Drones are quickly becoming a robust part of aviation, according to Richard Blevins, who oversees an aviation program that includes drones at Northeast State, one of two community colleges in the region that offer drone classes. The other is Mountain Empire in Big Stone Gap.
Blevins, associate professor and Aviation Department head at NSCC, said in a recent interview that drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, are a vital part of aviation technology programs at the school.
For instance, Blevins said that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, he will teach free classes on how to use drones as part of your employment. If paid to use drones, he said, operators must have an FAA drone license. He said Kingsport Police Department members and WJHL-TV chief meteorologist Mark Reynolds are among those who will be taking the class, which has been given for police in Bristol, Tenn., and other jurisdictions.
“In two years max, there won’t be a police car or fire truck without one,” Blevins said of drones. “It really shapes the way we look at aviation.”
He added that drones are expected to have an $84 million economic impact in the United States over the next decade.
NSCC is seeking FAA certification for its airframe graduates and certificate holders and later for those who work on airplane engines, meaning more money and job opportunities for them.