Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Jeremy M. Slagley, PhD


Bioaerosol sampling using small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) is a rapidly developing field that may result in a paradigm shift in emergency response and industrial hygiene sampling conventions. These technologies offer decreased sample acquisition times, larger sampling area coverage, and reduced health and safety risks to traditional human sampling teams. This potential requires a comprehensive investigation of sUAS capabilities and limitations. This study is a continuation of the characterization of an AFIT-developed sUAS-mounted aerosol sampler, proven capable of collecting viable vegetative and spore-forming bacteria through previous AFIT research. Within this study, viral biological sampling efficiency (BSE) of the sUAS-mounted aerosol sampler affixed with SKC 37 mm gelatin filter media is compared to a reference SKC Biosampler® , using Male Specific Coliphage 2 (MS2) as a model viral organism. Experimental trials were conducted within a 5.35 cubic meter, controlled aerosol test chamber using a 6-jet Collison nebulizer to loft viral aerosols. Plaque assay analysis was used to enumerate sampled MS2. Results of this study determined the mean relative BSE of the sUAS-mounted aerosol sampler to the Biosampler® in the collection of viable MS2 bacteriophage per liter of air sampled to be 4.98 (95% CI 3.9, 6.1), under these experimental conditions.

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release. Case number on file.