The Worldwide campus began flight operations in September 2014 and purchased the first aircraft in January 2015. Since then, over 30 aircraft, multiple scientific sensors, and support hardware/software have been added to the inventory. Starting in May 2017, the Worldwide campus began student instruction in hands-on flight training for the first time in its history. The operations management, safety programs, instructor training, and FAA compliance associated with the flight program is handled by the Department of Flight.
The mission of the Department of Flight is to provide the aviation professionals of tomorrow with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and judgment necessary to succeed in the global aviation community while providing students, faculty, and staff unmanned assets, training, and oversight for research application. The department achieves this mission by:
- Serving the student body, the department, the college, the campus, and the external community in support of the University’s overall mission
- Investing in and maintaining an exceptional safety culture
- Recruiting, training, and using top-quality instructional staff
- Infusing state-of-the-art flight systems, sensors, and software, into the curriculum and campus
- Employing scenario-based training to develop advanced aeronautical decision-making
- Providing a well-structured program to sustain the high level of standardization and professionalism demanded by the industry
- Using quality management techniques to continuously enhance the flight program
- Collaborating with industry leaders and aviation experts worldwide
Students can also register for the Small Unmanned Aircraft System Operation minor
which will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) specific to the safe, responsible, and effective operation and application of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). The goal is to give students an opportunity to work towards a sUAS operator certification within the framework of the university's academic setting. Students declaring the sUAS Operation Minor or registering for courses within it must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must be physically located within the U.S. when registering for and while participating in the UNSY 435 course.