Man flying drone

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

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. To renew certification, a one-day continuing education workshop must be completed within 2 months of the certificate’s expiration period.

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:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and requirements that govern, and define, safe and lawful UAS operations within the United States
  • Hands-on experience operating UAVs with particular focus on managing UAS emergencies, first response scenarios, surveying geography, remote sensing, photography, and GIS
  • Information about regional regulatory bodies who govern UAS permissions and permits.
  • Resources that help students prepare for the Part 107 Remote Pilot License test
  • Setting up an effective UAS program in a public or private domain
  • Creating flight plans and using pre-flight checklists
  • Procuring and managing UAS components
  • Federal and state laws pertaining to privacy laws as well as civil rights and civil liberties associated with data gathering and data management


The course will consist of lectures, labs and student unmanned aircraft flight operations.

Day 1 – Introductions, Regulations & Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Operating Systems

8 hours lecture/discussion

  • Pilot Operating Handbook (POH); documenting flight plans, maintenance, logs
  • Identify 3-4 case uses to help instantiate principles discussed in workshop
  • Licensing, permits and working with NH DOT/FAA
  • Overview of different UAV careers and applications
  • Risk, liability and insurance
  • UAS as a remote sensing platform; overview of available sensors
  • Discussion of UAS data and uses
  • Matching the right airframe and sensors to the data needs
  • Fundamentals of map and chart reading
  • Basic spectral image classification
  • Pre-workshop exam and student input form (what are students looking for with class?)

Day 2 – UAS Components & Systems

4 hours classroom and 4 hours flight time

  • Flight training 101; review of aeronautical principles in relation to UAS
  • Roles and responsibilities. (PIC, VO, etc.)
  • What’s needed for flight plan (check list, dependencies)?
  • Prepping for flight and airspace permissions

Day 3 – Regulations, Weather & Decision Making

4 hours classroom and 4 hours flight time

  • FAA UAS rules and regulations
  • FAA defined airspace and weather interpretations and definitions.
  • FAA Part 107 – Licensing discussion and preparation to take the FAA Part 107 examination
  • Determining needed weather accommodations and limitations
  • Managing complex flights

Day 4 – Program Setup

4 hours classroom and 4 hours flight time

  • Common UAS stakeholders
  • Legal requirements
  • Equipment, capital expense, management of resources
  • Case studies and resources for creating or adapting a UAS program
  • 2 hours of fixed-wing demo by JBI and/or Air Shark. Demonstrate image processing of the data collected during the flights, talk about overlap, ground control points,

Day 5 – Summary/Review

 8 hours classroom time

  • Summarize key concepts
  • Setting up sUAS program (in-house)
  • Review student flight plans with focus on peer-to-peer input
  • Post course evaluation and exam
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
Durham Campus
USNH Tuition Waiver Discount
PDT - 10% Alumni Discount