Carroll University aviation science faculty tackle drone safety

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 6/20/2018

Categories: Aviation Science Faculty and Staff


Attendees sit and are shown a powerpoint

Several Carroll University aviation science faculty members are involved in the airspace protection team Terra Vigilis, which recently partnered with WhiteFox Defense Technologies to host a conference on combating drone threats. The two companies have been teaming together to invent defensive technology and promote safe drone operation, leading them to create this event at the Silver Spring Golf Club. There were over fifty professionals in attendance, representing federal, state, and local government, related businesses and healthcare groups. Through participating in panel discussions and seeing outdoor demonstrations, the attendees learned about advancements being made by both companies to tackle aerial threats.

Five men make up the Terra Vigilis team, three being Carroll aviation science faculty members Captain Tim Tyre, John Palese and Michael Mortensen. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Palese and retired Captain Tyre of the United States Navy are both adjunct professors, with the role of program director recently moving to Mortensen.

“Terra Vigilis is a company that is concerned with the possible threats that drones could present to our society and we’re working on solutions with our partner WhiteFox, out of San Luis Obispo, California, to keep that from happening,” commented Palese. “We also know that drones are capable of a vast amount of good and there are nearly an infinite number of good uses for them, which is why the head of the aviation science program at Carroll is part of Terra Vigilis, and two of us adjunct professors are as well.”

The three want to ensure that the public is not only protected from drone threats but also properly educated on the issue, prompting them to recently propose a drone course in the aviation science minor at Carroll. The additional course will prepare students to take the exam for their Part 107 license needed to operate a drone, as well as teach them about safe drone operation. The first drone aviation course, AVS 103, will be offered this fall of 2018, preparing students to apply their knowledge in multiple settings.

“AVS 103 will introduce drones, and explain not really how to fly drones, but the safety and security of drones and all the other things that a drone can do,” remarked Mortensen. “It touches a lot of different professions, like criminology with search and rescue, computer science for maybe automating a drone, and biology even, where we could do radio metrics and get temperature readings from foliage.”

“It’s limited only by your imagination, which is the really neat thing about it,” added Palese.

Carroll University student and aviation science minor Shannon Markley was also volunteering at the event. Markley is a transfer student from UW-Milwaukee, coming to Carroll this past year after Captain Tyre recommended the aviation science program to her. Now with a major in communication and minor in aviation science, Markley can attest to the effectiveness of the program in preparing her for a current internship at the Waukesha County Airport.

“The only reason I came to Carroll was for the aviation science program,” offered Markley. “I’ve definitely learned a lot. It’s really influential and I definitely feel prepared.”

Learn more about the aviation science program.