Course detail: Flight Testing Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Unique Challenges - ONLINE

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are comprised of an unmanned vehicle (UAV), a manned control element(s), and various data and control links. Although unmanned, the vehicle is still an aircraft and must be tested with the same rigor and precision as manned systems. However, being "unmanned" and being part of an integrated system, UAVs demand unique flight test approaches that present corresponding challenges. If these challenges go unmet, the UAS Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E) program often experiences unacceptable cost and schedule overruns, which could lead to program termination.

This course introduces the primary challenges associated with flight-testing remotely piloted and command-directed (a.k.a. autonomous) vehicles, with primary emphasis on Tactical, MALE and HALE class systems. The course also recommends solutions to these challenges that are meant to either mitigate or eliminate potential problems before they become unmanageable.

  • Fundamentals of flight test: review the purpose of flight test and evaluation and discuss the flight test and evaluation process as it applies to UAS testing.
  • Typical test requirements: review both typical user requirements and certifying airworthiness requirements.
  • UAV Flight Operations: review the current regulations for conducting UAV flight operations within both the National Airspace.
  • System and on national test ranges: discuss the present state of "sense and avoid" requirements and technology, and the resulting impacts on flight test operations.
  • Typical UAS architectures: review the system concept and understand why it is necessary to know typical UAS architectures in order to assure a successful flight test program.
  • UAV software and modeling: examine the level and complexity of UAS software testing and appreciate the need for systems level flight test.
  • UAV design characteristics: appreciate the basis for UAV designs with emphasis on those features that create development and test challenges.
  • Typical UAV ground and flight testing: review the most problematic areas of UAV ground and flight test.
  • Risk analysis and management: review the risk management process and how it applies to UAV testing.
  • Cause-Effect/Effect-Response method to mitigate flight test challenges: introduce a new methodology designed to help mitigate UAV flight test problems.
  • Human factors considerations: discuss the application of human factors principles to UAS command and control design and test.
  • First flight(s) planning: discuss the unique aspects of UAV first flight(s).
  • Lessons learned in UAV flight testing: share UAV lessons learned.
  • Summary of UAV unique challenges: review the top 20 flight test challenges presented in the course.
Course Schedule
When this course is offered online for open enrollment delivery, it meets for 5 live-online sessions every day (Monday through Friday) for 3.5 hours. All live sessions are recorded and made available online the following day.
For in-house training, contact us at for your custom scheduling needs.

Who Should Attend?
The course is designed for practicing flight test engineers, test pilots, test managers, aircraft engineers, aircraft designers and educators who already possess a fundamental understanding of flight test principles and practices. The course content is also appropriate for civilian, military and academic researchers.

Course preview webinar: Taking the Pilot out of the Cockpit is a Big Deal!

Course Fee
Early Online Registration fee: $1,795*
Regular Online Registration fee: $1,895
*Early registration fee is available if you register and pay at least 7 days prior to the course start
Registration is open until the first day of the course; however, early registration is encouraged. 
The online course fee includes individual access to the Zoom course meetings and to course materials, readings, videos, and resources in Blackboard, the University of Kansas Learning Management System.
No additional textbook purchases are required outside the course fee.

U.S. Federal Employee Discount
This course is available to U.S. federal employees at 10% off the registration fee. To receive the federal employee discount, you must enter the code FGVT116 during the checkout process. Please note that you must validate your eligibility to receive this discount by entering your U.S. government email address (ending in .gov or .mil) when creating your online registration profile. This discount is available for both the early registration and regular registration fees.

Netherlands Defence Academy Discount
This course is available to Netherlands Defence Academy employees at a discounted registration fee. Please contact the NDA Procurement and Contracting department for details. Please note that you cannot register using our online system when requesting this discount.

Canada Department of National Defence Discount
This course is available to Canada DND employees at 10% off the registration fee. Please contact the DND Procurement Authority (DAP 2-3) for details. Please note that you cannot register using our online system when requesting this discount. This discount is available for both the early registration and regular registration fees.

Certificate Tracks
Flight Tests and Aircraft Performance
Unmanned Aircraft

Classroom hours / CEUs
21 classroom hours
2.1 CEUs

Course Accessibility
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to participate in University of Kansas educational offerings. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in our Aerospace Short Courses, please email or call 785-864-6779 at least three weeks before the first day of the event.
Please note: If you are attending an Aerospace Short Course onsite at your place of employment, please contact your company's training coordinator for accommodation requests.

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Course Resources
Technical Requirements and Details for Aerospace Online Short Courses
AERO0305 Course Information and Outline (PDF Document)

Available sessions