Our Pilots – High School to Flight School

I have eighteen pilots currently in my classes. Here are one student’s words about using drones to census whales, “I was one of the students who are learning to fly drones at Career Tech High School in Lincoln City watched OSU research assistant Todd Chandler, OSU graduate student Dawn Barlow and the ship’s captain try to track a gray whale to photograph it with a camera-equipped drone overhead. It was part of research by Leigh Torres, a marine mammals specialist with Oregon Sea Grant, to see what kind of habitat the whales prefer. It was cool seeing them work as a team, said student Jason Miranda. Their communication is great, how they talk to each other, give each other directions to where the whale is. They have to be quick. They have a time window to get the photo and get out.” Quote from Mr. Jason Miranda, Academy and FAA licensed drone manipulating controls of a drone during overwater training.

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Mr. Jacob Helton (below), FAA 107 licensed pilot, owner-operator of his own Phantom 4 Pro, Coastal Drone Academy’s flight mechanic.


Mr. Jason Miranda (below) is an FAA licensed drone pilot, the president of our flight club, and a student teacher in our Introduction to Coastal Drones class.


pilotsCareer Tech Charter High School Pilot Class of 2016-2017 (above)

There are only 120,000 licensed drone pilots in the United States and FAA projects registering almost 3,000,000 drones by 2020. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) forecasts that there could be up to 150,000 new jobs in industries such as agriculture, oil/gas, electric utilities, infrastructure inspection, and many others. Many (if not most) of these jobs will be from within organizations, such as government agencies. While there are many estimates and forecasts, one thing is certain: drones are here to stay and they are bringing real-world job opportunities with them!

Career Tech High School is a public school in the Lincoln County School District. We are located in Lincoln City in the City Hall Building. We are a high school with 9-12 grade, have around 50 students, and 11 teaching staff members.

Coastal Drone Academy is a Science, Technical, Engineering, and Math (STEM) extension program within Career Tech Charter High School in Lincoln City, Oregon. Coastal Drone Academy’s full name is the Natural Resource Management and Marine Service Program as it was reviewed and approved by the State of Oregon Department of Education, as an Oregon Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It is in its third year, we have already trained over 40 student pilots and given them dozens of hours of commercial flight time. For each aspect we use a nationally recognized curriculum.

College Credit for Coastal Drone Academy Courses. Two of our courses count for college credit at Central Oregon Community College in Aviation starting in 2018.

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Safety is my first concern considering the marine environment in which we work. Students and staff are all Red Cross First Aid, Heartsaver and CPR certified.

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