HomeDrone Class Can Make You Become A Pilot

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Students can train to take to the sky this fall at Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph.

Hillyard began a program last year to teach students about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UASs) — commonly known as drones.

The St. Joseph School District now seeks a second instructor to expand the program to more students in the upcoming school year.

Rick Sharp, electronics technology instructor at Hillyard, currently teaches the class. While the course focuses on hobbyists, Mr. Sharp said numerous practical applications are emerging for drone technology.

For example, farmers and ranchers use drones as tools to scout their land, while emergency responders can use drones for search-and-rescue missions. The technology also proves popular for aerial photography, scouting pipelines or power lines, and inspecting other hard-to-access structures like oil rigs.

“It seems like the market is generating a fast flow of UAV and UAS applications,” Mr. Sharp said. “Of course in this area we’re concerned more about things like agriculture, crop scouting, cattle scouting, looking for nutrients for our fields. We just want to make the public aware of what can be done with a UAV or UAS system.”

Students will learn about laws and regulations on drones for both hobbyists and commercial drones, maintenance, safety issues, and of course, how to properly fly the machines.

Each class is limited to roughly 10 students, which allows plenty of hands-on learning.

Classes will meet two nights per week, with a basic course scheduled Monday and Wednesday and an advanced course on Tuesday and Thursday. A limited number of spots are still available. Contact Hillyard Tech Center at (816) 671-4170 for more information.