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Taylor Crutchfield: sUAS President and Drones Operator

Name: Taylor Crutchfield                  

Year: Senior

Major: International Affairs

Age: 20

Hometown: Sebring, Florida  

Her Campus (HC): When did you first take an interest in operating drones?

Taylor Crutchfield (TC): I first became interested in drones or sUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) when I changed my major to international affairs. I saw that Florida State had a sUAS program. This influenced me to start a club in the summer of 2015. The club was recognized by mid Fall 2015.  

HC: Tell us about sUAS.

TC: sUAS is the acronym for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which are often referred to as drones. sUAS can be used for many different applications. For instance, I have mapped thousands of acres at a tree farm here in Tallahassee to gather information on the effectiveness of controlled burns. I have also worked with the Florida Emergency Operations Center to implement drones into search and rescue missions and to assess damage from disasters. The sUAS program here at FSU is currently working with fire departments around the state to assist in fighting wildfires and maintaining visuals on controlled burns. sUAS have many applications in videography, racing, geo-mapping and surveillance just to name a few.   

Courtesy: Taylor Crutchfield

HC: What are the benefits to being involved with this organization at Florida State?

TC: I am President of the sUAS club here at Florida State University. The club was built by members and will continue to be run by members with the guidance of professors in the drones program. The club gives people the opportunity to learn about drones and how to fly them legally without taking the classes. I am currently looking to broaden the clubs spectrum from just emergency management and geography to engineering and videography. Currently, the club is looking for membership in these areas as well as students interested in any aspect of drones.  

HC: How can interested students become involved with sUAS?

TC: The sUAS club at FSU has a facebook page that I try to keep updated on a regular basis. Interested students can also email suasatfsu@gmail.com with any questions. If anyone is interested in the certificate program they can visit their website for more information.

HC: What is something about small-unmanned aircraft systems that most people don’t know?

TC: The FSU Police Department requires that anyone wanting to fly a drone on campus request for permission. The club and classes offered by the sUAS program have to travel to designated areas to fly. The FAA (Federal Aviation Association) regulates drones and where they can and cannot fly. Also, you can’t fly within five miles of an airport, and you have to keep the aircraft within line of sight – no night flight!

HC: How are you planning to incorporate these interests into your career goals?

TC: I am currently looking into an MBA program here at Florida State as well as a Masters in Aerospace with a concentration in UAS at Embry Riddle. Finding a career in the drones industry is very competitive and difficult for those of us without engineering degrees. My goal is to work within a drones company doing international sales, distribution, and marketing!

Shelby Curran is a senior at Florida State University majoring in English with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media and minoring in Communications.
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