2012-10-25 / General Stories

TSTC Forecasting Releases Unmanned Aircraft Industry Forecast

Texas State Technical College Forecasting has published a technology forecast on the unmanned aircraft industry and how this industry is poised for job growth in Texas. The study finds that the current job demand, while limited in Texas today, is expected to grow over the next three years as the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) regulations.

“Unmanned systems have gained popularity mainly in the context of military applications overseas, but commercial variants of this technology are likely to see broad domestic and civilian applications for things like precision farming, civil engineering, wildlife management, in addition to law enforcement applications, “ explains Michael Bettersworth, TSTC associate vice chancellor for technology advancement. “This brief provides instructional leaders with focused insights into this emerging and evolving sector through interviews with industry experts, online searches of training activities, and analysis of employment demand data.”

With the potential for such wide application, Tony Sauerbrey, UAS program manager of Northwestern Michigan College says, “Most aviation schools are going to be teaching unmanned aviation within 10 years.”

Jim Rowland, Col (ret.) USAF, director of the TSTC Waco aerospace division and airport, says TSTC Waco intends to begin a UAS maintenance degree program within the next three years.

“There’s a definite need for UAS maintenance personnel since they presently can only be repaired by the manufacturer. The essence of repair involves either the small engine, composite material, or the autopilot, and all three are taught at TSTC, so it’s a matter of timing, getting industry input into tailoring the curriculum for UAS, and proper approvals from the TSTC Board and accrediting agencies,” said Rowland.

The full TechBrief on Unmanned Aircraft Systems is available as a free download at http://forecasting.tstc.edu/. For more information or questions on other new or emerging trends in technology, contact Michael Bettersworth at Michael.bettersworth@tstc.edu.

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