School of Communications to host Elon Drone Day on Nov. 8

The free, public daylong event will center around safety practices and feature FAA safety officials, aviation leaders, drone delivery specialists and video storytellers, among others.

The rapid growth of the drone industry is undeniable, with the drone services market size expected to increase to $63.6 billion by 2025. As more drones take to the sky for commercial and recreational purposes, a bevy of questions regarding regulations, safety and overall use remain.

To address these topics and other trends in the drone industry, the School of Communications will host Elon Drone Day, a daylong program on Monday, Nov. 8. The event is free and open to recreational and commercial pilots, educators, students and other members of the community interested in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

According to Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, who is organizing the event, Elon Drone Day’s overarching objective is to promote safe practices when flying drones. The program will feature conversations with FAA safety officials, North Carolina Department of Transportation aviation leaders, drone delivery specialists, video storytellers and other experts. In addition to on-site panels and lectures, there will be displays and activities for those in attendance, with a drone demonstration in the afternoon.

“Elon Drone Day aims to provide a platform to help share knowledge within the drone community on how to fly safely by following the FAA guidelines,” said Piland, who has promoted drones and related safety regulations for the past five years. “Elon is a perfect place to discuss drone industry use openly,” he added, noting the university’s journalism and cinema programs, as well as other disciplines such as engineering, earth sciences and computer programming. “This event is open to anyone curious about how to consider drone use in their professions.”

Piland said NCDOT has been a great partner in organizing the day’s programming and activities as part of its commitment to innovation and safety. TC Freeman, an aviation safety specialist I with the NCDOT Division of Aviation, described the event 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.” He said the department “jumped on the opportunity” to collaborate with FAA and other industry partners to engage the community and university students about drone safety and the future of the industry.

While there is no cost to attend Elon Drone Day, registration is required. For more information and to register, visit the School of Communications’ website. The Nov. 8 event will be held in Turner Theatre and Dwight C. Schar Hall, located in Elon’s School of Communications.

Schedule recap

The day’s program kicks off with a 7:45 a.m. check in at Dwight C. Schar Hall, followed by an 8:20 a.m. conversation titled “Remote ID, Night Operations & Flight Over People.” FAA speakers will include Dan Kelly, a FAASTeam program manager; Tim Haley a maintenance inspector and FAASTeam member; and Tim Camlin, an aviation safety tech.

Beginning at 9:40 a.m., TC Freeman, an aviation safety specialist with NCDOT, and Elon Senior Lecturer Randy Piland will lead a conversation titled “The TRUST Program & the need for a Part 107 certification.”

A panel discussion will follow at 10:50 a.m. examining autonomous flight, drone delivery, how drones can assist in the public safety sector and what legal concerns pilots should know. Panelists will include Paul Rossi, COO and chief pilot of 910 Drones; Yancy King, director with Alamance County Emergency Management; Josh Warshofsky, a visual storyteller with Vertograph; Tom Walls, a UAS technical trainer and chief pilot with NCDOT; and Bruce Brandon, an aviation attorney and retired airline captain with Aviation Barristers.

Following a break for lunch, the event will conclude with a flight demonstration led by Part 107 pilots at 1:15 p.m.

For more information about Elon Drone Day, visit, or contact Senior Lecturer Randy Piland at (336) 278-5232 or