BHSU photography professor demonstrates drone

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, September 16, 2014/Categories: 2014

           BHSU photography professor Steve Babbitt explains drone technology to students.  Babbitt demonstrated the opportunities drones provide for innovation in photography on campus today.

            Steve Babbitt, professor at BHSU, flies his drone on the campus green today while students observe.  Babbitt shared with students his experiences using the drone and his thoughts on the future of unmanned aircraft regulation.

Watch the video of Steve Babbitt flying his drone across campus.

Black Hills State University photography professor Steve Babbitt demonstrated his drone on campus today showing photography students the potential and drawbacks of using cutting-edge technology for industrial, fashion, wedding, architecture, and sports photography.

"My advice to photography students is that if you think this is something you&rsquod be interested in, start now.  Be ahead of your competition," said Babbitt.  "There may be restrictions, you may need a license, but how you use it is up to you and the rules and regulations of the government."

"From the standpoint of a photographer, the possibilities are not only obvious, but endless," said Babbitt.  

Babbitt discussed other drone uses including search and rescue, to review timber damage from forest fires, and avalanche control. He noted that Amazon and Google are exploring use of drones for product delivery.  

"Some ranchers have a small plane to survey their land," said Babbitt. "Now they can use a drone and use a program from their computer to fly the drone on a grid."

Babbitt cautioned his students to be careful as they explore drone technology.

"When the FAA releases their restrictions and regulations we&rsquoll know more about what kind of license is needed or specific training requirements," said Babbitt.  "Right now I insure my drone as part of my equipment and insure myself when I&rsquom using it."  

The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which President Obama signed in 2012, called for the FAA to develop regulations for drones by 2015.

"The FAA is not going to get rid of this technology now that it exists," said Babbitt.  "You can&rsquot put the genie back in the bottle."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration&rsquos website, unmanned aircraft fly in national airspace under "very controlled conditions," performing border and port surveillance, helping with scientific research and environmental monitoring, and supporting public safety.

Babbitt reviewed the GPS, satellite, and camera technology as he powered up the drone on the campus green.  Students were excited to see the launch and several practiced their own photography taking photographs as the drone flew into the sky.

"When you see drones fly it&rsquos like they&rsquore floating," Babbitt said.  "Let your imagination go."


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