Pursuing a Passion in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned Aircraft Systems major Taylor Mantick begin his academic journey as a mechanical engineer before discovering his passion for UAS.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems student Taylor Mantick (’21) utilizes drone photography at the Prescott Campus baseball field.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems student Taylor Mantick (’21) utilizes drone photography at the Prescott Campus baseball field. (Photo: Taylor Mantick)

As an Unmanned Aircraft Systems major, building things that fly comes naturally to Taylor Mantick (’21).

Why choose Embry-Riddle for a UAS degree?

Mantick began his college journey as a mechanical engineering major, but soon realized that his true passion was unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). After researching different programs, he came across Embry-Riddle’s UAS degree and decided to enroll to pursue his goal of working in the field.

“I was so excited and curious about all the information that I was missing out on and the aspects of the industry that I either didn’t understand or hadn’t even considered,” he said.

With a minor in applied meteorology to complement his major, his favorite class at Embry-Riddle was Thunderstorms (WX363).

“Learning how convection and our atmosphere works have been two of the neatest concepts I’ve been presented with at ERAU so far,” he said. “Despite their massive scale and dynamics, the atmosphere and thunderstorms are actually dictated and influenced by fine scale chemical, physical and thermodynamic processes.”

How does Embry-Riddle help you gain hands-on experience?

When he’s not in class, Mantick works as a lab assistant in the UAS Advanced Applications Facility on the Prescott Campus.

“I help by assisting with classes and acting as an R/C flight instructor for students learning how to fly multirotor, fixed wing and fixed wing VTOL aircraft,” he said.

As an employee of the UAS Facility, he also got the opportunity to participate in the Study America - UAS Operations in Southwest USA program over the summer.

“Having minored in Applied Meteorology and majored in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the opportunity to combine my two passions was a dream come true,” said Mantick. “I’ve had Dr. Curtis James, Dr. Ronny Schroeder and Dr. Mike Kaplan as professors before, so the opportunity to help support them in their research out in the field was one that I couldn’t pass up.”

Throughout the program, Mantick visited sites in Cherry, Cottonwood and Dewey, Arizona, as well as the Prescott Campus.

He arrived early each day to help prepare the meteorological instruments, gather the necessary supplies and load them onto the team’s vehicle to head to the research site.

“I helped collect the meteorological data that was utilized in the project via weather balloon launches and surface weather system observations,” he said.

What can you do with a UAS degree?

After graduating, Mantick plans to put all of his UAS knowledge and experience to use – with the goal of using the UAS technology-related patents that he’s currently working on to start his own business.

He encourages fellow Eagles to get involved in their desired industry and make connections as early as possible to prepare for their future career.

“My first semester on campus, I became a student employee of the UAS Lab and the people I’ve been able to meet and work with have been extremely beneficial in my education and career preparation,” he said. “Get involved with your professors as soon as you can and develop those symbiotic relationships.”

Get involved in shaping your future. Apply at Embry-Riddle today.