The School of Communications collaborated with numerous community partners, including the N.C. Department of Transportation and FAA Safety Team, to host the inaugural Elon Drone Day on Nov. 8, 2021.

Nearly 110 recreational and commercial pilots, transportation and safety officials, educators, students and community members interested in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) descended on Elon’s campus for a daylong program that consisted of panel discussions, keynote talks and an afternoon flight demonstration.

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According to Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, who organized the event, Elon Drone Day’s overarching objective was to provide the community with updates on the drone industry, sharing the importance of learning safe practices, earning certifications, and what the future may hold.

Experts and professionals from business and government participated in the educational sessions held in Turner Theatre, with several vendors and organizations set up in Snow Family Grand Atrium. Among those on hand were personnel from Zipline International, CloudFactory, Alamance County Emergency Management, Nine Ten Drones, NCDOT, Vertograph, Choate Construction Company, and legal specialists Aviation Barristers.

Official release: Click here to read the university’s recap of Elon Drone Day 2021.

Pilots, educators and officials answered questions regarding regulations, safety and industry trends, covering a spectrum of commercial and public safety applications and topics, including remote ID, night operations, flight over people, FAASTeam Ops and Maintenance, the TRUST program, Part 107 certification, drone-based delivery, educational implementation of UAS tech, public safety utility, and legal considerations.

TC Freeman, an aviation safety specialist with the NCDOT Division of Aviation, described Elon Drone Day as a “boon for the leaders of the next generation and a great way to help us ensure people are operating drones safely and responsibly.”

Questions? Contact Senior Lecturer Randy Piland at or (336) 278-5232.

Elon Drone Day supporters

A special thank you to the following organizations that supported and participated in the inaugural Elon Drone Day event.

Session Videos

FAA Drone Operations Updates

Recreational & Commercial Certifications

Drone Panel Discussion

Drone Day Photos

Elon Drone Day – Fall 2021

2021 Elon Drone Day Schedule

7:45 – 8:15 AM 
Check-In, Coffee & Pastries, Displays, Meet & Greet

8:20 – 9:30 AM
TOPICS: Remote ID, Night Operations & Flight Over People

Dan Kelly, FAASTeam Program Manager, Operations / FAA
Tim Haley, FAASTeam Program Manager, Maintenance / FAA
Tim Camelin, Aviation Safety Tech UAS / FAA

9:40 – 10:40 AM
TOPICS: The TRUST Program & the need for a Part 107 certification

TC Freeman, Aviation Safety Specialist / NCDOT
Randy Piland, Senior Lecturer / Elon University

10:50 AM – 12 PM
PANEL: What is autonomous? Is drone delivery real? What roles can education play in finding talent in the various UAV industries? How do drones assist the public safety sector? What legal concerns should we all be aware of when flying?

Bruce Brandon, Aviation Attorney, Retired Airline Captain / Aviation Barristers
Josh Gordon, Field Operator, Controller & Evaluator / Zipline International
Yancy King, Director / Alamance County Emergency Management
Paul Rossi
, COO & Chief Pilot / 910 Drones
Miguel Santiago, Engineering Technician / NCDOT
Josh Warshofsky, Visual Storyteller / Vertograph
Keyona Wells, VDC Specialist / Choate Construction Company

12 – 1:05 PM

Lunch is on your own, but coupons from local eateries are in the registration packets.

1:15 – 2:15 PM
Flight Demos: Drone Delivery, Autonomous
Part 107 Pilots