Our curriculum is a blend of aviation and coastal resources management is being developed based on Snedaker and Getter’s “Coastal Resources Management Guidelines” that was written for the National Park Service. These courses revolve around using Remotely Piloted Aircraft to study the marine environment, the specific courses are
- AV 101: Introduction to Drones
- AV 102: Drone Operations (see details)
- AV 103: Drone Missions (see details)
- NR 201: Marine Habitat Management Using Drones to Monitor Climate Change
- NR 202: Ocean Monitoring Using Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV’s)
- NR 203: Marine Studies Using Drones for Sampling
These courses are part of the State of Oregon’s Career and Technical Education program, and they are designed to work through experiential, hands-on learning, and collaboration with local marine scientists. My pilots fly missions where they develop knowledge of several key aspects of coastal resource management.
Here is an example of technical education using research projects as we learn salt marsh ecology, surveying, boating, fixed wing drone flying, and seagrass ecology (below) in the Spring of 2018 with our entire Operations and Missions classes having a role (pictured is the bay and the boat where we flew the ODFW Netarts Bay UAS 2018 Mission) to make maps of coastal vegetation there:
ODFW bay boat
In our collaborator’s words, “This is a great opportunity for Career Tech students to pilot these types of UAS that should make them more competitive in the job market when they graduate. For ODFW, this provides a great opportunity for us to work with you and your students to explore the application and utility of fixed wing UAS relative to the quad-copters we currently use and provide your students with a real world application ofUAS technology for management of natural resources.” …Tony D. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Throughout Spring 2018, ten of our student pilots, four of our instructors, and six technicians from our collaborators together completed the Netarts Bay Seagrass Mapping Mission (click Netarts Bay Mission pdf for more details).
Academy students preflighting
Academy instructors and students
Academy and ODFW crew on site
eBee RTK inaugural flight with Tony, Dave, Jason and me
ODFW bay boats
It culminated in three days of flying together, producing over 25,000 images, and beginning a summer of analysis by “Einstein” (our supercomputer).
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. Click Salt marsh Poster to see a salt marsh restoration project we completed recently.
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 Marine Studies RPA Missions is to complete the USI Safety Course and passing the FAA 107 test and gain college credits.
In the words of our collaborator, “The Port can provide a classroom, outdoor work space, and access…to map intertidal eelgrass in Yaquina Bay; this will assist the Port in monitoring on-going mitigation projects…we will provide access to Port professionals, areas for data collection, and space to complete a Coastal Development unit for your students” Aaron B. Port of NewportPowered by:
Before being admitted to Operations, students must complete Introduction which requires ground school and over a dozen hours of flight training using a trainer drone assigned to each student. Below is our indoor flight facility at the Oregon National Guard armory and the Hubsan X4.
In addition, each pilot is required to complete a Red Cross/CPR course. Students are recommended to have 20/40 corrected vision, be physically fit, in academic good-standing, and express a desire to advance in the aviation field of endeavor (expressing advancing levels of work ethic and maturity) to advance to operations. Field trips are taken to an airport, a flight museum, and a flight service center. Operations students are required to join our nationally sanctioned (Academy of Model Aeronautics) flight club, the “Coastal Drones” to promote drone flying activities and activities within the school and community.
Students in Operations first learn to fly a quadcopter used to create photo mosaics, 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.
In the words on our collaborators, “Chuck is doing AMAZING things in Oregon with his students. They are applying DJI systems for marine science applications. Some of his students have already earned their RPC and are now interested in a career in aviation. Others are beginning to discover the power of drone technology and are looking to even start their own businesses! And best of all, attendance rates have gone up since Chuck initiated his program! The story of the Coastal Drone Academy is truly wonderful and is having an immense positive impact on both the students and the community.” …a nationally accredited curriculum developer.