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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.

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.