a team of seven instructors and 18 student aviators working in small teams to complete 150 hours of ground school and 50 hours of flight school while earning FAA licenses and drone pro certificates (USI) using 13 unmanned aircraft to carry out missions where we are mapping hundreds of acres of seagrass, monitoring wetlands mitigation sites, riparian zone characterization, mapping a coastal city, and helping census migrating gray whales and chinook salmon.
“The Coastal Drone Academy is a model example of how high schools across America can implement successful career and technical education programs with successful student outcomes, and USI is honored to be a part of their story.” Aaron Greenwald, President of the Unmanned Safety Institute (USI).
Flight training (at sea) continues for senior pilots, shown above is the OSU R/V Pacific Storm on station five miles off Newport, deploying a drone for flight training for Coastal Drone Academy pilots in April 2018.
My training and certification program uses a curriculum accepted by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), endorsed by major aviation insurance providers, and evaluated and recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education. The program is built on a comprehensive ground and flight school using Unmanned Safety Institute curriculum with its aviation emphasis.
My courses work through experiential, hands-on learning, and collaboration with local marine scientists, my pilots fly missions where they develop knowledge of the several key aspects of coastal resource management, including using drones to for:
- Coastal resource management & land (including forest) classification
- Wetland restoration monitoring
- Monitoring seagrass beds and other estuarine resources
- Census of whales and salmon
I use a research-based education that involves students working on longer-term projects directly with industry and government collaborators, 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.
Actual work done by our teams includes a wetlands delineation map and the video of the marsh appears below.
At this point my top 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 my students have now mastered our most advanced equipment and software, and are helping to scope out advances in our technology for future team missions .