Mountain Empire Community College to Hold Informational Session on Free Drone Operator Classes

BIG STONE GAP – Mountain Empire Community College will hold an informational session on its summer Unmanned Aerial Systems classes Monday, May 14 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall, Room 214.

Courses are free and will introduce concepts related to the building and operation of drones, which are the most common UAS devices. These courses are part of MECC’s Small UAS (sUAS) Operations Technician Technical Studies Associate Degree that is currently pending approval. In addition to the degree, students can also test for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Certificate at no cost to them. This offering is made possible through MECC’s collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia’s Community Development Block Grant and Geospatial Technician Education-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (GeoTEd-UAS).

While the UAS industry is growing throughout the region and the state, it can also compliment other industries already present in the region. According to MECC’s UAS Instructor Fred Coeburn, the technology is an excellent resource for police, EMS, realtors, farmers and ranchers to incorporate into their professions.

The first summer cohort session begins June 5. In addition to attending the informational session, those interested in the program can learn more at or contact Fred Coeburn at 276.523.2400 ext. 285.