2022 – Central District All Faculty Symposium – Community Development
M.Smith, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, FL; B.J. Scharf, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County, Brooksville, FL; J.S. Strickland, UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL; K.A. Taylor, UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County, Deland, FL; T. Wilson, UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County, St. Augustine, FL.
Situation: Commercial drone pilots must possess an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Certificate through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), gained by passing the Part 107 Exam with a score of 70% or higher. Our objective is to determine whether in-person Part 107 exam training classes yield superior knowledge gain compared to virtual delivery methods. Methods: The Central District Drone Force offers 2-day in-person and 3-day virtual Part 107 exam training courses utilizing various instructional methods to teach participants required Part 107 Exam subject matter. Topics included FAA regulations, airspace classification, weather, radio communications, airport operations, aeronautical decision-making, and emergency procedures. In-person attendees receive hands-on drone flight training. Results: From 2019 to 2022, a total of 35 people completed in-person UF/IFAS Drone Exam Prep courses, while 88 attended virtual classes. Pre/posttests showed in-person participants had a 97.5% increase in knowledge while virtual attendees had a 79.8% increase in knowledge. Conclusion: According to a 2019 study by Research and Markets, the drone service sector is expected to add 100,000 jobs by 2025 with companies spending upwards of $25 million on drones and drone services. A combination of in-person and virtual Part 107 exam prep courses maximizes the opportunity for those looking to enter the drone workforce to pass their exams and obtain a commercial license. However, there are strengths and weaknesses for either delivery method that may result in different learning outcomes. In this case, in-person attendees outperformed virtual attendees in knowledge gain, indicating that this delivery method may be best for ensuring prospective pilots obtain their license.