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  • How are companies and government agencies using UAS thermograph?
    There is a wide range of applications for UAS thermography. Aerial IR images can determine where there is heat loss through a building, which can be used to improve energy efficiency. Many contractors are using IR imagery for quality control. UAS thermography can be used to determine the location of water behind membranes, identify windows that have lost their argon gas filling, find CMU block cavities that have not been properly filled, and locations of missing insulation. Handheld thermal cameras have been helping first responders for decades. IR cameras can see through smoke and fog and are a critical tool for search and rescue. Law enforcement can also use IR cameras in low light conditions to see fleeing suspects in pitch darkness.
  • Can I take this course if I work a 40 hour a week job?
    Yes. Even the UAS Essentials Plus and UAS Vocation courses provide enormous flexibility. You can learn the material and complete your activities on your time. There are very few set dates that anything needs to be completed by.
  • How many hours will it take to complete the courses?
    Everyone learns at different rates, so the number of hours it takes to complete the various courses will depend on the individual. However, here is a range of times that will cover most learners. Part 107 Exam Prep: 8 – 16 hours UAS Essentials: 20 – 30 hours Applied UAS Thermograph (excluding Level 1 exam prep) 15 – 20 hours UAS Vocation 35 – 50 hours
  • Do you need your own drone or thermal imager to take the courses?
    No. You are not required to have your own drone, thermal imager, or any other equipment other than a computer with access to the internet. Sample drone data is provided for you to complete the activities. With this said, many assignments and lab exercises allow you to use your drone data for a more personalized experience.
  • Do I need to first get my FAA part 107 pilot's license before taking any of the courses?
    No. Preparing you for the Part 107 exam and earning your FAA remote pilot certificate is part of all of the courses except the Applied UAS Thermography class.
  • Do you administer the FAA Pilot license test?
    No. Our courses prepare you to take and pass the Part 107 exam; however, the exam is given by an FAA approved, 3rd party testing facility. Detailed instructions are provided on how you sign up and your instructor will verify that you signed up correctly and for the right test.
  • Will I be able to learn how to file Air Traffic Control authorizations?
    Yes. The UAS Essentials, UAS Essentials Plus, and UAS Vocation courses show you how to you AirMap, a free online tool to locate airspace, file ATC authorization through the LAANC system, and create mission plans.
  • Who can benefit from the UAS Vocation course?
    The UAS Vocation course is designed to provide a comprehensive curriculum on operating a UAS for commercial purposes. The class prepares you to pass the Part 107 exam to earn your FAA remote pilot certificate. Our state-of-the-art simulator will also teach you how to fly a multirotor drone. The FAA license and skills to operate a drone are essential for all commercial UAS operations. The course also teaches you how to collect drone data and create 3D maps, models, and orthophotos. These deliverables are commonly used by contractors, surveyors, and anyone looking to document site conditions or collect quantity take-off information from a scene. UAS thermography has a wide range of use cases and applications. Infrared radiation can be used for building quality control, detecting missing insulation, locating roof leaks, evaluating solar roof panels, search & rescue, assisting first responders, and a wide range of other activities.
  • What time are the weekly class web calls?
    Weekly web calls (virtual classes) are included with the UAS Essentials Plus and the UAS Vocation courses. The specific time may vary but it is generally early afternoon (2:30 pm EST) on Mondays. The web calls are approximately 90 minutes each week.
  • Do I need previous experience using a drone to take any of the courses?
    No. These courses were designed for those with no experience in mind. The intention is to take individuals or companies without any previous drone experience and get them to a place where they fly safely, follow the FAA rules, and get the most out of their drone data.
  • What is the best way to learn to fly a drone?
    The best way to learn to fly is with a high-quality flight simulator that approximates actual aircraft physics in real-world conditions. A simulator allows you to learn to gauge distance and know how close you can fly to an object. You can't know where your aircraft's envelope is unless you fly close to obstructions, and yes…crash! If you're not crashing, you're not learning. Once you master a simulator, you're ready to start practicing with a real drone.
  • Can drones be used to document site conditions?
    Yes, drones are an incredibly powerful tool to document a site. Simple aerial images are the lowest hanging fruit. However, those drone images, when stitched together in SfM software, will create a georeferenced 3D model. Job progress, site fence conditions, underground utilities, and much more can be documented with sub-inch accuracy. After completing this course, you'll be able to provide your client with a high-quality model of the site that will only take you minutes to create.
  • How can drones improve communication with partners and clients?
    As the expression goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." However, just taking simple pictures is an underutilization of what drone technology can do. Instead of emailing a simple progress photo, people who complete this course can send their clients daily 3D digital as-builts of the site. Clients can then navigate the site, zoom into areas of interest, and measure various characteristics to sub-inch accuracy.
  • Can drones be used to calculate quantities, create estimates, and check invoices?
    Yes. Drone images can be used to create 3D models with SfM software. Those models are digital representations of the site. The SfM software can be used to scale distances, determine area, and calculate the volume. That data can be used to create estimates quickly and more accurately than with traditional methods. They can also be used to verify invoices received by vendors and validate the invoices you provide to clients.
  • How can drones be used to improve safety?
    Drones are a great tool to improve safety. They can collect data or inspect an asset without having to put the operator in harm's way. Inspecting a roof is a classic example where a drone can observe and document the condition in real-time while the operator is on the ground or even at their office if the video is live-streamed. Another example is to create surveys near traffic. Drones can collect data to be processed into a 3D model without the surveyor being anywhere near the road.
  • How can drones be used to improve construction quality?
    Drones can get to hard-to-reach places and inspect existing assets or newly installed work. As-built conditions can be seen in real-time or documented with images for review by an expert later. The video can also be live-streamed so supervisors, designers, or consultants can observe the condition in real-time remotely. The inclusion of thermography can introduce a higher level of quality control. Water intrusion, missing insulation, faulty electronics, and unfilled CMU cells are just a few things that can be checked with a UAS IR imager that can't be seen with the naked eye.
  • Can a drone be used to create marketing materials?
    Yes. One of the leading commercial uses of drones is to create stunning marketing material. Even a $400 drone can provide high-resolution imagery and video that can present companies' products and services from a whole new vantage point.
  • How are police, fire departments, and other first responders using drones?
    Drones are a widespread tool used by police, fire departments, and other first responders. One use case is to provide "over-watch" where a drone is positioned above an incident and provides scene commanders an aerial overview in person or via live stream. Drones can also be sent into dangerous situations to collect information before sending in manned assets. Additionally, drone data can be used to create 3D models of the scene to document the conditions and be used for future training exercises. A leading application of UAS is to support aerial thermography. IR cameras can see through fog and smoke. They can detect warm bodies easily, making them an essential tool for search & rescue.
  • How do I pay for the drone courses?
    Our courses are most commonly paid for with a credit card through our secure website. However, a custom invoice can be created for large classes or for government agencies. Contact us directly for more information.
  • Will I be able to contact the instructor for help?
    Yes. Dr. Joe Burgett teaches all of the courses listed and is available by email to answer questions. Emails are responded to within 24hrs. Priority email and phone support are available to students taking the UAS Essentials Plus and UAS Vocation courses.
  • Are there any additional fees associated with the courses besides the enrollment fee?
    Depending on the course you enroll in, there are three potential additional costs to consider. 1) The FAA Part 107 exam is provided at a third-party testing facility. The exam fee is typically $175 and is paid to the testing facility. This does not apply to the Applied UAS Thermography course. 2) There is an additional $300 proctoring fee for those wishing to take the Level 1 UAS Thermographer Certification exam. This is only applicable to the Applied UAS Thermography course. 3) The APSA BPERP flight proficiency exam is included in the UAS Essentials Plus and UAS Vocational class. A $75 certification fee, paid to APSA, is required for the certification. The $75 is included with the UAS Vocation class.
  • Do you need to have a license to fly a drone commercially?
    Yes. If you fly a drone for commercial activities, then you will need a license from the FAA. The phrase "commercial activities" is very broadly interpreted and includes anything that does or potentially could involve the exchange of money. The license is most commonly received by taking an FAA knowledge test and earning your Part 107 remote pilot certificate.
  • Do you need to have insurance to fly a drone commercially?
    The FAA does not require insurance; however, it may be required by your client or local jurisdiction. Our courses provide a section that specifically covers what you need to know for drone insurance. It also guides you on what kind of coverage to purchase and how to buy it by the hour, month, or year.
  • What are the hardware requirements for this course?
    The following hardware is recommended for the course. Operating System: Windows 10 or higher CPU: Intel Core i7 @ 3.6 GHz or equivalent Memory: 8 GB RAM Hard Drive: 8 GB available in hard disk Graphics Hardware: Direct X 10 or higher compatible graphics card (GTX660 equivalent or higher) Internet Connection: DSL or higher
  • How accurate are drone-based surveys?
    There are many factors that influence how accurate a drone (photogrammetric) survey is, such as camera quality, drone elevation, weather, if ground control points (GCP) were used, number of images, image overlap, angle of the camera, and the terrain. However, a DJI Phantom 4 Pro or Mavic 2 Pro, with a 20mp camera, flown at 100'AGL, with GCP on a cleared site can expect to have sub-inch accuracy with an RMS error less than 1 pixel. We explore this in our courses and give you sample data to create your own model given these conditions.
  • Will I receive customized feedback on my assignments or just cookie-cutter responses?
    Nearly every assignment in our courses is reviewed by hand and given individual feedback based on what the student submitted, just like you would expect with a college class. The exception is the Part 107 Exam Prep course, where detailed automated feedback is provided with the assignments to help keep the enrollment fee down.
  • Do I need a drone to take this class?
    No. All of the course material and sample drone data is provided to you. However, if you have a drone, you are more than welcome to use your own data to create 3D models or tune your own thermograms.
  • Do I have to be a Clemson University student to take one of the courses?
    No! All of the courses are non-credit professional development courses. These courses are specifically developed for working professionals not enrolled at Clemson.
  • How many questions are in the UAS Thermography Level 1 Exam?
    The exam has 60 multiple choice questions given over 2.5 hours. A passing score is 80%. Before the exam, students are provided multiple practice quizzes to gauge their level of understanding before taking the level 1 exam. The exam is proctored remotely through an online service. A webcam and microphone are required to take the exam.
  • How long do the certifications last?
    There are three certifications available in the UAS Vocation class. The FAA provides the Part 107 drone license. The license does not expire but requires you to take a free online recurrent training course every two years. The flight proficiency exam is provided by APSA and is valid for two years. After the two-year period, students are required to retake the BPERP exam to maintain their certification. The UAS thermography training and certification exam is valid for two years. A refresher course with an accompanying exam is required to renew the certificate.
  • Where can I go to verify my benefits with the VA to be reimbursed for the UAS Vocation course?
    The easiest way to verify your benefits is to go ask a VA rep through the portal. Feel free to copy and paste the verbiage below which indicates the specific program and facility code you’ll need. You can also call the at 888-442-4551. My name is (state full name), and I am a veteran with Chapter 33 benefits. My military ID number is (provide #). I am interested in taking a preparatory course using the benefits associated with 38 U.S.C. § 3315B – Preparatory courses for licensure, certification, or national test. Can you please confirm that I am eligible and have remaining benefits to take the “LACAS-UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYS VOCATION” courses offered by the SSA-approved licenses and certifications institution “Clemson Drone” (facility code 46P00540)? This is a different facility code than Clemson University. The course fee is $3,500.
  • Are all of the Clemson Drone Courses eligible for VA benefits?
    No, only the UAS Vocation course has been approved by the SSA for VA Chapter 33 benefits.
  • Does Clemson Drone participate in the Army Ignited tuition assistance program?
    Yes, the UAS Vocation course is eligible for tuition assistance through the Army Ignited program. Contact your Credentialing Assistance representative at for more information on how to enroll.
  • How do I take the UAS Vocation course using my Post 9/11 Chapter 33 VA benefits?
    There are four steps to take and be reimbursed for the UAS Vocation course using your chapter 33 VA benefits. Step #1: Confirm that you are eligible for Chapter 33 “preparatory course” benefits and have remaining entitlement to cover the course tuition ($3,500) by going to Log in and copy the italicized text below into the chat box. You can also call the VA at 1-888-442-4551 for additional clarification. Please note that the preparatory course program does not pay a monthly housing stipend. My name is (state full name), and I am a veteran with Chapter 33 benefits. My military ID number is (provide #). I am interested in taking a preparatory course using the benefits associated with 38 U.S.C. § 3315B – Preparatory courses for licensure, certification, or national test. Can you please confirm that I am eligible and have remaining benefits to take the “LACAS-UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYS VOCATION” courses offered by the SSA-approved licenses and certifications institution “Clemson Drone” (facility code 46P00540)? This is a different facility code than Clemson University. The course fee is $3,500. Step #2: Enroll in the course by clicking here. Select the option “Yes – Eligible for 100% VA reimbursement” in the dropdown field. Click the “Enroll Now” button and enter your payment information. A receipt will be emailed to you immediately, and Dr. Burgett will contact you within 24 hours with additional course information. Step #3: Complete the course over eight weeks. Clemson Drone will provide you with an enrollment verification letter (sample). Step #4: Complete VA Form 22-10272 (course) and VA Form 22-0803 (exam) for reimbursement. Some of the fields have been completed for you. Mail the completed VA forms and the course completion letter received by Clemson Drone to the VA. The address is provided on the last page of the VA form.
  • How can I verify that Clemson Drone has been approved as a preparatory (prep) course for licensing or certification test provider?
    1) Go to VA's WEAMS Licenses/Certification Search online tool at: 2) Copy and paste "UNMANNED AIRCARAFT SYSTEMS" in the L&C Name field. (It is misspelled but copy it in just as it provided). Use the drop down to select "Certification." Hit the enter key to search. 3) Click on the blue hyperlink that reads "UNMANNED AIRCARAFT SYSTEMS." This will bring you to a screen that verifies the preparatory course has been approved for up to $3,500. Click on the grey box that reads "Institution Profile" to verify Clemson Drone is approved.
  • Do you offer financial aid?
    Unfortunately, as the courses are online non-credit classes, they do not qualify for traditional financial aid.


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