University of Hawai'i at Hilo offering certificate in UAS



The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UH Hilo) has launched four new courses to establish a certificate in UAS, which is a first step in the university’s long-planned aeronautical science program.

UH Hilo students who complete the four courses, along with three upper-level geography classes in data interpretation, remote sensing and information systems, will receive a certificate in UAS.

“Unmanned aircraft are becoming more and more popular, with the potential being recognized by new industries every day,” says Arthur Cunningham, coordinator of the UH Hilo aeronautical science program.

​With a focus on training in the use of UAS, the certificate program offers new courses that include hands-on classroom and field work in an introductory course on UAS, robotics, simulated missions and flying techniques.

The introductory UAS course teaches students operational principles, laws and theory about UAS. At the conclusion of the course, students receive a FAA remote pilot airman certificate (Part 107) with small UAS rating, which is a pilot license to operate UAS commercially.

Licensed aircraft operators have no shortage of potential job opportunities, as they could obtain jobs working with companies or government agencies conducting a number of tasks such as infrastructure inspections, real estate photography or natural disaster assessment, just to name a few.

“UAS works well with my bioengineering background because these aircraft are able to collect data from a large plot of land using cameras, chemical sampling and water sampling,” says instructor Roberto Rodriguez.

“This is especially useful for agriculture as a time and money-saving technology.”