Mohawk College benefits from drone technology

Have you seen aircraft-like objects flying around Mohawk College?

The College has  acquired several drones which are being used in a variety of courses.

Brian Willrich, a TV professor and drone expert, who teaches a class in using drones to shoot video said, “We have 4 DJI Phantom 3 drones and once we were using them the college decided they were inspired to get 4 additional Inspire 1 drones by DJI, which is the leader in drone technology.”

Willrich adds, “The programs that are using the drones right now are photography, television, journalism and the airplane maintenance program out at Mount Hope Airport.”

Associate Dean of Media and Entertainment Kurt Muller said the drones provide a benefit to the college and its students.

“It has really become crucial to fly drones,” he says. “You need skill in flying, but you also need education in terms of how to fly them safely. All of that knowledge and skill is something our students will have when they graduate as opposed to other institutions that don’t have this instruction.”

Mohawk is working directly with the Ministry of Transportation to incorporate drones in a school setting.

“The rules and regulations for drones are very strict, you must have a special license called a special flight operation certificate to be able to fly one [legally],” says Willrich.

This means if you are at home fooling around with a drone you don’t need a certificate, but if you are using it for school, news, or commercial purposes then you do.

Willrich says: “There are a lot of regulations about flying it around buildings, people, or animals. As of right now Mohawk students can fly inside the college but they can’t fly outside of it.”

Drones are used for lots of things including real estate, search and rescue and a variety of commercial uses.

“The reason that one program is at the airport,” says Willrich, “is because airports are now using drones for runways, to see if a plane is okay when it’s sitting on the tarmac and to check for snow and ice on the runway because it makes it much easier then driving onto the runways.”

Mohawk students are not allowed to fly drones outside of the college by law, because Mohawk College is too close to the Hamilton Airport. The Ministry of Transportation does not want the drones to interfere with any aircraft.

About the author  ⁄ Manny Alfano

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