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UAS Simulation Lab at Mohawk Valley Community College

UAS Simulation Lab at Mohawk Valley Community College


Field training at MVCC on the aerial imagery collection SUAS donated by MVRsimulation. Training provided by Swift Radioplanes. (Photo courtesy of Brian Judycki at MVCC.).

Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) Utica, NY, campus is using MVRsimulation's visuals and donated small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in its new state-of-the-art flight simulation and training lab built for the college’s new Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems degree program. In 2016, MVCC purchased six VRSG licenses and six Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) licenses for five desktop student pilot and sensor operator training stations and one instructor station in the lab. In late 2017 the MVCC purchased VRSG and MACE licenses for installing two additional student stations in the lab.

As part of the software delivery, MVRsimulation donated to MVCC a small UAS for use for imagery collection.

Students hone their operation and flight skills in the UAS simulation lab as part of MVCC's Small UAS (SUAS) Associates of Applied Science degree program. The lab consists of seven student stations, an instructor station, and a 3D terrain server. (The instructor station enables an instructor to make dynamic inputs into the students’ scenarios. The instructor station is configured so it can also be used as a student station.) The terrain server runs MVRsimulation's 3D terrain, including CONUS++ Northeast region. MVCC purchased all new hardware for the lab where students learn mission planning and operations, and flight skills.

Detail of UAS simulation lab for the new SUAS degree program at MVCC Utica campus. Setup includes 5 student stations and 1 instructor station, running BSI MACE on the left monitor, and MVRsimulation VRSG on the right monitor. (Photo courtesy of Battlespace Simulations.)

UAS simulation lab at MVCC Utica campus, with 5 student stations and 1 instructor station, all running MVRsimulation VRSG and BSI MACE. (Photo courtesy of Battlespace Simulations.)

Demonstration of MVRsimulation and BSI's software on a student station in the simulation and training lab. (Photo courtesy of Battlespace Simulations.)

MVCC's Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems degree curriculum features day and night classes, online and classroom instruction, hands-on labs, and field experience. Within the interdisciplinary curriculum, students also learn to design and build SUAS by exploring modeling and fabrication in the school's fabrication lab, drafting and design using AutoCAD, electronics, mechanics, and software programming.

The launch of this Associates of Applied Science degree program follows the MVCC's receipt of FAA section 333 exemption. The exemption permits the college to fly their SUAS over educational institutions for the purposes of conducting aerial photography, videography, inspections, surveying, closed-set motion picture filming, and search and rescue operations.

Upon completion of the two-year degree program, graduates will be prepared for rapidly developing SUAS career opportunities as pilots, sensor operators, and mission team members in a variety of fields, including disaster and emergency management, law enforcement/search and rescue, forestry and environmental research,  photography and videography, geographic information systems, and more.

The imagery collection SUAS that MVRsimulation donated to MVCC was built by Swift Radioplanes for autonomous aerial surveying at low altitudes. The aircraft takes high-resolution still-frame images, which MVRsimulation then orthorectifies and uses to build sub-inch resolution 3D terrain for rendering in VRSG. Swift Radioplanes provided field training to two professors in the SUAS program on the SUAS. Students will use the SUAS as they learn about long range mapping and autonomous missions.

Field training provided by Swift Radioplanes on the SUAS donated by MVRsimulation. (Photo courtesy of Brian Judycki at MVCC.)

Pre-flight checks on the GCS computer during field training provided by Swift Radioplanes in August prior to launching the SUAS donated by MVRsimulation. (Photo courtesy of Swift Radioplanes.)