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Drake State Stories & News

Creating a New Army of Drone Pilots from the North to the South

HARTFORD, CONN – According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are 265,092 licensed drone pilots registered in the U.S.  Aquiline Drones, a CT-based commercial drone solutions company and Drake State Community and Technical College, a two-year vocational educational institution in Huntsville, AL, are planning on increasing that total – immediately.  Specifically, Drake State today announced a five-year partnership with Aquiline Drones (AD) to offer online, instructor-guided drone pilot training, making it the only technical college in Alabama to offer a drone program.  The program will prepare students to take the exam required to become a licensed drone pilot under the FAA.

“For 60 years, Drake State has built a solid foundation on teaching the most advanced technologies in a hands-on learning environment,” said Dr. Patricia Sims, President of Drake State Community and Technical College.

Drake State will offer two courses:

  • Drone Operation and UAV Aeronautical Procedures – an introduction to drones, that prepares students for the FAA Commercial Drone Pilot (Part 107) certification exam
  • Cloud Connected Drone Operations, Computing and Analytics – focused on digital technologies that are enabling cloud-connected commercial drone operations and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) provider business formation.

Dr. Sims notes that the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal is located a short distance from Drake State and thus, the school plans on targeting military drone operators that are seeking to separate from service along with anyone else looking to improve or change their career.

Industrial-grade drones have long been in demand by various branches of the military, especially the Army and Navy for safe intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) use cases.  Autonomous drones coupled with strategically placed sensors and mobile command centers (MCCs), can routinely patrol popular border crossings.  Since drone swarms and counter drone swarms are considered the future of warfare, the military has taken a keen interest in both the hardware that flies, rolls and swims for a universal system.

“This partnership could not have come at a better time for Drake State in terms of the current global events and our own particular geographical landscape,” adds Dr. Sims. “We plan on marketing this all across our state to new and prospective students of all ages.”

Aquiline Drones, a commercial drone manufacturer and cloud technology company in Hartford, Conn, created its Flight to the Future online drone pilot training program as a remedy for America’s staggering unemployment rates due to the ongoing pandemic.  Besides attracting applicants from all parts of the country and from a diversity of industries, Aquiline Drones Founder and CEO Barry Alexander noticed that numerous inquiries resulted from several community colleges in the area, which offer that training as only a certification course.

Both courses offered at Drake State will take one month to complete and be available year-round starting June 2022. Visit for additional information.

Not only are we offering an exciting high-tech journey with these compelling courses, but we are also priming its participants to enter a rapidly accelerating industry with a potential market share of $127 billion!” said Barry Alexander, Founder and Chairman of Aquiline Drones.  “We are creating limitless job opportunities in this rapidly growing space and know that Drake State graduates will reap those benefits.”

Read more about this program on the Business Alabama website.