Drones are certainly entertaining and interesting, but they have also developed into a teaching tool for “real-world” applications that are wide-ranging and inclusive.
Top five reasons for drone use in education:
1. Applications in “real-world” settings include teaching the law of physics, disassembling and reassembling, computer programming, photography, and agricultural management, to mention a few.
2. Knowledge retention is improved by the practical component.
3. Aids in the development of fundamental abilities like hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and coordination
4. Drones provide a sense of joy to the classroom and provide a break from repeatedly studying the same subject.
5. Introduce children to the rapidly expanding field of STEM.
Drones have become an effective business tool in a variety of industries, including real estate, military, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. They are being developed for use in a wide range of commercial and government applications.
These sectors require highly qualified leaders. To fulfill these demands, an increasing number of colleges are establishing drone degree and certification programs. Introducing this technology into K-12 classrooms helps children to gain hands-on experience with the tools at a young age, giving them a leg up in the job market. Furthermore, the technology provides a hands-on method of education that has been demonstrated to be effective. As more technology is integrated into the school curriculum, kids will gain experience in problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will be useful in the future.
Thank you for being a part of the Aerial Drone Competition! We want to keep you informed of all the exciting plans leading up to the GAME REVEAL on Sept. 7th.Sending a BIG THANK YOU to all those that have registered your teams and/or scheduled to host events! This will be a huge help us as we preparing for the 2023-2024 season!
Most updates will be made on Tuesdays. Don’t miss out on any of the details! Use this LINK to access the information when you need it!
As always we are here to support you and answer any questions you may have. If you would like to schedule a 30 minute phone call or Google Meet session, feel free to schedule one at a time that is convenient for you by using my Calendly LINK. I am also available by phone or email.
Here’s what you will find in the update today! (Use this LINK to access and save this document.)
Vol. 7 (7.25.2023): Updates and Reminders
Funding Assistance: Team Registration Scholarships Available
Register Your Teams for the 2023-2024 Season
Events are Being Scheduled Now
Thank you for being a part of the Aerial Drone Competition Community! We have an exciting season ahead and expect record growth. Feel free to share this email with others in your area that are looking for STEM opportunities for students!
How does the CoDrone EDU compare to our 2 previous drones: the CoDrone Mini in 2020, and the CoDrone Pro in 2016? I put together this handy dandy comparison chart, which I think will help make it much clearer.
The question will inevitably come up, given that we’ve got 3 drones in our store now. The CoDrone EDU is our latest and best drone. In fact, it’s meant to be the successor to our CoDrone Pro. In the diagram, I’ve highlighted the features in green that are improvements over the CoDrone Pro. If you want the summary version, here are the improvements:
Much more stable signal stability with multiple drones in the classroom
Pairing only needs to be done once
Flight time is 2 minutes longer on the CoDrone EDU
Controller has an LCD screen, which opens up tons of potential sensor data and visualization
Drone has the ability to make sounds
It can flip!
Ability to do swarms and control multiple drones with one computer
Better quality sensors, more sensors
The main recommendation I can make is this: if you want something smaller, more affordable, and easily approachable for younger students, I would recommend the CoDrone Mini. It’s a fantastic introduction to coding something that can fly and move in the physical world. If you want something that’s a step up, with additional and better sensors, more stable and precise flight, I would definitely recommend the CoDrone EDU. It does everything the CoDrone Mini can do, but better. It also has a ton of additional features that CoDrone Mini does not have.
Now for the details
The CoDrone EDU is the result of many years of feedback and research we’ve spent over the last 6 years, working with literally hundreds of schools around the world who’ve used our CoDrone Pro and our CoDrone Mini. Through your e-mails, your phone conversations, your technical support virtual meetings, the user tests you’ve participated in, the classes you’ve run, the classes we’ve run, we compiled a bunch of feedback about what worked and what didn’t for our previous drones.
Drones are a fun and engaging way to learn coding and engineering—you’re moving around, things are flying, you get to see your code come to life. However, there are also certain parameters about a classroom setting that are unique. These are things a typical small sub-$300 drone manufacturer don’t need to think about, because their target is the at-home user, not a classroom. Here’s a super condensed version of the main things we learned from all those years of feedback.
Safety is key. The teacher needs to feel confident and unafraid of the device they’re using. Without safety, everything else is a non-starter.
The drone has to be both durableand fixable. Students testing code will make mistakes. They should make mistakes—that’s part of the engineering process. The drone design needs to have that in mind.
Pairing needs to be quick. With classes changing, devices moving around, things being swapped, pairing should take little to no time.
Signal stability is very important in a classroom of multiple devices. Bluetooth simply isn’t stable enough for that.
Sensors help make coding more exciting, since they are how you take input from the environment.
Extra batteries are key. Without charged batteries, students are left waiting around.
While we worked on creating this drone, we tried to keep these parameters in mind. Here’s why I’m proud of the CoDrone EDU, and why we are proud to call it “A drone made for learning.”
The drone weighs 2 ounces (57 g), and it fits in the palm of your hand. With the beefy guards, even when it crashes into walls, tables, or someone’s arm, the propellers won’t make direct contact. The guards help it stay bouncy when it does crash or fall to the ground. We’ve also built into the firmware a failsafe to have the drone’s motors shut off when it detects a strong enough crash, and the motors won’t spin when it detects that it’s upside down.
Durable & Fixable
With the CoDrone Pro, we learned that educators really appreciated the fixability of the drone. However, we also learned there’s a threshold where the parts become too modular. When all the parts can be swapped, it introduces too many opportunities for small inconsistencies in balance, weight distribution, and wear & tear of parts being inserted over and over that the drone loses its flight stability over time. With the CoDrone EDU, the parts are more complete pieces, while remaining modular enough that a motor and propeller can still be swapped as needed.
Pairing is easy
With the CoDrone EDU, once you pair the drone to the controller, they stay paired any time both are powered on. You won’t have to re-pair them every time you power on. This saves countless minutes that accumulate over class time where students have to pair every time they start a class, swap a battery, unplug a controller, switch drones, etc. We know those minutes add up.
Connection stability in the classroom
We use radio signal for the CoDrone EDU, which offers much stronger signal stability for the classroom setting. You won’t have to worry about dropping your connection when there are multiple drones in the room, or having to re-pair your drone when a connection drops. In our tests, we were able to get up to 15 drones in a classroom—not that we recommend flying that many at once!
Pro tip: we recommend having a flying half of the room and a programming half of the room. This way, the people with their heads down aren’t in the same area where drones are flying around overhead.
Useful & interesting sensors
I like to think of a drone as a flying set of sensors. Sensors make coding a robot—in this case a drone—much more engaging. With better and additional sensors, the CoDrone EDU can detect color, detect obstacles in front of it, and even check the height below it. In the coming months, we’ll be creating a ton of activities and lesson plans based on these sensors to teach various STEM topics, such as graphing data, writing an algorithm to navigate a maze, using the color sensor to check on crops, and much more!
Programmable sounds & LEDs
If sensors are your input, then sounds and LEDs are your output. With the drone’s LED and ability to generate sounds, you can use them to code different cues and notifications for when certain things are detected and triggered. Imagine landing on a field of crops, detecting that the crops below are yellow instead of green. You program the LED to blink red, and the drone plays an alert sound, letting the pilot know that this crop needs more water. These audio and visual cues will really help with activities based around applications like equipment inspection, agriculture, and more.
We know that educators need content and standards-aligned material to plan out their lessons. We hope to make that job easier by providing tons of ideas for doing just that. In the coming months, we will be creating not just activities using the drone’s various features, but also standards-aligned lesson plans that teachers can pull from for planning out their curriculum. You’ll find all that content on Basecamp.
Using drones as a means to teach kids Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning is a great and fun way to help them develop 21st-century skills like critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Activities like these not just bring out creativity among children but also enable them to remember the lessons for life. Drones introduce children to computer programming, and here are some top companies that have a great impact on making educational drones.
Skydiois the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio leverages breakthrough AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines for use by consumers, enterprises, and government customers. The business turned into a unicorn in March 2021, becoming the first US drone manufacturer with a worth greater than $1 billion.
The follow-me drone Skydio X2 is very intelligent. It uses six 4K 200° navigation cameras to provide 360° obstacle avoidance, inbuilt AI powered by an NVIDIA TX2, to understand its surroundings, and intelligent decision-making. With the aid of Skydio X2, anyone may become an accomplished pilot and complete tasks more quickly and safely.
Robolinkis a California-based company that produces educational drones. As a tiny after-school program among friends teaching local children about engineering using fundamental robotics components, they got their start in San Diego in 2012. Schools started buying their kits more frequently as they searched for resources that could teach STEM and coding without relying solely on screens. As a result, they invested in developing a second robotics kit, and in 2016, after raising $230K on Kickstarter, they released the CoDrone Pro, their first programmable drone.
Now, they introduced their latest and best drone which is the approved drone for the Aerial Drone Competition, The CoDrone EDU. In fact, it’s meant to be the successor to their CoDrone Pro. CoDrone EDU is a programmable drone, meant for learning in the classroom. Code it in Python or start from the basics with block-based coding. Unique to this drone are its color sensors, a front range sensor, and a bottom range sensor, among others—all usable in code.
Ryze Tech startup Ryze Technologies was founded in 2017 and is situated in Shenzhen, China. Making drone flying enjoyable and entertaining is their aim. They also think that play is an important component of learning, and learning about drones can be exciting and fun. These concepts served as the foundation for their initial product, Tello.
Tello is an easy-to-use drone that combines industry-leading technology and entertainment with a DJI flight control system and an Intel processor. Tello is simple to transport to any place due to its small size. Tello also supports Smartphone VR Headsets, which gives users an additional incentive to fly and crank up the enjoyment for those who enjoy speed and adrenaline.
Parrot is a European leader in professional drones. Their goal is to advance the industry by establishing new guidelines for using drones professionally for business. They presented the first 4G UAV to pros with their new professional drone, the ANAFI Ai. Users of their 4G drone service no longer have interference problems. The largest partner ecosystem for commercial drones belongs to Parrot. It includes media and data cloud platforms (Survae), real-time geospatial situational awareness (Rapid Imaging, Textron Systems), surveying and mapping, enterprise drone platforms, flight logs services (DroneLogbook, Airdata), public safety programs (DroneSense), and advanced mission planning (QGroundControl, UgCS) (PIX4D). Moreover, Parrot complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In 2011, the creators of the Crazyflie quadcopter launched Bitcraze, a company based in Sweden. The company’s mission was to finance the creation of a Crazyflie kit and its distribution as an open-source development platform. All three of the Crazyflie founders were working for the Swedish consulting firm Epsilon AB at the time when they began work on the Crazyflie quadcopter in late 2009 as a competence development project named Daedalus. Things really started to take off in 2010 when they made the decision to upload a Crazyflie film to Hackaday.com. After more research and development, they made the decision to create a Crazyflie kit that would be produced and offered as an open-source development tool. At this point, they believed that the project had surpassed the Daedalus Projects and decided to launch Bitcraze.io in order to finance the development and manufacture of the kit they created Bitcraze AB.
The Crazyflie 2.1 is a lightweight, open-source flying development platform that fits in the palm of your hand and only weighs 27g. You have the choice of downloading their app and utilizing your mobile device as a controller or, in combination with the Crazyradio PA, using your computer to display data and fly with a gaming controller thanks to the Crazyflie 2.1’s low-latency/long-range radio and Bluetooth LE capabilities.
A number of state-owned organizations support SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd., also known as Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd. or DJI, a Chinese technology corporation with its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong. With its headquarters in Shenzhen, which is frequently referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, DJI has direct access to the suppliers, raw materials, and pool of young, innovative people required for long-term success. They have expanded from a single tiny office in 2006 to a global workforce by utilizing these resources. We now have offices in the Netherlands, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, the United States, and Japan.
The compact and highly capable DJI Mini 3 Pro is as powerful as it is small. It is not only regulation-friendly but also the safest in its series thanks to its reduced weight of under 249 g and updated safety measures. It redefines what it means to fly a Mini with a 1/1.3-inch sensor and premium functionality.
Learning how to use a drone is very common in schools nowadays, because it can be useful in STEM learning. Drones are something you should want your children to play with, as they’ll teach them valuable skills. They develop their knowledge of engineering and learn how to think like engineers, not to mention the critical thinking skills they will develop which they can use when they grow up.
So what’s the best drone for kids on the market today? We list down some of the best drones that are kid-friendly and can be used in schools:
CoDrone EDU is a programmable drone designed for learning. It is an excellent way to learn 21st-century technical skills with its programmable lights, flight patterns, and access to 7 sensors. It has a stable connection with its 2.4 GHz RF communication with a 50-meter range. The company uses RF for better stability in the classroom. It also comes with a remote controller so it’s ready to fly right out of the box!
Tello is a small drone with an onboard nose-mounted camera capable of capturing 5MP photos and streaming 720p HD video. It is a lightweight and affordable quadcopter, perfect for flying indoors ideally suited to newcomers to the hobby. It’s easy to set up, just download the app from the app store, power up and you’re ready to fly. It’s that simple!
PCS Edventures’ Discover Drones
PCS Edventures’ Discover Drones truly delivers a multi-faceted student experience. The kit is a completely turnkey product. RubiQ, PCS edventures’ proprietary education drone, is designed and manufactured in-house to create a kit and curriculum combo that works perfectly hand-in-hand. RubiQ was built on an open-source platform and is both reusable and durable, so each drone can be used for many different classes and requires very little part replacement. RubiQ has a variety of flight modes, making it safe and easy for beginners to learn. Additional safety features include return-to-home, GPS lock, and auto-level functionality.
CoDrone Mini is a miniature programmable drone at a much more affordable price. With its smaller propellers, the ability to flip, rounded frame, and lighter form factor, this drone is suitable for younger audiences who are interested in getting into programming with drones. It’s also a great starter drone. CoDrone Mini is for younger audiences. It is small and has a durable build. Lessons and tutorials can be accessed for free through Robolink’s learning site. You can fly it around and make it do acrobatics with the remote, with block coding using Blockly for CoDrone, or with text-based coding using Python.
Drones are incredibly fun! But they can also be used as an educational toys to encourage STEM learning. This is very common nowadays, especially in schools that are great advocates of this kind of learning. Make your kids ready for the 21st century while having fun.
Want to put your drone skills to the next level? Why not join these marvelous competitions for students and drone enthusiasts for all levels – these are the top 3 drone competitions that you, your school, or your organization would be thrilled to participate in.
1. Drone Racing League
Drone Racing League (DRL) is the world’s premier, professional drone racing property for elite pilots. With custom-built racing drones traveling 90 MPH, pilots race through the most insane courses across virtual and physical competitions.
One kind of Drone racing is the First Person View (FPV). FPV drone racing is a competition where pilots control drones equipped with cameras while wearing goggles that stream the live video feed from the drones so they feel like they’re flying from inside the drone. The goal is to complete a complex race course as quickly as possible and ahead of the other pilots in the heat. Competitions are held in stadiums around the world and also with our pilots flying virtually in the DRL SIM, the true-to-life drone racing simulator.
Levels include 4 milestones including the semifinals, Sudden death, Finals, and Golden Heat. And as a futuristic sport that blurs the line between the virtual and the real, DRL races in legendary locations including iconic sports arenas, historic palaces, and landmark museums around the globe.
2. Aerial Drone Competition
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation sparks interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable, and affordable curriculum-based robotics programs.
The REC Foundation’s VEX Competitions make up the largest and fastest growing robotics engineering platform consisting of the following programs: the VEX IQ Competition (Elementary & Middle School), the VEX Robotics Competition (Middle School & High School) and VEX U (College/University). Over 2,600 events were completed around the US and other parts of the world.
The object of Piloting Teamwork Matches in Mission 2023: Blackout is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by owning goals, scoring bonus balls, and ending the match on a landing pad or in the alliance blackout zone.
In Autonomous Flight Skills matches, a single team has 60 seconds of an autonomous drone operation to score points by lifting off, navigating through arch and keyhole gates, removing balls from the starting lane, and ending the match on a landing pad or in the alliance blackout zone. All drone commands are pre-coded by the team, with no pilots allowed.
3. Drone Soccer
Drone Soccer is a thrilling indoor team sport played with radio-controlled quadcopters in protective exoskeletons designed for collisions. Five-player teams face off in a netted arena where they ram and block the opposing team to prevent them from scoring. But before pilots can compete they must first learn to build, program, fly, and repair high-performance drones, learning engineering skills toward exciting careers in aviation.
Drone Soccer may be one of the coolest sports in the world – and gives kids ages 12 and up their first experience in aviation, creating a pathway for aerospace careers.
With classroom lessons and after-school drone soccer leagues for grades 6-12, drone soccer is recognized as an international sport by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI).
Here are the links where you can purchase cool drones for the next competition you’ll be joining:
It is fulfilling to be one of the coaches of an Aerial Drone Competition team. It may sound like a really hard task to do but Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation will help you get through it by providing you with tools and resources you would need to succeed.
Starting a Team
Basically, there’s no limit in the number of participants on a competition team. If you have a lot of students interested in participating, you may want to consider having multiple teams. No additional team registration fee if you already have four (4) Aerial Drone Competition teams in the same school or organization. You can grow your team up to more than 23 teams. But remember that the average team size should only be between 3 and 5 students. If you don’t have a co-pilot and visual observer to assist in navigating the field, your team will be at disadvantage at competitions so make sure to take note of that.
Your team should learn and practice concepts like programming, flight principles, communication and documentation so be sure to get help from mentors who can help students increase their knowledge and skills about those things. Parents can also support by emailing them the article How Can Parents Help?. You may also refer to these links to get more details on what mentors can help you with: RECF Student-Centered Policy and the article What Does an Aerial Drones Competition Coach Do?
At least 1 drone is needed per Aerial Drone Competition Team. The two drones below are the approved drones for 2022-2023 competition season.
Access to an internet-connected computer or device is needed to utilize the online curriculum and programming resources.
Competition Field to be used in this season can be reused each so it would be ideal to have that at the very start. It will help you practice better like in a real drone arena. You may purchase one at Drone Competition Gates.
For the Game Elements, you have an option to either purchase them or create your own mocked up copies. Each season, a new set of unique Game Elements is being released. You may grab yours at Drone Competition Gates.
Setting up a meeting schedule with your team based on what your needs are would be advisable to fully equipped for the competition. Stick to your objectives! You may want to meet not more than 2 hours for younger students while others can meet more often. You will definitely benefit from the time and effort you put into the program. Meeting more frequently can help you better prepare for the competition.
First meeting should be listing goals and fixing a timeline to meet those goals. Make sure that someone is keeping track of it so you are on schedule and you’ll see the progress and things that need to be looked into further. Time management should always be taken into consideration.
Practice makes perfect is what people normally say. And yes, I would say that giving time for practice helps a lot to process things. Setting up a space with obstacle courses to practice flying drones is normally done by teams. You may use your own materials to set up one but it would be more comfortable and advantageous for the team if they practice using a full or partial Aerial Drone Competition Field which can fit in a gymnasium, cafeteria or even large classroom. And it’s common to practice a set of teams to practice on a field simultaneously up to 4 teams.
In order to fully maximize the team members you have, each must be assigned a role. You may rotate roles so all members of the team can learn and experience the full program. Based on the student’s interests, skills and needs must be the key factor when assigning a role. You may opt for assigning or letting the students choose. Don’t limit anyone in one role if they can perform multiple roles which is quite common. Multiple students can even share a role. Have a backup too in case of an emergency like sickness or schedule conflict so you won’t get in trouble. See the list below of the common Aerial Drone Team Roles:
Competition Logbook Documenter
Online Challenge competitors
There are a lot of ways to develop your team. Be as unique as possible. Each member of your team has its own creativity so get the most out of it. Let them choose your team name, have a cheer or song, design a team shirt, create some displays for your pit space, etc. This way, your team will be more engaged and excited. The more you get them engaged, the more they will be eager to accomplish things and work harder as a team. You may also draw the attention of other students and even potential supporters to help mold your team’s drone program to its full potential.
Joining some competitions can give your team a chance to execute what they have been working on. It would help them see the things they did well and needs for improvement so you’ll be more prepared when the season starts. Typical competitions include Autonomous Flight matches, Piloting teamwork matches, and interviews for judged awards.
Aerial Drone competition teams will have the opportunity to show off their piloting, programming, teamwork and communication skills through this drone competition event by REC Foundation (Robotics Education & Competition Foundation).
Aerial Drone Competition Matches
The competition is basically played on a 24’x24’ square field. There are two ways to compete in this Aerial Drone Competition namely Piloting Teamwork Matches and Autonomous Flight Skills Matches.
In Piloting Teamwork matches, the two alliances, one red and one blue, made up of 2 teams each, will compete against each other in two minutes. The goal is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance through different ways: clearing your starting lanes (10 pts), owning goals (10 pts), getting 1 white ball in a goal (11 pts), landing drones such as a landing pad of their own alliance color (5 pts) or landing in their alliance blackout zone, where teams can only enter during the last 45 seconds of the match and must fly through both keyhole gates first (15-40 pts).
On the other hand, the Autonomous Flight Skills matches gives each team 60 seconds of autonomous drone operation to score points where no pilots are allowed which means all drone commands should be pre-coded by the team.
Game Manual and Team Registration
For the official games rules for Aerial Drone Competition Mission 2023: Blackout, please see the Aerial Drone Competition Game Manual found at RoboticsEducation.org.
This Aerial Drone Competition focuses on hands-on, student-centered learning where teams learn about drones, flight principles, programming, documentation and communication skills which is critical especially to get higher points in some matches. It helps the team expand their knowledge and understanding about drones.
There have been a lot of changes and adjustments when the Coronavirus pandemic hits the whole world. The education sector is one of the biggest divisions that was affected and the government did whatever they could to support this sector.
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) is a funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of the US Government which was passed in March of 2020. But in December 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act added over 53 billion dollars to a second ESSER fund with an application deadline of September 20, 2022. Following this, the American Rescue Plan became law in March of 2021, providing an additional $126 billion in ESSER III funding which has a deadline until 30th of September 2023.
Utilizing the ESSER Funds
The ESSER funds can be used for a lot of educational needs. As stated from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, educational demands such as technology hardware, software, assessment and instructional materials, professional development, and a whole lot more. With this statement, ESSER funds can be requested for robotic kits for students as well as professional development for teachers. ESSER II and III specifically identify the need to remediate learning loss amongst learners as well as educators.
STEM learning is critical for students of all ages and great companies such as Robolink Inc. can provide a great line of educational robotics and standards-aligned curriculum to meet the needs of all students. With its mission to make STEM education accessible, engaging and fun for all, Robolink Inc. can make fun and approachable robotics kits that bring computer science to life and teach real industry competency which is a skill needed for the 21st century.
Needs to know about ESSER Funding Application
In order to receive ESSER funding, the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must apply for funding from their State Educational Agencies (SEAs). Keep in mind that each SEA has a different policy to follow so make sure that you refer to the right state’s SEA for specific rules and procedures in order to qualify for the funding.
First thing you need to do is to identify your needs. Have a meeting with the teachers and educators who want to enhance their STEM learning and use robotics kits. Start by asking the number of students and teachers who will be using the kits and what will be the ratio of each robotic kit per student.
Secondly, you can go to the website https://www.robolink.com/pages/our-products to view some of the products you can use for STEM learning. For more information on the products and services, you can navigate through the site and see a wide array of products, lessons and even meet the community where you can learn and interact with. A quote for schools can also be requested and a Purchase Order can be used to place the order here. See the full information here: https://www.robolink.com/pages/purchase-order
You may also want to get the support of the school’s administration. The school’s LEA will need to request from the SEA. In short, seek support from the school and district head for this smart move and endeavor. Once you have received support from LEA administration and settled all your needs, your LEA will send your ESSER funding request to the SEA and they will be the one to take it from there. You should also be aware of the deadlines they will have because ESSER funds will only be available until the date they’ve set for the deadline.
Review and begin with these steps as early as possible so that you’ll get to enjoy, learn and bridge the learning gaps for students and even for teachers alike.
The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country as well as over surrounding international waters. Its responsibilities include air traffic management, certification of personnel and aircraft, setting standards for airports, and protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. They have certain rules for this so called air traffic management including commercial operators flying drones – this is the part 107 rules which was made public and announced in June 2016. If you want to be a professional drone pilot, you have to know the rules and be compliant in all certificates that they will require.
The FAA part 107 certification which is the Remote Pilot Certification also known as the “drone license” allows you to sell your aerial drone photos and videos and to charge money for the drone services you’ve done. Where do these pictures and videos used? This can be used for conducting aerial inspections, collecting aerial data, and surveying/mapping areas of land from an aerial perspective.
In flying your drone, you really need to follow the FAA part 107 rules. If you don’t follow and even fly drones without a drone license, the FAA can issue you a fine up to $27,500 for civil penalties and/or up to $250,000 for criminal penalties. You can read through the summary of the Part 107 rules here – https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf
There are many areas of work where you can use your abilities as an FAA-certified drone pilot. These are job opportunities and big trends to choose from like drones in real estate, drones in construction/mining, drones in filmmaking, drones in public safety, drones in agriculture, transportation and a whole lot more.
So have you decided to take the FAA part 107 test and be a professional drone pilot? If yes, then you can take this test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. You need to go to the PSI website (https://faa.psiexams.com/faa/login) then select ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small’ from the drop down menu and there you can locate a testing center by address, city or zipcode. Sounds easy, right? The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, which needs to be completed within 2 hours. The minimum passing score is 70% (that means, you’ll need to get at least 42 questions right). There are also many study guides that will help you pass the test. In fact, FAA has a list of free PDFs you can use to study for the test! Find it here – https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/policy_library/#107
From the time the FAA was announced back in 2016 until now, there were few things that changed and more changes are expected in the next few years. Changes include developing a digital system (LAANC) for authorizing drone pilots to fly in controlled airspace. There were also changes in the recertification process, modified its drone marketing requirement, added new locations to the list of restricted off-limits sites and they even increased surveillance and started conducting ramp checks. All of these and more can be found in the FAA’s website – https://www.faa.gov/
Be informed and be aware before flying your drone. After all, it’s your responsibility to follow these rules when you start to enjoy this hobby and even use it to make money in the future.