The Warren County Community College drone program is one of the best of its kind, with the highest quality training along with the highest level of accessibility. The program is keeping safety at the forefront of the curriculum with an important new hire.
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Excellence in Safety Education Key to Generation of Tomorrow’s Pilots
In another expansion of its nationally recognized drone and unmanned systems program, Warren County Community College has added a former air traffic controller, NY/NJ control tower manager, and drone flight safety expert to the staff as a now recognized senior adjunct professor.
Jason Beim brings to the WarrenUAS staff a wide scope of insight about flight and drone operations, particularly about the safe piloting of the equipment, a priority for the college as it trains a rapidly increasing number of students for the fast-growing industry.
“I have relied on Jason for advice in the past as we reached various key junctures in the creation of this program,” said Warren President Will Austin who is deeply involved in the development of the WarrenUAS program and has known Beim for several years as interest and expertise in the new field grew for each of them. “Now, our students can benefit from his vast knowledge about flight and drones specifically, and their safe operation in airspace. He will more formally be contributing to our program as it continues our rapid expansion in enrollment and broader reach in the study of this many-faceted industry.”
The college, a national leader in education and training about the design, operation, and maintenance of drones and other unmanned systems, is leading the way in exploration of new arenas for the technology – such as flight above populated areas and out of sight operations, two areas where it has received rare federal Certificates of Waiver to operate, and where Beim has expertise. The FAA recognized Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) drone program at Warren is also working on the training of students in specialized use of drones in sectors such as agriculture, law enforcement and environmental protection.
“Drone flight has a lot in common with traditional flight. When you get a commercial license to fly a drone, you are in effect getting a pilot’s license. One of my goals is for students at WarrenUAS to understand their responsibility to follow the rules, fly safely, and be a good steward for the evolving industry” he said.
Beim worked in aviation in various roles including an airframe & power-plant mechanic, a private manned aircraft pilot, and as an air traffic control manager for over 16 years, most recently one of the busiest air spaces in the country at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. He says he made the move to work in the drone industry because of a long-held interest in the technology and a belief that the use of unmanned systems will boom over the next decade in a wide range or capacities.
Along with his efforts at Warren, Beim is now a Senior Manager of Safety at DroneUp, a national leader in the growing drone services field, where it has major involvement with government agencies and the largest U.S. corporation.
“It is exciting to be working with both a commercial venture and an educational institution that are really on the cutting edge of this industry’s development,” he said. “Here at Warren, we are exploring and establishing the newest ways drones can be used and the safest operational practices – while educating students who will become some our nation’s best and most thoroughly-trained pilots and technicians.”
Austin notes that Beim has taken the lead in the efforts by WarrenUAS to get the required and relatively rare waivers to fly drones over public areas and out of site of the pilot, giving students real-world experience as the technology begins to make inroads into industries like agriculture, public safety, entertainment, environmental protection and public utilities. “Having Jason as a member of our teaching staff and as a trusted advisor has really allowed us as faculty to continuously improve our offerings, while getting students the type of safety training that can make them safe operators anywhere in the NAS,” noted Austin.
“Early on, I was fascinated by flight and wanted to be an air traffic controller,” said Beim, who graduated from the prestigious Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a bachelor’s degree in air traffic management. “All of a sudden drones started popping up and it immediately was fascinating to me. So, I began to learn about them and I could see their many applications. I grew to understand how drones are the future and wanted to jump in to contribute with developing the industry.”
Beim says issues related to how drones are classified and regulated need to be collaboratively addressed and he hopes to be an advocate for both reasonable and foundational guidelines for their use – while working with students to ensure they understand how important their training and early aviation habits are.
“I hope that I can continue to contribute to a culture at Warren that explores the latest technological advances for the field in a number of ways – and assures that, as it grows, it has the confidence of the public that issues of safety and privacy will be fully addressed,” Beim said.
Warren’s rapidly expanding drone education program will take a huge leap this fall with two new facilities and a broader range of courses. Austin expects enrollment in the program to quadruple over the next few years, and the college’s offerings in the field to grow accordingly.
“Jason has been invaluable to me as we’ve grown the program, offering his expertise to help guide its direction,” Austin said. “It is exciting now to give our students access to his expertise and have him on the staff to provide more valuable insight about the steps we should take.”
Austin also recently announced the hiring of Sai Sankar an expert in drone and robotics education and development, to help guide its rapidly expanding programs in those fields. He has also hired Adam Kyle, a drone pilot, and another recent Embry Riddle graduate, who has explored the use of the technology in agriculture, to develop a new program to train students in precision agriculture methods using unmanned systems.
Sankar has been named teaching administrator for artificial intelligence and robotics at the college, where he will direct the broad expansion of its robotics and drone programs, housed in two new facilities opening this fall – a new building and a renovated facility that has been the center for the program.
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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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