A small quadcopter and large hexacopter drone on a table, with a grass field and sunny sky behind. Overlaid are three AUVSI TOP training level logos.

June 30, 2022

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) today announced that North Carolina State University is the latest Certified Training Provider for the AUVSI Trusted Operator Program™ (TOP). NC State is just the fourth institution of higher education approved to deliver all levels of the AUVSI TOP certification, and the Level 1 training is now open for registration.

The AUVSI TOP is a certification program that creates a culture of safety, reliability, professionalism and trust among drone operators. Launched in 2018, TOP uses aviation regulations and safety standards developed by accredited standards bodies and international safety experts to certify a drone operator’s proficiency and ability to operate safely. As a TOP-certified organization, students that complete a drone operator training program at NC State automatically become TOP certified as well.

NC State’s drone training programs are housed within the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), which offers a comprehensive range of transportation education programs. ITRE is an industry leader in the development of uncrewed aircraft system capabilities and standards, and works with state, federal and industry partners to integrate uncrewed vehicles into the National Airspace System. The ITRE aviation team’s expertise, experience and industry connections made the addition of TOP-certified drone operator training programs to NC State a natural fit.

“One of AUVSI’s core missions is to create shared learning opportunities that ensure a safety-first culture within the uncrewed systems industry. TOP sets the industry benchmark for drone pilots in safety, knowledge, experience and reliability,” said Keely Griffith, Director of Industry Education at AUVSI. “We look forward to working with NC State as they embrace programs that support students’ preparedness for careers in the industries of the future.”

AUVSI also announced the hiring of a new TOP Program Manager, Vern Shurtz. A TOP-certified Level 3 remote pilot and remote pilot instructor, Shurtz served in the U.S. Navy and brings his experience in drone technology and services, 3D Modeling and Animation, Photogrammetry, and XR Development for enterprise users.

Learn more about AUVSI TOP here and NC State’s TOP training programs here.


View original AUVSI press release