A $50 thousand grant has allowed Mountain Empire Community College to offer a new course this summer on unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones. MECC is the only community college in the state currently offering such a class. Students of all ages will learn how to build and fly drones, an up and coming industry due to the versatility of unmanned aerial technology. Instructor Fred Coeburn will be teaching students to design, build, maintain, and fly their own drones. This technology can be utilized for everything from emergency or medical supply transportation to remote areas, to farm maintenance.
The class is being offered on Tuesday nights until August and will be offered again in the Fall.
The college hopes to expand the class into a full program.
Wise County Circuit Court Clerk Jack Kennedy wrote a grant proposal to secure a match dollar grant totaling $100,000 to start up the drone industry in Wise County.
On July 15th, international and national law experts will gather in Wise County for a drone and space law conference.
On July 17th, Wise County will partner with NASA and the Remote Area Medical clinic to deliver medication by drone transport during the annual clinic. A NASA plane will land at the Lonesome Pine Runway carrying hundreds of pounds of medication that the drones will then deliver in ten pound packages to doctors and nurses at the clinic.
According to an interview with Kennedy, this will be the first humanitarian delivery of medications by a drone in the U.S.