Unmanned Vehicle University warns about UAV risks

By Emily Aasand | December 31, 2014

The staff at Unmanned Vehicle University has concerns about the increase in sUAVs over the holidays.

“Sales of the unmanned aerial vehicles are at record-setting levels and most of these UAVs are being sold to people unfamiliar with aviation rules and regulations,” said Darrel Slaughter, director of business development at UVU. “We want new drone operators to know that numerous hours of ground school training and practice are needed in order to operate and fly drones safely and efficiently.”

The current FAA policy requires private UAV users to keep the aircraft below 400 feet and within line of sight. Slaughter emphasizes that the use of drones—especially at the beginning stages—should be of concern for everyone.

“High priority must be placed on avoiding causing injury to others,” said Gene Payson, director of flight training at UVU. “Do not fly near airports or people. This is very dangerous should there be a loss of control of the aircraft from a variety of causes. Even the best pilots experience mechanical failures. Don’t be the person in the news.”

“The drone industry cannot afford any mishaps at any time, especially at this stage in the industry’s life cycle,” Slaughter added. “People must realize that many of the UAVs given as gifts this year are not toys. Many are capable of causing serious injury and damage to property. People will get hurt if these potentially dangerous devices are operated in an unsafe manner.”

UVU is the first university licensed to grant Doctorate and Masters degrees in unmanned systems engineering and a certificate in UAS project management, with a primary focus on unmanned air, ground, sea, and space systems education and training.

In October, Development Counsellors International released a list of top 10 universities offering degrees in UAS and included the Phoenix-based university.