Transformative Unmanned Aircraft Systems Computing


This seven course professional certificate program designed for both unmanned aircraft systems professionals and those interested in entering this transformative computational technological field. You will fly drones in every class. Learn more from director Donna Dulo.

Innovative and Trending

The era of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace is upon us. With the Federal Aviation Administration slated to integrate unmanned aircraft into the country’s airspace as early as 2015, the demand for safe, reliable, and resilient unmanned aircraft is growing exponentially. Estimates project that sales of civilian unmanned aircraft will reach over $20 billion within the next 5 years. As such, the demand for unmanned aircraft researchers, developers, pilots, and operators will become exponential within the next few years.

These professionals will be tasked with developing and implementing safe, reliable unmanned aircraft with advanced functionality that are ready to be fielded by operators all across the country including public service organizations such as police and fire departments, the media, academic institutions, agricultural companies as well as myriad commercial entities. The keys to highly functioning, safe and reliable unmanned aircraft are robust, well architected software and highly reliable computer systems.

Sofia University is proud to lead the industry with this groundbreaking forward looking professional certificate program. Designed for both professionals and those wishing to enter this lucrative field, the certificate program covers the critical areas of unmanned systems computer science and technology that are central to safe and reliable unmanned aircraft systems operations. The certificate covers unmanned aircraft computer and software technologies, vital algorithms that support unmanned aircraft operations and system autonomy, as well as critical software architectures that support anti-collision and auto-land technologies that are central to safe unmanned aircraft operations.

Additionally, the certificate program covers unmanned aircraft aeronautical architecture and the legal regulations which govern the research, development, and application of critical technologies to unmanned aircraft to ensure that they all implemented technologies are compliant with FAA, FCC, and other federal and state regulations. The program is comprised of seven highly specialized and technologically transformative courses focusing on unmanned aircraft computational systems and other vital supporting technological and legal areas.

Interested in using drones as a defense system? At, Dr. Donna Dulo weighed in on the virtues of drone defense possibilities which could include human security escorts and presidential travel. Read her comment here.

Drone powerpoint

Click to download the Drone powerpoint to learn more about the benefits of the program.

For more information contact, Donna Dulo, Director of Advanced Computational Technologies, at


Certificate Course Descriptions

Transformative Unmanned Aircraft Systems Computing
Certificate Course Descriptions

Innovation and Transformation in UAS Computing Technologies

This course focuses on the foundations of invention and innovation as applied to the rapidly developing field of unmanned aircraft. A survey of current unmanned aircraft technology is presented along with the central computational structures of those aircraft. The use of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace and the coupling of proper technologies with their specific use is presented along with current case studies. New and innovative technologies, prototypes, and future unmanned aircraft technologies are also studied in depth. The application of transformative unmanned aircraft computational technologies as integrated in cutting edge airframes is a specific area of focus for this course. The course concludes with the development of a concept unmanned aircraft equipped with sound computer systems, software architectures, and algorithms.

Unmanned Aircraft Technology for Computer Professionals

This course introduces aeronautical foundations of unmanned aircraft structure and design. It focuses on the primary airframes of unmanned systems: fixed wing, rotorcraft, tilt rotor, and lighter than air along with various hybrid technologies. The course also introduces avionics, propulsion, and payload systems and their interactions and control through computer busses and architecture. A central focus of the course is the interaction of computer structures with the aircraft to promote safety while managing the foundational stability and control properties of the aircraft: lift, thrust, drag and weight. A survey of aeronautical principles is presented along with aerodynamics and aviation science. Technologies such as launch and recovery systems, GPS, communications, ground stations, data-link technologies, and wireless technologies are also presented. The course concludes with the development of a comprehensive proposal applying unmanned aircraft technology to solve a challenging technological problem in a selected industry.

Software Safety in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

This course presents the foundations of software safety, reliability, availability, resilience and failure obviation in the context of unmanned aircraft computer and software systems. It covers the basic safety models of software and systems and applies those models to unmanned aircraft control systems, algorithms, and functional software. The concepts of software errors, faults, and hazards are covered as well as methodologies to mitigate them such as hazard analysis, fault trees, failure obviation processes, and resilience techniques. Basic mathematical software formal methods are presented to demonstrate the power of mathematical modeling to safety critical systems such as unmanned aircraft. The course concludes with the development of a comprehensive software safety design and resilience plan for a selected operational unmanned aircraft.

Algorithms and Computational Processes in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

This course provides an in depth survey of the algorithms and computational processes in various unmanned aircraft models. The concept of data-link functions and attributes is covered extensively including the computational processes for data-link system processes, data rates and restrictions, data-link margins as well as data-link tradeoffs. Computational structures responsible for aircraft stability and control, propulsion, and payload management are also covered extensively. Autopilot systems and manual control systems are covered in conjunction with the concepts of longitudinal, lateral and dynamic stability to ensure that aircraft and ground station software support safe, reliable flight. The use of software to control sensors, controllers, and actuators as well as total airframe control is thoroughly discussed. The course concludes with the development of a comprehensive software algorithm design to be implemented in a current operational unmanned aircraft.

Computer Security & Information Assurance in UAS

This course covers vital information assurance and computer security principles as applied to unmanned aircraft. Information assurance principles such as availability, integrity, and confidentiality are applied to unmanned aircraft systems to ensure the integrity of data and information. The complex concepts of data privacy, data security, and the relationship of security to unmanned aircraft safety are integral to this course. Many facets of UAS security such as integrated circuit security, physical security, personnel security, systems security, and operations security are discussed and related directly to information assurance principles. The concepts of risks, threats, and vulnerabilities as applied to unmanned aircraft systems are covered as well as the mitigation them through various unmanned aircraft software and computer technologies in a defense in depth structure. The course also includes a survey of various laws and government initiatives to implement information assurance in the national airspace. The course concludes with the development of a NIST compliant comprehensive information assurance plan for the complete unmanned aircraft system: aircraft, ground station, personnel, and supporting communications infrastructure.

Autonomous Systems and Collision Avoidance Algorithms in UAS

This advanced course covers the critical safety algorithms for unmanned aircraft: collision avoidance algorithms and autonomous operations algorithms. Autonomous control reflects that the control of the aircraft is maintained through the aircraft hardware and software systems. In an unmanned aircraft this control is maintained by the onboard computer system which is fed information by onboard sensors, actuators, controllers, GPS and navigational signals, as well as complex software algorithms which all together maintain the operations, stability and control of the aircraft in all aspects of its flight. This course presents advanced computational concepts to ensure that all of these systems are working in tandem to ensure a safe, reliable autonomous or semi-autonomous flight to perform the mission of the unmanned aircraft through computer based throttle control, altitude control, attitude control, as well as control on one, two, or all three aerodynamic axes. The course also covers “sense and avoid” based collision algorithms to ensure that unmanned aircraft avoid aerial threats and also have the ability to auto-land should communication links be severed. The course concludes with a comprehensive algorithm design for a software based autonomous unmanned aircraft collision avoidance system with auto-land capabilities.

Legal Aspects of UAS Computing and Technology

This course covers the emerging area of unmanned aircraft law and regulation. It covers vital areas of the law including national airspace integration regulations, constitutional issues, safety laws, privacy laws, as well as issues of liability for unmanned aircraft software and systems developers. It also covers FAA and FCC rulemaking processes as applied to unmanned aircraft. A comprehensive survey of manned and unmanned legal cases is presented as well as their implications to unmanned aircraft developers and operators. Specific laws as related to research, development, and implementation of new unmanned aircraft models is discussed. Issues such as negligence, strict liability, product liability, the operation of an ultra-hazardous vehicle, and criminal culpability and civil liability will be discussed extensively. The course concludes with the development of an in depth legal case brief of a current unmanned aircraft court case.

Join Sofia's Professional Drone Program

Join Sofia's Professional Drone Program

The Professional Drone Program will teach professional unmanned aircraft skills to students including aeronautics and aviation design, precision piloting of unmanned aircraft of various sizes, the business of unmanned aviation, unmanned aircraft use and applications, unmanned aviation safety and security, as well as the various legal and ethical issues of integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.

The program includes all equipment and learning materials including safety equipment and several models of drones that the student can keep.

The Professional Drone Program is designed for high school students age 14 years and older.

Program Details

An 8 Month College Credit Program at Sofia University for High School Students that Will Teach:

  • Professional Aeronautics
  • Precision Unmanned Aircraft Flying
  • Unmanned Aircraft Law
  • Unmanned Aircraft Design
  • Unmanned Aircraft Applications
  • Aviation Safety
  • Aviation Security
  • Aviation Human Factors

Classes Held at Sofia University- Each Month for 8 Months on Saturdays starting January 2015 1 PM to 5 PM

Taught by Donna A. Dulo, Ph.D. (c), JD, a national authority on drone law and technology and each session will have at least 2 assistant instructors/safety observers.

Tuition: $2,000.00

College Credit: 3 Credit Hours

Scholarships are available, please contact the University for details!

For Class Content Information Contact: Dr. Donna Dulo at:

Class Schedule

Each class session will be divided into 2 parts: The first 2 hours will be academic lectures and the second 2 hours will be aircraft orientation and flight training.

Session 1

Topics: Introduction to unmanned aircraft; Safety; Introduction to aerodynamics. Flight Training: The Aerosphere.

Session 2

Topics: Aerodynamics of fixed wing and rotorcraft; Aviation Human Factors; unmanned aircraft design. Flight Training: The Aerosphere.

Session 3

Topics: Quadrotor aerodynamics, advanced safety; radio communications and control; quad rotorcraft design. Flight Training: The Hubsan x4

Session 4

Topics: Advanced aerodynamics and aircraft design; applications of unmanned aircraft . Flight Training: Precision quad rotor flying with the Hubsan x4

Session 5

Topics: Aeronautical Safety in the national airspace; Advanced human factors; unmanned aircraft law. Flight Training: Formation flying of the Hubsan x4

Session 6

Topics: Unmanned aviation law; Advanced design concepts; Drone communications and communication law. Flight Training: The UDI Quad Drone

Session 7

Topics: Advanced aerodynamics and precision rotorcraft operations; Unmanned aircraft security and law. Flight Training: Precision flying the UDI

Session 8

All session flight training; Student precision drone flying competition.