As the deployment of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) programs continues to expand across the United States, public safety agencies face challenges in maintaining sUAS platforms. To support stakeholders within the Maryland-National Capital Region, MDERS sponsored pilots from Prince George’s and Montgomery County public safety agencies, as well as MDERS, to participate in the Understanding Unmanned Aerial Systems Maintenance course hosted by Tactical Drone Concepts, Inc. in September 2022. This course combined maintenance theory, best practices, and hands-on application to guide students through potential maintenance issues they may encounter.
The Understanding UAS Maintenance course engaged students in classroom discussion and hands-on instruction to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement in-house maintenance programs for UAS vehicles. Students attending the course gained a functional understanding of the component parts and software programming used to operate unmanned aircrafts, as well as soldering techniques to repair wire and electronic components on tactical and training aircraft. Upon completion of the course, Maryland-National Capital Region stakeholders enhanced their understanding of diagnosing and troubleshooting maintenance issues associated with sUAS. Students can further apply this knowledge as public safety agencies in both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties continue to develop their internal maintenance policies and procedures.
Stakeholders from the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, and the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management rated the overall course highly. Participants provided the following feedback:
- “I believe there are some best practices we can take from this class regarding maintenance. We learned greatly from our classmates about their programs and what works best for them.”
- “A new appreciation for aircraft maintenance has been instilled in me due to being able to take the class.”
- “The lessons learned will benefit the day-to-day maintenance of our UAS vehicles.”