The K-State Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus has received a donation of more than 65 drone aircraft to be used by students in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program. The collection comes from a Dodge City family.

Students at the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus now have access to more tools to help their education.

Sandra Herder of Dodge City donated more than 65 unmanned aircraft, materials and tools for students in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program. The collection comes from Herder’s late husband, Paul, who was a retired U.S. Air Force veteran.

Herder said some of what was donated was built and flown by Paul since his childhood. She said she wanted to honor him and have his collection of remote-controlled aircraft be donated “to a place where it could be a benefit.”

KSU Salina CEO and Dean Alysia Starkey said in a statement that the gift is an example of the campus’s dedication to its Global Aeronautics Initiative, which is an effort to establish the Salina campus as a national leader for advanced aviation and aeronautical training.

“The campus is honored to accept a gift like this to help provide students an in-depth experience that prepares them to be leaders in the unmanned aircraft industry,” Starkey said.

The Herder family’s donation includes many vehicles that students can use to learn how some aircraft was constructed over 50 years ago.

“The gift even includes a vintage aircraft from the 1950s era, an electric ducted jet,” said UAS department head Kurt Carraway.

Carraway said the Herder family’s donation will be a great benefit to the Applied Aviation Research Center, the UAS Flight Operations degree program and the student-run UAS Club on the K-State Salina campus.

K-State Salina’s UAS program includes two bachelor’s degree options: design and integration, and flight and operations. The department also offers a stand-alone minor in UAS.