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Ridgeland PTK addresses use of drones in today’s society

Ridgeland PTK addresses use of drones in today's society

Ridgeland Campus' Phi Theta Kappa Chapter has taken on the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems as their Honors in Action project for this year and recently published an article in the American Civil Liberties Union on drone awareness.

"The Phi Theta Kappa officers on the Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus have done a thorough job of researching Unmanned Aircraft Systems this semester, and they have discovered that the widespread use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems could potentially impact aviation in such a way that humans change the way they travel, conduct business, and complete day-to-day activities," Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Erin Renfroe said. "Since this topic has the potential to impact humanity so greatly, it is important to stay informed as UAS regulations are created and implemented.  The Phi Theta Kappa officers hope that the publication of this white paper will help others to become more educated about this topic."

The five officers, Mallory Corley from Pelahatchie, Jake Hinkle from Madison, Jessie May from Vicksburg, Nathaly Espinoza from Ridgeland, and Elise Fullwood from Lowville, NY, conducted research on the future of drones, specifically examining the potential benefits and/or dangers their growing use could cause. 

The Phi Theta Kappa officers met with former Air Force Commander Mo Rolfs, who is currently the Chief Operations Officer for KMR Holdings, LLC, an aviation management and business development company involved with the commercial development of UAS.  Through this meeting, the Phi Theta Kappa officers learned that there will likely be widespread use of drones for commercial purposes in the near future.  It is predicted that drones could be used for everything from search and rescue missions to pizza delivery.  In fact, it is probable that within the next ten years, we could see as many drones in the sky as we currently see airplanes. 

With the discovery that drone use is projected to increase so quickly, the officer team spoke to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to inquire about how drones will be managed in such a way to ensure the safety of the public.  Representatives from the FAA revealed that currently, "unmanned aircraft are flying in the national airspace system under very controlled conditions," but that "once the regulatory structure is developed and industry standards have been established, [they expect] a commercial UAS market to mature rapidly."  The FAA is working to develop this regulatory structure by the summer of 2016.

The Phi Theta Kappa officers' next step was to contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi to determine the extent to which drones could potentially invade the public's right to privacy.  Through the correspondence with the ACLU, a white paper was written and published on the ACLU's website.  The white paper highlights Holmes's Phi Theta Kappa officers' questions and provides the answers.  This document is available to the public and is intended to address concerns that citizens may have regarding their right to privacy as it relates to widespread drone use.

To read the white paper, go to

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