Feature Story

Scanning the field

University of North Dakotas student

Boeing

The University of North Dakota's unique four-year degree for future UAV pilots uses the Scan Eagle to teach students to fly.

The University of North Dakota offers a very unique four-year degree to students looking to major in aerospace, but not necessarily pilot a commercial or military airplane. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems degree program curriculum at UND prepares students with career objectives aimed at the civil unmanned aircraft systems industry. The Boeing/Insitu Scan Eagle is used by the program as the example platform for the students.

During their four-years at UND, students log over 75 flight hours on a Boeing/Insitu Scan Eagle simulator. The UND department heads feel the Scan Eagles is the perfect sized UAS for students to learn to fly using a simulator due to its take-off and landing methods as well as its in-flight operability. Insitu is also fond of the relationship the program builds between the engineers of tomorrow and their UAS, Scan Eagle.

“Customer focus is a very key value of our everyday life, and having students understand who our customers are and how to use our products is very valuable.”

“Having the opportunity to have access to students who pursue not just an engineering degree or a science degree, but one that dedicated for unmanned systems, means we have a work force that is much more in tune with the work environment that they are going to be entering into” said Insitu Senior Vice President, Ryan Hartmann. “Customer focus is a very key value of our everyday life, and having students understand who our customers are and how to use our products is very valuable.”

The University of North Dakota was the first school to offer students such a degree in unmanned systems. The program began five years ago with just 15 students, but since then has grown to over 130 students today. Many graduating students seek work with the Department of Defense, while others enter the workforce as pilots/operators or developmental team members of unmanned aircraft systems.