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Embry-Riddle Worldwide collaborates with Nevada stakeholders for UAS education

Daytona Beach, Fla., April 5, 2016 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide is now working with stakeholders in Nevada to advance unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) education.

Last month, representatives from Embry-Riddle Worldwide visited the Nevada UAS Test Site in Las Vegas to gain flying clearance through the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS). Two Embry-Riddle Worldwide faculty members are now qualified as a pilot in command/mission director and visual observer.

The ability to fly small UAS under NIAS’s certificate of authorization (COA) will give faculty members new instructional tools. Embry-Riddle Worldwide offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in unmanned systems, along with non-degree, professional education programs.

“By working with NIAS, Embry-Riddle now has the ability to fly small UAS outdoors at sites across the nation,” said Embry-Riddle Worldwide Assistant Professor David Thirtyacre. “This partnership and training opportunity has truly opened the skies to Embry-Riddle students and faculty.”

As the world’s largest university specializing in aviation and aerospace, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers education to Nevada students through its two Worldwide campus locations and high school dual enrollment program in the greater Las Vegas area. Over the years, the university has established relationships with state and local partners including the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and NIAS.

“We are excited that Embry-Riddle will be working with NIAS to advance the UAS industry in Nevada and beyond,” said Tom Wilczek, an aerospace and defense industry specialist with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Chris Walach, NIAS director of operations for unmanned aviation, was one of the staff on hand during the Embry-Riddle Worldwide team’s test flights.

“Despite less than perfect conditions, the Embry-Riddle team outsmarted the desert weather to have a flawless performance,” he said. “We look forward to the next Embry-Riddle event.” 

Future plans for Embry-Riddle Worldwide and NIAS include additional sUAS training at the university’s Daytona Beach campus. Both organizations are focused on advancing the UAS industry through awareness, educational outreach, safe flight operations and training.

The Embry-Riddle and NIAS team conducted UAS flight operations at a dedicated UAS test range over uninhabited desert near Mesquite, Nevada, one hour from Las Vegas. The Mesquite UAS range is one of 30 UAS ranges in Nevada that was established to support the state’s growing UAS industry through advanced testing and training operations.

(Editor’s Note: Photos available upon request.)

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz.; online; and through the Worldwide Campus’ network of education facilities in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@ERAUworldwide) and, and find expert videos at

About Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)
On behalf of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, NIAS helps to grow the Autonomous Systems Industry through business teaming, partnerships, research and development, and education awareness in order to bring in business and jobs to the State of Nevada.  NIAS plans Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flight and Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) ground missions, collects Big Data, develops airspace and ground control measures, and recommends lessons learned to the FAA, NASA, and DOT in order to facilitate full and safe UAS and UGV integration into the National Airspace (NAS) and across the Nevada highway and road lines of operations.  Learn more at


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Molly Justice
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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Mark Barker
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Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)
Office: (702) 793-4218