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Faculty Spotlight

Teaching Law, Taking Flight: Professor Heverly Pilots New Drone Course

Robert Heverly '92

By ustin Devendorf ’19

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Unmanned aviation systems, more commonly known as drones, have greatly expanded their presence over the past two decades. Once only used on—that is, above—the battlefield, drones are now everywhere, serving myriad functions. A drone can be flown by anyone, so long as its operator has the necessary training.

Albany Law School Professor Robert Heverly '92 has teamed up with Professor Brandon Behlendorf of the University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) to explore the legal issues surrounding this ever-more-ubiquitous technology. His course, "The Legal, Ethical, and Operational Impacts of Unmanned Aviation Systems," covers the laws and regulations that govern drones, and gives students from both Albany Law School and UAlbany the opportunity to take the controls at CEHC's newly unveiled drone flight facility.

"This class provides students with the unique ability to be on the cutting edge of an emerging field of law," said Professor Heverly. "And in the drone lab, they get hands-on experience safely and legally operating drones."

As part of the course, students receive preparation for and have the opportunity to earn a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating from the Federal Aviation Administration—a necessary threshold for any commercial drone operator.