Registrations for NASA Guam Drone Corps sky high!

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Members of the NASA Ames Laboratory for Advanced Lensing, assisted by the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Center at UOG, set up an unmanned aerial vehicle to map Guam’s reefs on May 13, 2019. UOG students, through NASA Guam Space Grant and NASA Guam EPSCoR, now have the opportunity to become certified drone pilots through the newly launched UOG Drone Corps. (UOG photo)

Registrations for the NASA Guam Space Grant’s Drone Corps program are now sky high!

As the use of drones continues to grow in scholastic divisions and businesses island wide, a high number of UOG students are signing up for NASA Guam Space Grant’s and NASA Guam EPSCoR’s first-ever drone certification and training program.

The UOG Drone Corps focuses on building a team of Federal Aviation Administration-certified drone pilots.

They will practice flying the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) through Guam’s skies, capturing drone footage and data for local organizations.

Romina King, NASA Grant Guam executive director, said: “We had just sent out a recruiting flyer to see who would be interested and so far we got a slew of students. My inbox I think, blew up last night. I was like, oh my gosh, that was a lot more than I anticipated which is fantastic, which is great! It just means that we need to rethink the logistics of the program.”

She added: “Given the interest of the program, we might have to break it up into two cohorts.”

The program also aims to teach students the regulations of proper flying operations and help bring unique research opportunities to the island.

Leslie Camacho Aquino, NASA Guam EPSCoR executive director, said: “One of the benefits for the students is that it’s a really marketable skill that they’ll be able to apply while they’re still students. There may be other research projects that will require this type of imagery, this type of assistance and so they can apply and be one of the assistance for those programs and projects, even afterwards when they’re done with UOG and applying for a job, they can put that in their resume and that’s something that will be very valuable in industry and as well as government agencies.”

King and Aquino are anticipating the program’s start date to be in late May or early June.

Whether beginner or experienced, students are encouraged to apply. Applications will still be accepted throughout the year.

Applicants must also be U.S. citizens, 18 years or older, and UOG students.

Once accepted into the program, students will receive a $1000 stipend after successful completion of their FAA licensure and 80 hours of flight time per semester.

Interested students can apply by contacting Dr. Romina King at roking@triton.uog.edu.

For more information about the program, check out NASA Guam Space Grant and NASA Guam EPSCoR on their respective web pages.

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