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Lone Star UAS Experts Provides Free Community Training During First Annual Drone Expo

March 10, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation (LSUASC) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted the first annual Lone Star Drone Expo on Saturday, March 4, in the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC) parking lot located in Flour Bluff.

“I believe the Lone Star Drone Expo was an incredible learning experience for all that attended, adults and children alike. I am proud that our University was able to offer this unique outreach event to the community,” said Dr. Kelly Quintanilla, Interim President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “The expo was family friendly. My thirteen-year-old daughter, Logan, was able to hone her skills on the test simulator. She’s excited to learn more at the many camps that will be offered through our STEM Summer Institutes.”

Jerry Hendrix, Executive Director of LSUASC, extended the invitation to anyone who had received or purchased a remotely controlled unmanned aircraft system (UAS/drone), offering a chance for enthusiasts to visit with experts in the field. The goal of the event was to allow the community to become more familiar with the technology, discover more about their individual UAS and learn about Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations. Attendees also participated in a drone obstacle course and were treated to a tour of LSUASC’s mission control room.

“We donated our time and effort to the community to raise excitement and enthusiasm in the area – and so people won’t be afraid of these aircraft,” Hendrix said. “It was kind of like a football camp: Professionals training amateurs to do their best.”

Secure elevators took attendees to the third floor of the CBBIC where LSUASC staff explained how they stay on the cutting-edge of research. Four large flat screen monitors filled the wall and displayed data including map trajectories and live feeds of drones in flight. LSUASC staff is also able to track the flights of drones at UAS test sites across Texas. One attendee even described the mission control room as “similar to NASA.” With the data collected from mission control, LSUASC is working to improve coastal mapping which will open the door to future research.

“We would like to host these expos twice a year to give more drone enthusiasts a chance to learn about UAS as technology advances,” said Hendrix. “The community has given us a lot of support, and this was our way of giving back.”

The LSUASC is one of the UAS test sites designated by the FAA in 2012. All drone activities are regulated by the FAA and do require training for UAS pilots. The center has performed more than 1600 flights since late 2014 while working with public and private sector organizations for research purposes as well as new technologies related to drones. For more information on LSUASC, visit http://lsuasc.tamucc.edu/