Kansas State Aviation
The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is one of the first and still one of the few universities in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems. With this revolutionary new field, Kansas State Polytechnic understands the importance of providing its students with research opportunities, cutting edge technology and equipment and an exclusive education. That’s why it was among the first institutions in the U.S. to allow students to participate in actual missions.
UAS Major at Kansas State Polytechnic
Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program uses a hands-on approach to learning, giving students the necessary skills to safely operate and manage a diverse fleet of unmanned aircraft both proprietary and commercially available. Unmanned aircraft systems are multifaceted machines with many working parts and a variety of flying factors, it’s essential that our students’ curriculum is deeply rooted in multiple core areas. Along with UAS education, the program also includes manned aviation, avionics, aircraft maintenance and engineering technology.
The UAS program is the principle initiative of the university’s Applied Aviation Research Center. Under this resource, our accomplished UAS faculty are engaged in the analysis, experimentation and exploration of on-going projects with federal agencies, private sponsors and internal university groups. As an example of the extent of our research, the AARC completes approximately 100 missions each year. These professional research partnerships not only help perpetuate the continuous influx of new UAS technology into the program, but also connect our students to their future in the industry.
Fleet and Payloads
Kansas State Polytechnic has a large and diverse fleet. There are more than 20 aircraft. The fleet consists of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft (both single rotor and multi-rotors). Fixed wing aircraft offer higher payload, higher speed, and longer flight endurance. Rotary wing offers the ability for an aircraft to hover and land/takeoff in a confined area.
Kansas State Polytechnic’s fleet consists of gas-powered motors, used for longer endurance, and electric-powered motors used for less vibration.
In addition to aircraft, Kansas State Polytechnic has many different payloads. Data can be collected from electro-optical, near infrared, and thermal infrared cameras. An electro-optical camera is used for normal photos in the daylight and is oftentimes used for mapping, search and rescue, and industrial inspection. A near-infrared camera identifies spectral bands of light and is mostly used for agricultural applications. A thermal infrared camera identifies differences in temperatures and use used for search and rescue and industrial inspection.
According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), there will be 70,000 new jobs will be created in the next three years. Approximately half of them will be in manufacturing and design. By 2025, approximately 100,000 jobs will have been created and the industry will be worth $82 billion. About 80 percent of the UAS business is expected to be associated with agriculture.