By Sea

Megafauna surveys

We are chartered by Community Services Consortium and our mission is to create opportunities for youth left behind. We offer relevant ocean science and conservation field-based opportunities for low-income and disaster-impacted (wildfire and COVID-19) high school students in the communities of Polk, Benton, and Lincoln Counties.  Many of our work-study and high school students and their families have been devastated by COVID-19, underemployment, and the wildfires. 

To meet this gap we have developed a curriculum designed specifically to overcome opportunity gaps and to ensure summer enrichment, and in some cases credit recovery. Unlike other “sea camps” there is no fee. Nor is there a grade-point requirement. Our in-house CSC and CTHS personnel will conduct intensive outreach to their existing youth to fill the classes with young people who school counselors and teachers believe have been left behind in education and career opportunities during the last 15 months.

We are constantly scheduling marine technician camps for low-income youth.  Each is limited to 8 students to allow a rich opportunity for each youth. Each youth has a mentor, their own technology, transportation, food/drink, and PPE for outdoor camps; during covid-19 the class size is limited. Students will explore, discover, and research our local marine habitats led by local marine scientists under the direction of Dr. Chuck Getter, an experienced oceanographer instructor, and a licensed CTE instructor. Amy Getter, RN (and licensed CTE instructor) will ensure camp logistics including compliance with OHA safety guidelines and also coordinate all camp activities. Students work side-by-side (while staying socially distanced) with our collaborators’ expert ecologists and scientists working on important coastal projects while gaining 21st-century job skills.

Coastal Assessments

His teaching approach is to introduce his students to aviation as a vehicle for learning marine science, and to prominent coastal researchers who become their mentors, and involving his students while conducting ongoing coastal research together.


Teacher and CTE Project Facilitator, Lincoln County School District

Lincoln City Career Tech High School- Coastal Drone Academy

Grade levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Content areas: Career & Technical, Science, STEM


He is a licensed pilot, teacher, and marine scientist-researcher. He co-developed a coastal sensitivity mapping method used by agencies including the United Nations, NOAA, and in many countries today. Dr. Getter has taught at universities, colleges, and high schools while conducting coastal research publishing 3 books, 30 articles based on his flights in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Massachusetts.


Coastal Drone Academy is an aviation educational organization that utilizes student drone (sUAS) pilots who are training and working to attain nationally certifications and licenses to successfully carry out community service projects and who complete projects for tribal, government, and NGO (non-governmental organizations) agencies (collaborators) in several economic sectors typical for the Oregon coast. We are one of the CTE programs in Lincoln City Career Technical High School which is a small public charter school. Our school has articulated with the aviation program at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) since 2015. Together with COCC and Oregon State University (Professional and Career Education), we have helped other high schools and community college teachers use drones in their classrooms. Our program’s purpose is to take a student with little or no experience in aviation through the process of gaining knowledge and proficiencies thus allowing them to safely and legally enter US airspace with an sUAS to conduct useful work for, and under the direction of, our network of collaborating marine scientists, foresters, mariculturists, and natural resource managers. Our sponsors provide a classroom/workshop space, a local air-park and an armory for indoor training, and the use of an FBO (fixed-base operator) at a local airport for training in airport operations. The drone fleet we use for services and course offering was purchased and is maintained under Perkins CTE grants; MWEC (Mid-Willamette Educational Consortium) has sponsored software and technology that allows curriculum development focussed on agriculture and natural resource management; we have numerous grants sponsoring our flight simulators including FTP and Oculus technology. Students carrying out local project-service-based approaches have gained real-world skills. We have developed a dramatically successful dropout prevention strategy that keeps students on track to graduate, and we have significantly increased their college-level opportunities that offer a head start on higher education. Students run a career and technical service organization called Starfleet Academy where “dronies” gather on Fridays to view aviation movies and plan drone racing events. Over the last decade, some of my students have begun careers in aviation; I have taught or mentored pilots who now work with tribal, university, aircraft manufacturing, and armed forces organizations. Many of them stay involved with the Academy as collaborators giving feedback from their jobs in ways to improve and update our program. Several of them have mentored our pilots in moving forward in aviation careers.

Virtual Reality


Join our second-year dronies as they turn to simulators, flight gaming, and FPV (first-person view) technology to refine their flying skills further. It is truly amazing what 30 hours of simulator time will do for your flying skills.

AV 106 Virtual Reality (Year 2): Lecture: The lectures that lay out the training exercises are an online “ground school” for VR students. Our VR lectures familiarize the students with a suite of VR hardware and software. Labs: The core of the exerience is a gaming computer loaded with a variety of flight exercises. Students attend workshops with an enterprise-grade sUAS flight simulator where they learn to operate the equipment we use in our Missions courses. Students are introduced to MS Flight Simulator 2020 requiring a realistic transcontinental cross-country flight to complete the course. The goal for each student is to develop the skills they need to be successful remote pilots using online training modules.

Fall Term – 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education (or Electives); Lab Packs and Workshop Simulators Limit Class Size



Second-year dronies take Drone Enterprise which is designed to be a realistic drone business course.

AV 104 Drone Enterprise (Year 2): Lecture: Students learn how to capitalize on potential drone business opportunities; answer questions that should be asked prior to starting a drone business; create a successful business plan; learn the legalese involved in creating a business; learn how to successfully market a business; create important financial documents; learn how to run the day-to-day operation of a business, and discover how to find customers and keep them.

Fall Term – 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education (or Business or Electives); Lab Packs and Workshop Technology Limit Class Size



Our senior dronies are invited to become agricultural aviators and apply their skills to working with local\food producers (farmers), forestry products (foresters), wetlands (watershed managers), and oyster growers (mariculturists).

AV 105 Digital Agriculture (Year 2): Lecture: This course introduces students to using drones for the management of agricultural resources on the central Oregon coast.  Digital agriculture is the use of new and advanced technologies, integrated into one system, to enable coastal farmers, mariculturists, foresters, and watersheds managers and other stakeholders within the agriculture and natural resource value chain to improve food and natural resource production.  We use drones to assess cranberry bogs, berry farms, cattle ranches, dairy farms, replanted forests, and restored wetlands.  Each student spends a year working with a producer to develop a plan, collect data, and integrate it into the management of their operations. Lab: Dr. Getter and his students operate fixed wing and rotary agro drones with multispectral cameras and gather large amounts of accurate photometric data. Resulting maps are created using sophisticated crop analysis software. 

Fall/Spring/Summer Terms – 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education (or Science or Electives); Lab Packs and Workshop Technology Limit Class Size


Coastal Drone Academy is a Science, Technical, Engineering, and Math (STEM) extension program within Career Technical Charter High School in Lincoln City. Community Services Consortium (CSC) is the parent organization of Career Tech High School. Coastal Drone Academy students map coastal towns, forests, wetlands, bays, and beaches. This year we will also be building drones such as … Continue reading AV 101 Introduction to Drones


Get a trainer drone, log hours of flight time, and learn to fly it.

AV 101 Drone Introduction (Year 1-Fall & Spring) Lecture: PREREQUISITE TO ALL DRONE COURSES. This course introduces students to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and surveys current UAS platforms, sensors, terminology, challenges to integrating UAS to the national airspace system, and operations under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations for small unmanned aircraft (Part 107).  Content includes the first half of the FAA Part 107 ground school instruction.  Students use this knowledge to begin studying for their FAA Remote Pilot (Part 107) Knowledge Test.  Lab: Students are issued a trainer (sUAS). They learn to fly them, log time, and practice using lesson plans in the airspace, weather, performance, loading, emergency procedures, and crew resource management for the lab portion. 

Fall & Spring Term – 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education; Lab Packs and Workshop Simulators Limit Class Size

Coastal resource management using drones

This is the “capstone” of our course offerings.


Our training and certification program uses a curriculum accepted by the FAA, endorsed by major aviation insurance providers, and evaluated and recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education. Our program is built on three years of ground and flight school using Unmanned Safety Institute curriculum with its aviation emphasis.

Then through experiential, hands-on learning, and collaboration with local marine scientists, our pilots fly missions where they develop knowledge of the several key aspects of coastal resource management, including using drones to for:

  • Monitoring protected and endangered marine species and their habitats
  • Supporting assessments of fisheries stocks and habitat assessments
  • Monitoring effects of climate change, coastal erosion and sea level rise
  • Monitoring sea grass and marsh health

This class follows a research-based education module that involves students working on longer-term projects directly with industry partners, building on their knowledge of drones and how they apply directly to their coastal habitat missions. Through research-based learning students can develop the intellectual skills of critical analysis and also valuable transferable skills such as group work, time- and resource-management and data handling.

At this point our pilots have an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate (drone license), are working on a USI Pro rating on at least one flight platform, and have a strong logbook reflecting PIC (pilot in command) time on our most advanced sUAS technologies. Many of our students have now mastered our most advanced equipment and software, and realize a commercial drone pilot is required to manage data and software, that the client often needs their data managed (you are never just a pilot).

Advanced coastal drone missions

This course introduces students to Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations using rotary drones including the DJI Matrice 600 quadcopter and the Sensefly eBeeSQ fixed wing drones.mi-600Our third year pilots have a log book beginning to bulge with commercial flight time. This year they are assigned the task of carrying out two kinds of missions. The first kind of mission is aerial photography for local city and watershed managers.  Students learn to program and use these flight platforms in this operations course.

The second type of mission is the study of fisheries and wildlife distribution where we conduct low altitude, precision flying, aerial photography, and videography revolving around the programming of an autopilot program called Litchi. We focus on whales and salmon.

This course introduces students to advanced unmanned aerial systems (UAS) mission planning and operation, as they progress to higher level simulation and mission planning/ execution. Lab/Field: Student teams launch, recover and maintain advanced Unmanned Aerial Systems. Current projects are underway and planned in wetlands restoration monitoring, seagrass bed mapping, whale and salmon observation.




In their second year, dronies graduate to ops and missions using their knowledge and their skills with drones and the service that they provide.

AV 102 Drone Ops Flight Imagery and Flight Mastery (Year 2-Fall) Lecture: This course introduces students to UAS operations using Phantom 3 and 4 platforms, sensors, and terminology.  Students continue to explore the integration and application of UAS resources in United States airspace.  The course focuses on building and executing simulated operations in a non- combative environment.  Content includes the second half of Part 107 ground school instruction.  Lab: Student teams are issued commercial-grade drones for lab participation.  These are used to create orthophoto, topographic, vegetation, and 3D aerial maps while following lesson plans in radio communications, performance, physiological factors, decision making, airport operations, maintenance, and pre-flight procedures. 

Fall Term – 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education (or Scienceor Electives); Lab Packs and Workshop Technology Limit Class Size

AV 103 Drone Missions-Mariculture (Year 2-Spring & Summer) Lecture: The summer begins with a week-long study and intensive session to prepare students to pass their FAA sUAS Knowledge exam.  The goal is to have at least ten students sit for the FAA Remote Pilot test.  We have a 90% pass rate for our students.  Summer lectures include introducing students to advanced unmanned aerial systems (UAS) mission planning and operations, as they progress to higher-level simulation and mission planning/ execution.  Lab: Student teams launch, recover, and maintain advanced Unmanned Aerial Systems for the lab portion.   The summer mission’s primary emphasis is the aerial assessment of a significant oyster culture operation in an Oregon estuary. 

Spring & Summer Terms each 0.5 Credit hours in Career & Technical Education (or Science or Electives)
Lab Packs and Workshop Simulators Limit Class Size