Coastal Drone Missions (AV 103)

Throughout Spring 2018 ten of our student pilots, four of our instructors, and six technicians from our collaborators together carry out our Netarts Bay Seagrass Mapping Mission. It culminated in three days of flying together, producing over 25,000 images, and beginning a summer of analysis by “Einstein” (our supercomputer).

Tony, Dave, Jason and Chuck with eBee + RTK on maiden flight
eBee RTK inaugural flight with Tony, Dave, Jason and me

This course helps student pilots fill their log book with commercial flight time doing significant projects for our collaborators, including megafaunal (salmon and whale) surveying, and coastal (beach, shore, bay, marsh, forest, and city) mapping.

With continuous missions (we are booked out several months) student mastery results in application for Drone PRO™ which may increase with hours and years flown:


The emphasis of Advance Missions is to complete the USI Safety Course, complete a USI Drone Pro rating on the student’s fleet of Phantom drones, and pass the FAA 107 test. Our goal is to fly fifty (50) hours during the year, especially during the summer.

summer camp


Our mission pilots do useful work while training, and before flying they are visual observers, data managers, and/or battery technicians.

All classroom, field training and deployment are carried out while working for our dozen or so collaborators, including:


Missions has another 100 hours of ground school focussing on the following modules:

  • Ground school (Part 107 and USI Safety)
    • Regulations
    • Operations in the national airspace
    • Human factors
    • Crew resource management
    • Aeronautical decision making
    • Safety policy
    • Risk management
    • Safety assurance
    • Safety promotion

Published by

Dr. Chuck Getter

Teaching marine biology with drones

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