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Kevin Blackwood, supervisor of Field Research at the Oka’ Institute and adjunct professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at East Central University, recently earned certification as a remote pilot for Research Operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.

“UAVs are useful tools when conducting aerial surveys,” said Blackwood. “Although they're really nothing more than a flying platform, it’s the payload and the operating skills of the pilot that make this useful for research purposes."

Blackwood will use The Oka’ Institute’s UAVs to monitor the flow of water as it moves across the surface of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. Details about inflows (the point at which water flows into the earth) and outflows (the place where water flows out of the earth), play an important role in defining the basic characteristics of the aquifer, and this technology will help the Oka’ Institute collect this vital information, according to Blackwood.


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