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Drone class to take flight this fall at Roane State

A new class in piloting small unmanned aircraft, better known as drones, takes flight this fall at Roane State.

The three credit-hour class – AERO 1030 H025 – prepares students to take the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge test to obtain FAA certification. Students must supply their own drones.

Dr. Matt Waters, associate professor of Mass Communications, is the instructor for the 15-week class, which will be a blend of online instruction and flight training at Roane State’s Oak Ridge Branch Campus.

“This class is designed for people who need certification to fly drones commercially,” Waters said, “and that can include safety officers, structural inspectors, professional videographers and even students who are interested in pursuing aeronautics as a career.”

Waters has included basic drone flight training as a part of the news-gathering experience in mass communications classes since 2017.

Topics include regulations, loading and performance, and small unmanned aircraft operations. The FAA Remote Pilot Certificate must be completed during the course at student expense.

Students will learn how to identify sources of weather information, airspace classifications and flight restrictions. They’ll also show they’re aware of radio communication procedures and airport operations, and demonstrate knowledge of radio communication procedures, airport operations and preflight inspection procedures.

In-person flight training is tentatively scheduled from the large student parking lot on the Oak Ridge campus on five Friday mornings: Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 23.

The Course Reference Number is 84867. There is a textbook for the course titled Remote Pilot 2020 TEST PREP available at the college bookstore.

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554.

Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at