Brock launches drone certificate program

From grape vine crop assessments to forest fire monitoring, drones have become important tools across a wide range of industries.

To help introduce students and community members to the technology, Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre is now offering Introduction to Drones as a non-credit certificate program. Registration is now open for the first day-long course, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 30.

“The course presents a unique opportunity to acquire detailed knowledge and hands-on experiential learning about the safe and legal use of drone technologies for real-world applications,” said Marilyne Jollineau, Acting Director of the ESRC, adding that Introduction to Drones is the first in a series of non-credit certificate programs to be offered by the Centre.

Drone use in environmental sustainability has surged with uses ranging from performing air quality assessments to allowing researchers to map, monitor and evaluate inhospitable or inaccessible sites without disturbing fragile ecosystems.

“The benefits and opportunities afforded to us by drones also come with inherent risks,” Jollineau said. “In order to mediate these risks and promote responsible drone operation, proper training is essential.”

Jollineau and course instructor Gillian Dale are both certified drone pilots under Transport Canada’s new drone regulations.

In addition to important knowledge about the safe and legal operation of drones, students will learn about various types and applications, basic operating principles, licensing requirements and best practices for environmental and human safety. In-class instruction will be supplemented with experiential learning exercises where students fly micro-drone quadcopters.

Although the program is not intended to directly prepare students to take the Transport Canada Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems exams, they will learn knowledge-based and practical skills, and will be provided with information and resources needed to work toward the Basic Operation licence.

For more information on how to legally fly a drone in Canada, visit the Transport Canada website.

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