Flight Instructors, Facilities

I am Dr. Chuck Getter founder and director of the Coastal Drone Academy.


Whale survey flight

I have been a licensed pilot for over thirty years, have mapped thousands of miles of shoreline, and have hundreds of hours flying manned and unmanned aircraft. My teaching assistants at Coastal Drone Academy are Michelle R. and Jason M. both licensed RPA (drone) pilots, are experts in flying drones. Each has hundreds of hours instructing in aviation. Also helping me carry out this program is my principal Sean Larsen. We have great sponsors, including:

I have a team of instructors from other organizations each helping my students enter US airspace to conduct marine studies, including the following:

Tony in fielddr tony 1







Tony D. (above, below), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, in field, then giving a lecture on estuarine ecology, prior to our Netarts Bay seagrass census mission. In Spring 2018 these Coastal Drone Academy pilots flew their drones in support of Dr. D.’s projects. Here is a collage from the field lab and teaching exercises taught by Dr. D.

Ian K. (below) of CTSI (Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians) is an award-winning urban forester, restoration ecologist, and fisheries biologist.

Siletz wetlands map
ian fixed
Fixed wing class

He is currently the Aquatics Program Biologist and serves as the wetlands restoration scientist as well. Our students have worked with Ian for several years, learning forestry from him in his previous role as an urban and restoration forester. Ian is developing field methodologies with our pilots to census large areas of land using drone technology.

Dave launches fixed wing RPA “Shelly”

Dave M. is our fixed wing instructor (right). Here he is doing initial training for our crew at Netarts Bay, Oregon.

We are actively training with Oregon State University/Sea Grant personal photographing whales as part of a team aboard the R/V Pacific Storm (below). Our instructors for ship-based launches are Todd C. (above as offshore drone instructor and whale spotter above training three of our Academy pilots) and Dawn B. (grad student below brief students before whale cruise). They both work for Dr. Leigh Torres, a marine mammal and megafauna expert from the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center. These are photos of a recent training exercise with them aboard the R/V Pacific Storm.


Training facilities  We have a temporary classroom at a local airport (shown below right). We have an active curriculum based on current flight operations located at this airport. Note: We do not fly sUAS at the airport, since FAA doesn’t allow that.

Our arena flight training center is a nearby National Guard armory (shown above left), where we also have use of a large open indoor space for precision flying with our trainer drones.

In our collaborator’s words, “We greatly look forward to this partnership moving forward in a collaborative environment that fosters learning, STEM/STEAM educational opportunities for the youth in our area, and while providing highly advanced technological resources to help better manage our projects and the lands the Tribe and everyone in our area benefit from. ” ….Ian K. of Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians.Unknown

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