Educating Journalism Students About sUAS

By Adriana Menefee

A journalism class at Ball State University (BSU) is teaching students about how they may be able to use model aircraft for their future career. Students have learned about different flight systems, safety, legal concerns, and more.

The AMA hosted a seminar to provide the students with resources and up-close small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) flight demonstrations. The goal of this seminar was to educate the BSU students about how they can utilize sUAS in the field of journalism.

The seminar began by Bill Pritchett, the AMA Education Director, explaining how sUAS can be beneficial for journalistic, agricultural, real estate, and search-and-rescue purposes. Bill then introduced AMA members Archie Stafford and Tim Hurley, who both have experience with operating and flying sUAS for the United States Navy. Archie and Tim discussed different platforms and how to use first-person view (FPV) technology to get images that would be difficult for traditional photographers to capture.

After Archie discussed his views on sUAS, he showed the students how to use mission-planning software to set GPS waypoints for semi-automated flight. During semi-automated flight, a computer guides the aircraft along a pre-programmed route. He then provided a demonstration of this particular type of flight that included a live video feed being transmitted from the aircraft to a ground control station. The students observed the aircraft and video feed as it flew along the pre-programmed route and returned again.

The sUAS seminar was a great learning experience for not only the BSU students, but also for the AMA members and staff that participated in this event. We at the AMA hope that by hosting these types of seminars, we can further educate the public about the various benefits that model aircraft can provide.

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