnic flying to new heights

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Bill Gross, a professor of aviation, speaks with Chris Van Nostrand, a freshman in professional piloting, after class on Sept. 19, 2013 at K-State Salina. (File Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

The Federal Aviation Administration approved K-State Polytechnic’s request to provide Unmanned Aircraft System commercial flight training to both students and outside companies on Nov. 23. The university was the first in the U.S. to receive this award.

“The fact that we were the first to obtain this approval is only one manifestation of the great work occurring at K-State in the area of UAS operations,” Michael Most, associate professor of aviation at K-State Polytechnic, said. “This approval, in conjunction with a major curriculum revision, will allow our students to achieve a much higher level of competency and enhance their employability upon graduation.”

The approval allows the university to “create and conduct an extensive flight training program for unmanned aircraft operations,” according to a release from K-State News and Communications Services. The training may be open both to students at the university and companies in the community.

The approval not only puts K-State Polytechnic ahead of other schools in terms of training, but it also puts the university’s students a step ahead as they move on with their careers, according to Most.

“As far as what this means to me, as a student, is that I’ll have a better opportunity to network with commercial entities through our industry partners, which could lead to more internship opportunities and or future employment opportunities,” Mike Kuni, sophomore in aeronautical technology, said.

According to Most, a number of commercial operations will now become possible for the aviation program, including offering short courses to a variety of industry partners and the public.

The approval will also allow research to be conducted with a variety of cutting-edge technologies. Most said he feels that one of the advantages to this approval is going to be the opportunity to provide students with education and training they cannot receive elsewhere.

“The curriculum is also in a constant state of change to keep up with and reflect changes in technology, policies and innovation, which will result in a more employable graduate,” Most said.

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Hey there! I'm Danielle Cook. I'm currently a freshman in journalism and mass communications. I live for telling true stories, so I hope to be doing it for the rest of my life. Luckily, I also live for late nights and early mornings – as long as there's coffee and I'm in good company.