My overall goal is to pass knowledge to our new generation. My family is an aviation family (father, three siblings, two sons), and I have flown for over thirty years, including coastal mapping for NOAA (25,000 miles of shoreline).

Whale survey flightMy daily goal is to provide a phenomenal educational curriculum for my student pilots, to teach skills that help them earn a higher wage. Our October 2018 report card showed 15-20% increases in regular attendance, on-time graduation, and completion after the first full year of our CTE program.

My staff and I present a Nationally Recognized COASTAL STEM program which stands for: the coastal  Science of large-scale coastal mapping, using Technology to create robotic & autonomous flight, the Engineering of building and maintaining drones, and the Mathematics of using algorithms to delineate coastal habitats. My team of instructors helping our students enter US airspace to conduct marine studies, includes the following:

Tony in fielddr tony 1







Tony D. (above, below), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, in the 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. 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.



Leigh T. is our megafauna census instructor. We are actively training with Oregon State University/Sea Grant personal photographing whales as part of a team aboard the R/V Pacific Storm (above). Our instructors for ship-based launches are Todd C. (our offshore drone instructor and whale spotter training three of our Academy pilots) and Dawn B. (grad student briefing 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.


Training facilities  We have a classroom at a local airport (shown above left). 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 right), where we also have use of a large open indoor space for precision flying with our trainer drones.

We are currently updating our indoor flight annex and pilot’s lounge in Lincoln City, and developing a commercial drone testing center in Newport.testing

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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