EUGENE, Ore.—Lane Community College flight instructor Solomon Singer has been using his drone to provide support and surveillance for the Holiday Farm fire east of Eugene-Springfield, Oregon. The fire erupted on Labor Day and caused hundreds of people to evacuate, destroyed homes, and resulted in one fatality as it grew to 173,393 acres. It was 90 percent contained by mid-October.
Singer had to obtain FAA approval prior to volunteering on the fire. It was granted within five minutes of his request. That night he used his drone and spotted a fire that crews were able to extinguish and prevent further spread.
Drones can fly under night time and smoky conditions when helicopters and planes can’t, Singer says. “When there’s smoke everywhere, you often can’t see a fire until it’s obvious and too late. That’s why it’s important to have an eye in the sky looking for hotspots to catch fires before they become another conflagration.”
Drones are increasingly used by fire departments to detect hot spots, fire outbreak and spread. They are also used in search and rescue, inspections, environmental and wildlife protection, film-making, mapping, and more.
LCC offers a variety of credentials including an FAA Remote Pilot License, a Commercial Aviation Unmanned Aerial Systems AAS degree, and Commercial Aviation Unmanned Aerial Systems Certificates of Completion in Geographic Information Science and Aerial Photography.
Singer says LCC’s UAS program is one of the best in the state. Students learn cutting edge technology, advanced and safe autonomous flight systems, flight skills, and take courses in professionalism, safety, and respect for privacy. Classes include advanced materials 3D printing and aircraft design, electronics assembly, and technical and advanced flying missions.
LCC offers drone assistance when disaster strikes, such as the Holiday Fire. “It’s really exciting to show students how useful and life-saving drones can be,” says Singer. “Drone flight is an up-and-coming, high-demand career field.”
For more information—
Solomon Singer, UAS instructor, email@example.com
Published by Marketing and Public Relations October 2020.