Man flying drone

Drone (UAS) Operator Certification for Public Safety, Emergency Response & Disaster Management

If this course appears "unavailable," it is because it has been updated. Please click the link below to access the updated course and to receive more information.

This certificate program offers hands-on flight instruction that draws on the basic skills and flight proficiencies required to safely operate unmanned aerial vehicles. While flight instruction is a key area of focus, this certificate is not a Part 107 preparation class. 

In addition to operational proficiency, participants will gain a more thorough understanding of UAS regulations, policies, airspace considerations and licensing requirements. At the end of the workshop, students will be more equipped to fly UAS safely and with a deeper understanding of how UAS can be used in public for emergency response. This 5-day certification is offered over a five-week period--see scheduled dates for each specific section.

Students do not need to bring their own UAV to this course. Several different UAV models will be available for students during hands-on exercises and demonstrations.

*Created in partnership with NH Department of Transportation

What You Will Learn


Drone (UAS) Operator Certification for Public Safety, Emergency Response & Disaster Management


Students will learn about the following topics:

  • Improve UAS operational proficiency in different geographies and weather conditions
  • Understand relevant municipal, state and federal laws that govern UAS operation
  • Apply appropriate UAS operational guidelines and laws to pre-flight, flight and post-flight activities
  • Design and maintain accurate and helpful pre-flight checklists and flight logs
  • Set up safe take-off and landing perimeters
  • Become more familiar with different UAS, components platforms and software
  • Connect UAS technologies and concepts to Emergency Management and SAR practices
  • Assess airspace requirements before and during flights
  • Learn more about leading-edge UAS technologies and how these advancements impact different fields such as emergency management, engineering, agriculture and photography
  • Identify the essential elements of starting a new in-house UAS program: legal, financial, risk management, staff, training, insurance, standard operating procedures, documentation, equipment procurement and management


Day 1 – Rules, Regulations, Resources
            Risk, Liability and Insurance
            FAA UAS Rules and Regulations
                        Part 107
                        Remote Pilot Airman Certificate
            Recreational/Educational Use
                        Public Law 112-95, Section 336 – Special Rule for Model Aircraft
            The Small UAS Rule (14 CFR part 107)
Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)
Aeronautical Principles
            Flight Perimeter Setup

Day 2 – UAS Components, Flight Basics & Flight Time
UAS Components
            Rotors, Engines, Frames
            Sensing Platforms and Sensors
            Displays, Goggles
            Command Center
UAS Software
            DJI Go
            Drone Deploy
Drone Operation
            Flight Basics
            Flight Crew and Roles
            Safety, Checklists, Tools
            GIS and Waypoints
            Virtual Fencing
 Flight Scenarios
            Take off/Landing
            Return to Home
            Advanced Modes and Joystick Control
            Demo Grid Search

Day 3 - Case Studies, Forensics, Urban/Rural, Communication/Coordination & Flight Time
UAS Forensics
Vendor Demo
            Weather and Terrain
            UAS-related Example Scenarios
                        Pathway Identification
                        Waypoint/ Eye In the Sky
                        Missing Person
            Communication and Coordination
            Basics of Building a UAS System for SAR
            Optics and Filters (FLIR, etc.)
            Urban versus Rural Rescue
Flight Scenarios
            Urban versus Rural
            Missing Person
            Pathway Identification

Day 4 - UAS Program Development & Flight Time
Building an In-House UAS Program
                        Procurement and Maintenance
                        How/When to Scale?
                        Securing Funds/Grants
                        Example Budget
            Management of Equipment
            Review Checklist
Fight Scenarios
            SAR Scenarios
                        Coordination of Multiple Groups
                        Different Functions
                        Communication Systems
                        Waymarking and Grid Search
                        Accounting for Obstacles

Day 5- UAS Program Development
Case Studies
Adapting a UAS Program for Emergency Management & SAR
            What’s Unique?
            Next Steps?
            Review Checklist
Vendor Demo
Summary and Q&A

Instructor Bios


Drone (UAS) Operator Certification for Public Safety, Emergency Response & Disaster Management

  • Rita Castonguay Hunt

    Rita Castonguay Hunt

    Rita Castonguay Hunt is a Pilot and Project Manager for ArgenTech Solutions and specializes in both manned and unmanned aviation operations, standardization, procedures, training, and safety.

    Prior to joining ArgenTech in 2017, Rita was the aviation planner, pilot and FAA-certified airport safety inspector for the state of New Hampshire.  Where she was responsible for the safety inspections of the state’s 23 public-use airports, responded to aviation related accidents as a subject matter expert on behalf of the State Police; and acted as state liaison to both the FAA and NTSB. 

    Rita is currently an instructor for FEMA teaching the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Disaster Management course.  She was selected to join the USDOT Remote Sensing Adoption Working Group; is an advisor for a federal research project with the University of Vermont Spatial Orientation Lab involving the capabilities of UAS in transportation related projects and is considered an expert in UAS regulations.  

    Rita graduated from Daniel Webster College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Flight Operations and a Master's in Business Administration.  She is a certificated commercial pilot and flight instructor, as well as, certificated Part 107 remote pilot. 

  • Jim Cloutier

    Jim Cloutier is the President of Red Dog Aerial Media a UAS service provider that specializes in training and consulting for companies interested in starting UAS programs in house. Red Dog Aerial also offers aerial photography, videography, infrastructure inspection and mapping services for engineering, construction, commercial real estate and insurance companies. Jim has over 10 years building, designing and flying UAS platforms and holds his FAA Remote Pilot Certification.

    Jim graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. His electrical engineering career in the manufacturing industry included electrical design and programing for brewing and packaging systems, project management, information technology infrastructure design and deployment, software and hardware lifecycle analysis and technical training.  Jim is currently the Information Technology Manager at Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack, NH.

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