Northland Aerospace has provided more than 60-years of aviation related education and is leading Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) technician education. Launching the nation’s first UAS Maintenance Program in 2010 from the long-standing Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, Northland has continued to accelerate advanced technological program developments. This has been made possible by recruiting industry subject matter experts, regional, state and federal support, and over $20 million in state and federal grants and an additional $18 million of UAS training equipment provided to Northland by industry partners. Northland has received several NSF ATE grants most recently leading to the award of the first NSF ATE National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT).
Northland is positioned in a region known as the Silicon Valley for UAS developments. Partners and resources include the FAA UAS Northern Plains Test Site, the University of North Dakota Professional Flight Program including UAS focused degrees, the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems, the nation’s first UAS Business Development Park – Grand Sky, access to large scale UAS (RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-8 Predator, Bat-12 and R-Bat) and a number of UAS start-up companies throughout the region. These partnerships have formed a model ecosystem for continuous development and improvement in advancing autonomous systems technologies.
Northland has been instrumental in developing the standards and regulations that govern autonomous technologies. Northland established the first industry standards for UAS Maintenance Technicians in collaboration with the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies NCATT (Now a part of ASTM International). This led to a partnership between SpaceTEC, ASTM and Northland to further enhance UAS Maintenance Technician Standards. Northland was also selected by the FAA National COE for UAS Technology, the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (FAA ASSURE) to lead various technician standards developments. Northland is one of only two technical colleges that support the FAA ASSURE Committee.