The AU Drone Club Hosted its First “Fly In” Event on the Alfred University Football Field


Today, more than 15 Alfred University students met on the AU football field in order to test their drone flight skills. . .and to have pizza.

Most flew trainer drones, but a select few also flew more high-end drones, such as the Phantom or Inspire drones, which will be used for the club’s commercial activities in the near future.  The students also created an obstacle course to hone their flight skills; maybe future drone races are in the works!

Final Grant Proposal for Drone Use Submitted before the Appalachian Regional Commission

Today, Alfred University faculty from the School of Engineering and the School of Business submitted their final Appalachian Regional Commission grant proposal to Southern Tier West.  The proposal aims to educate the local workforce in drone repair and maintenance, flight operations leading to a commercial drone flight license, and in entrepreneurship skills leading to business creation.  The students will then work with local farmers by using drones to help increase crop yield and health.

We hope to receive the grant, but in any case we want to publicly acknowledge all the new friends we met in this journey and who supported us in this project, specifically:

Thank you all, Fiat Lux!

Allegany County Farm Bureau Hears of Alfred University Faculty and Student Drone Initiative


On Wednesday evening, September 6, 2017 Professor Sangjoon Lee and Jason St. John of Alfred University attended the Allegany County Farm Bureau board meeting in an effort to gain their support and feedback on the university’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant application. Business and Engineering faculty of Alfred University applied for the ARC grant proposing to train the local workforce in drone repair/maintenance/piloting and business skills, then to apply those skills to obtain farm data that will increase the local farming community’s crop health and yield.

The board members were enthusiastic about the grant’s goals and were more than gracious with their feedback.  Jason explained that if ARC approved the university’s grant, then the farmers would initially receive farm data free of charge, and that really got the member’s attention. Many of the board members have heard that drones have several farm uses, but their high cost is a major hurdle. Using drones is ideal for those jobs that are dirty, distant, dangerous, or dull, and is a very cost effective tool to gather farm data.  Private companies offering drone services charge too much for some of the smaller farm operations in this area, but Jason explained that Alfred University can likely provide the same level of service to the farm community at a lower cost, and use local students, if it received the ARC grant, and that really sets the university apart.

Professor Lee and Jason left the board meeting hoping for the community’s support, and looking forward to servicing them as customers of Alfred University’s drone and business services in the near future.

By Jason St. John, Finance Major, Alfred University (2018 grad)

Grant Proposal for Drone Use in Agricultural Project before the Appalachian Regional Commission


The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has advanced our grant application to the final stage where we will present our project before the NYS Department of State, the NYS Governor, and ultimately ARC in Washington DC.

Our project could not have gotten this far without the super support of staff from Southern Tier West, Alfred University, and our students.  Thank you all.  We will need your further support for this final stage.

Fiat Lux!

Grant Proposal for Drone Use in Agricultural Project before the Appalachian Regional Commission

Today, with the assistance of Dean Nancy Evangelista, faculty of the Alfred University School of Business, and the Alfred University Engineering School presented a grant proposal before the Appalachian Regional Commission for using drones to gather agricultural data, and for workforce development.

The goals of the grant are increase new regional jobs and/or introduce new skills for old jobs and/or create new businesses that use drone technology.  We propose to achieve these goals by combining theory and practice:

  • Theory: creating an educational program that teaches drone flight/repair/maintenance skills, as well as the business/entrepreneurship skills needed to create a sustainable business; and,
  • Practice: using drones to obtain agricultural data to help local farmers increase their crop health and yield.

Hopefully our project will receive funding – wish us luck!

Federal Court Holds Hobby Drone Users Need Not Register Their Drones

On Friday, May 19, 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of a drone hobbyist who had challenged the legality of the FAA’s drone-registration program.

Previously, the FAA required hobby drone owners to register their drones through a website for a $5 fee. Drone hobbyists were then issued a unique identification, which they were required to mark on their drones.

The court held that the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, “codified the FAA’s longstanding hands-off approach to the regulation of model aircraft.” That rule provides that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

While the court’s decision applies to hobby users, it does not apply to commercial drone users.