A sign of the times. Stockton University is now teaching a course about unmanned flying systems — what most of us call drones.

Air traffic expert Adam Greco, of the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, teaches the course, which is offered to non-students starting on Feb. 8 for $249.

"You have commercial operators who are flying for precision agriculture, pipeline monitoring, movie production, firefighting," he said.

Other uses for drones include real estate photography, humpback whale population monitoring and arctic research.

"And the biggest thing that is going to happen in the next three years is package delivery, or what is commonly called last mile delivery."

But not everyone has a serious reason for flying drones.

"Some people just want to fly hobby/recreational and they need to know what the rules are."

The course on drones that he teaches at Stockton covers a wide variety of topics and issues.

"For two or three classes, we go over the national air space system. I talk about airports, I talk about aircraft, I talk about procedures, I talk about air traffic, I talk about the enroute system, the terminal system and all aspects of the national air space system. Then we go into the unmanned aviation systems and especially how they are going to integrate into the national air space system, and how they are doing it presently."

Greco calls drones the "disruptive technology of the 21st century, very similar to what the automobile was back at the turn of the 20th century. It is changing everything."

He cites one example: cell-phone tower inspection.

"From the year 2005 to the year 2015, there were over 90 fatalities associated with cell phone tower inspections because it was a very dangerous job. In the last year, the job has basically been done by drones."

Last year, just one fatality was tied to these inspections.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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