SGTC set to train drone pilots in 6-day class

Published 4:17 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

AMERICUS — As drones become more prevalent in business and industry practices, South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) is offering a six-day class that seeks to help 10 participants become licensed drone pilots. The class, which is hosted in conjunction with Crossflight Sky Solutions, a commercial Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) company out of South Carolina, will be held on South Georgia Tech’s main campus in Americus from June 18-23 and will cost each student $1,000. Registration for the class is open to the public.
The instructor-led class will cover everything an individual should know in order to prepare for the FAA FAR 107 Drone Pilot licensure test including: flying, FAA regulations, basic aviation principles, how to safely navigate a drone in a complex airspace, applying for FAR 107 waivers and several other concepts. Study guides, workbooks, practice tests and access to drones for hands-on lessons will be provided for each student.
Joe Frieson of Crossflight Sky Solutions says that although his company is part of the aviation industry at the heart of it, he felt they had to educate others about the growing industry and the different applications that come along with it.
“We started this class with a local technical college in South Carolina, and to our delight it has expanded greatly,” Frieson said about the class. “Industry has really elevated the status of what drones actually are. They hit on what we call the ‘trifecta’ — they save time, money and they cut down on the risk associated with several jobs. Jobs that used to take people weeks and thousands of dollars in labor, we can now do in minutes or hours with drones.”
One of Frieson’s favorite applications of drones in industry, he explained, was after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida in 2017.
“We sent guys down hours after the storm cleared to help survey the damage and assist the utility companies with spotting live downed power lines and cleanup,” he said. “There are so many applications for drones in industry already, and the landscape continues to change every single day.”
In addition to utility companies, he noted that other industries are benefitting from using drones that include: communications, land surveying, photography, wildlife management, agriculture, construction and countless others.
“You know, we used to say that the sky is the limit, but that’s no longer the case with drones,” Frieson said. “Anything is possible now, and our job is to make sure that people know how to fly them and do it with an aviation mindset.”
Individuals or businesses who are interested in signing up for the 22-hour course can contact Tami Blount at or by calling 229-931-2040. The deadline to register for the course is June 13. Classes will be held from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on June 18-21, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. June 22, and from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 23.