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The City of Thomasville’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) director, Duane Treadon, has recently earned certification as a remote pilot. Certification as a remote pilot was established by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) in 2016 and is required for anyone operating a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for commercial purposes.

“This requirement became effective in August of 2016 and was created for anyone who flies a UAS, such as a drone, for business or commercial purposes,” said Treadon. “In order to operate a UAS, you must be certified through a testing and background check process that is administered by the FAA.” Treadon said that the purpose of the certification is to ensure that those flying these types of aircraft are knowledgeable of the requirements. “It is important to make sure that those operating drones and other UAS devices understand how to safely abide by the rules of the sky.”

Receiving the FAA’s certification is exciting for the City of Thomasville and the GIS department for several reasons, Treadon said. “With this certification, the GIS program can use the equipment and technology to gather small aerial imagery for use in not only our GIS department, but also for other departments as well. Our Planning and Zoning, Engineering and Marketing departments will all benefit from the imagery that we can obtain from using small unmanned aircraft.”

Treadon completed the process in December at F.L. Aviation Center located at the Tallahassee International Airport, which is an approved FAA testing center. His certification is valid for two years, at which time Treadon would need to retest to maintain his certification.