When it comes to drone schools in Washington state, there are no 4-year degree programs as of yet, but there are definite options on the horizon. For example, Green River College in Auburn now offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems.
This degree is designed to provide an introduction into the world of unmanned aerial vehicles, and it will allow direct transfer to the University of North Dakota’s excellent UAV Bachelor’s Degree program, to become an UAS operator.
There’s also Bates Technical College’s Industrial Electronics and Robotics Technician Associate of Applied Science program.
Bates has announced plans to add 2 UAV courses to this existing curriculum. These will focus on piloting and maintaining unmanned aerial vehicles.
Finally, Big Bend Community College, a two-year school in Moses Lake, now offers three Unmanned Systems programs focused on: maintenance and repair, sensor analysis, and flight operations.
Meanwhile, Washington State University is waiting for federal regulations to allow research of unmanned aerial vehicles in agricultural research. With the assistance of a WSU assistant professor, a club of about 10 aeronautics students has designed a liquid hydrogen-fueled UAV using a fuel cell. This student-driven research project has already seen test flights of a battery-powered prototype.
Theoretically, hydrogen-powered UAVs could stay aloft for two weeks, much longer than vehicles using conventional fuel. Hydrogen power is also more environmentally friendly since the only waste product is water. Researchers envision these vehicles flying at extremely high altitudes for days at a time. This means that for many applications, they could replace expensive satellites. And unlike satellites, they could return to earth for relatively easy maintenance, upgrades, and re-use.