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Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs


Randal Franzen was 53, unemployed and nearly broke when his brother, a tool designer at Boeing, mentioned that pilots for remotely piloted aircraft – more commonly known as drones – were in high demand.

Franzen, a former professional skier and trucking company owner who had flown planes as a hobby, started calling manufacturers and found three schools that offer bachelor’s degrees for would-be feet-on-the-ground fliers: Kansas State University, the University of North Dakota and the private Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

He landed at Kansas State, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point average for four years and accumulated $60,000 in student loan debt before graduating in 2011. It was a gamble, but one that paid off with an offer “well into the six figures” as a flight operator for a military contractor in Afghanistan.


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Actually, I hope lots of liberty-loving people get involved.

Talk about being on the inside.

This sounds like and interesting field to consider.

I would never take a job drone-bombing foreign countries (especially those we've never declared war on - which is ALL of them presently).

But for liberty-loving people to be knowledgable of technologies like this is of the utmost imoportance.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

As a civilian contractor

You don't drop anything, you just use the camera, or fly the plane. I have been saying for years if more libertarian minded people work for these companies the better. I would rather have a libertarian mined individual behind the camera then a republican or democratic. The job can be done.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Jobs jobs jobs

It is all about the jobs and the paychecks.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

I say we should take drone flying classes

and become the pilots :)

I've been building a drone

I've been building a drone for a few months now. I have a hi-res HD camera mounted on my aircraft, GPS, auto-direction controls, altimeter, compass, air-speed indicator, vertical speed indicators, the works!

I'm pretty stoked to be building it.

After it's done, I'm going to use it to fly pre-programmed flight paths around my launch site.

Pretty fun actually.