“Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Defining Moments in Aviation History”
Jonathan Beck, Northland Community College
The history of aviation is rich in innovation and passion from adventurous souls, thrill seekers, engineers and dreamers. The thought of flight has amazed young and old and filled the mind with possibilities. Advances in technology continue to generate great opportunities as well as concerns. UAS are a technology on the rise with great promise, underwritten with concern. What are unmanned aircraft systems, and is there room in the sky to welcome this new technology? Education and discussion from the experts in the air will be key to building a safe flight path and continuing the history of innovation aviation has cultivated for over a century.
Jonathan Beck has more than 14 years of aviation experience across multiple fields, including air traffic control, piloting, and ten year’s experience with Unmanned Aircraft System operations. He was a Standardization Pilot who helped create the Minnesota Army National Guard’s first unmanned systems program. After two overseas deployments he worked as an instructor and curriculum developer at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, the Army Headquarters for UAS training programs. He has piloted, operated camera sensors and performed maintenance on a wide variety of UAS ranging from hand-launched systems, to UAS with a 60-foot wingspan. He currently serves as an Instructor and UAS Department Program Manager at Northland Community and Technical College. This past summer he flew UAS to gather digital images of agriculture land for use in Northland’s Imagery Analyst Program. The project demonstrated great potential in the use of digital imagery to enhance farm management practices and was recently funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to continue the project for an additional 3 years. He is also in charge of a statewide initiative for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System to develop a structure to integrate small UAS education into existing programs and industries, which could greatly benefit from the use of this technology.