New program first in the Florida to offer drone flying degree

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A new program is allowing college students to get a degree in flying, without ever leaving the ground. 

Pasco-Hernando State College has the only degree program in the state for unmanned systems. 

Chase Owens has wanted to fly for as long as he can remember.

"I think it's amazing being up there with the birds, being up there in the clouds and being able to just fly, it's a sense of freedom," said Owens.

The new program allows students to get a degree doing just that but from the safety of the ground.

"Flying a drone is easy, a five-year-old can do that, but we’re into the technology and solving problems with drones," said Mark Aragon, director of the unmanned systems program at Pasco-Hernando State College.  

These graduates can use drones for search and rescue, scanning architecture and mining pits, monitoring crops, and much more.

"We can tell the health of a plant, whether it needs water and what the yield will be," said Aragon.

Other schools offer certificates but this degree program at PHSC sends students through the same ground school and meteorology classes as manned pilots and gives them the technical knowledge to problem solve.

Owens says he wants to build drones for soldiers to use for intelligence.

"To help keep people out of harm's way," said Owens.

This is a new program and the first-semester PHSC is offering the two-year degree program. 

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