University of Missouri students fly drones inside for now

Columbia Daily Tribune

Students in Bill Allen’s introductory drone class at the University of Missouri are flying craft inside a livestock facility, Ashley Jost reports in the Columbia Daily Tribune. Allen said “students who try to fly drones outside the Trowbridge Livestock Center practice spot will fail the class,” Jost writes.

While drones do have agricultural applications — one student “said the idea of monitoring animals in a conservation area intrigues her, as does tracking the perimeters of enclosures for poachers” — the flights are indoors because the FAA last summer directed the University of Missouri (as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) to cease its drone-journalism program pending instructors obtaining certificates of authorization.

Instructors have to get a certificate for each class they plan to teach, MU’s Matthew Dickinson tells Jost: That’s “just silly because you can’t predict 60 to 90 days ahead of time what you’re going to need to cover.”

MU’s responsibility is “to prepare young people to be as formidable as possible in the marketplace,” Allen tells Jost. “Even if laws say you may not fly now, it’s not going to be that way for long, and they will be ready.”

Related: Journalists await new drone regulations. And wait, and wait…

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