Tyonek and PRCC’s Ambitious Plans
January 5, 2017
By Judith Redshaw
Tyonek and Pearl River Community College Are Collaborating to Form a “Gulf Operations and Research Center” For the Integration of UAS into U.S. Airspace
Pearl River Community College has received approval from the Mississippi Community College Board for their proposal to begin a for-credit workforce enhancement program in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). This program will be supported by TYONEK Services Group, Inc. (TSG) in their efforts to develop a workforce for the emerging, fast-growing UAS industry.
PRCC plans to begin offering coursework at the TSG location at Stennis International Airport in August, 2017. Presently, Dr. Alsobrooks, PRCC Vice President for Community and Economic Development, and Dr. Piniero, PRCC Curriculum Development are developing the curriculum for the training programs that will be introduced in August. Currently, they are defining the scope of the work, curriculum development, and classroom course objectives.
Dean Oden, Tyonek’s Site Director for Integrated Services, will be involved in hands-on training of the courses required to meet the FAA Part 107 training requirements for operating and controlling UAS. There is a big demand for UAS manufacturing, repair, and operation. They plan to begin with entry-level training of new-hires who have no previous background in UAS or flight, and will conduct on-the-job training in areas such as Airframe and Power Plant, Sheet Metals, and Components.
Oden also envisions a center at Stennis Airport for testing and research, and advancing real-world operations of UAS. Another sector will concentrate on monitoring the health and well-being of the Gulf of Mexico.
Due to the Federal Aviation’s requirements to fly larger UAS platforms, Tyonek is considering opening a flight school for both airplanes and UAS pilots. Air traffic control of UAS would be an outgrowth of this training area, as Stennis has an operating Control Tower.
The fast-developing UAS field is growing at exponential rates, and PRCC/Tyonek are preparing to bring South Mississippi into this world.
In addition, Dr. Lewis, President of PRCC, is talking with Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State University, concerning a collaborative effort for the development of an aerospace academy here in Hancock County that would coordinate with MSU in 2 + 2 engineering degrees at the Hancock Center. MSU has been named a “UAS Center of Excellence,” and will support PRCC in its UAS program.
UAS is currently being used extensively in war zones, and they save lives, but innovations in the Defense area has flat lined. But the Commercial area is spiking -- limited only by our creative inventions of UAS.
Currently, the demand for cargo access in remote areas such as Indonesia and Africa is pressing. Some UAS models can fly for 60 hours before being refueled. UAS are servicing oil platforms and rigs, and many large farms are using them for spraying crops. They can carry cameras, which are presently being used in many Department of Defense and commercial applications. With cameras and GPS on board, operators can remotely fly the UAS out of the line of sight.
Thanks to PRCC, Tyonek, and MSU, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workforce will grow and accelerate with jobs, jobs, jobs! Stay tuned.
*Original article written was published in the Sea Coast Echo, January 11, 2017