New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory is home to oldest FAA-approved UAS test facility in the United States. Companies like Boeing have used its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center for years to conduct their tests. But are there any drone schools in New Mexico?
If you are looking for an undergraduate degree program in a commercial drone discipline, you might want to look to another state for the time being. True, the Land of Enchantment offers many opportunities for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle researchers. Also true, its Holloman Air Force Base is a great place for military drone pilots to train. But for the would-be commercial drone specialist, there are no classes in new Mexico… yet.
New Mexico has all the ingredients for a booming drone industry. There are the cutting-edge, well-established facilities mentioned above, the state’s huge test ranges, and a political climate favorable toward the economic development of commercial drones. As a trained workforce will need to accompany this coming boom, I anticipate supply meeting demand in the field of Unmanned Aerial Systems education.
Already in 2014, Google purchased the New Mexico-based firm, Titan Aerospace, and has filed a request with the FAA to permit testing. Why? They hope to use drones to provide internet access from the sky. Titan’s solar and electric-powered UAVs can stay aloft for long periods of time, and are able to maintain altitudes well above the flight paths of commercial aircraft. Basically this would enable them to beam an internet signal from the edge of space.
In its FAA application, Google wrote, “These systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation.”
All of this leads me to believe, UAV classes are going to be popping up in New Mexico in the next couple of years. But for now you might want to look to its next door neighbor, Arizona, for your commercial drone education.