High School UAV/UAS Program Startup


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Hi all, my name is Bill Kaiser. I am a technology teacher for two high schools in Helena, Montana.

 I went to a workshop a couple of months ago and got excited about using drone technology with high school students. We are now dealing with the 333 issues and are hoping the FAA drops some love on us this June so we don't have to deal with the licensed pilot issue. We have a licensed pilot in our district, but the idea is to get kids learning and flying the drones, not the adults. Anyway, it sounds like the FAA will probably fix this, but not before school gets out this summer.

I've been in contact with my local FAA operations drone expert and, if I understood him correctly, he believes that the new regs will only require passing a written test. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this.

We have already purchased two P3 Advanced with all the extras so we are pretty well invested right now. I'm negotiating with the PE instructors at my schools to fly drones indoors in the practice gym so we don't violate any FAA rules. Looking forward to the day when we can get outside and have some fun!

If anyone is interested in sharing high school curriculum materials, I would be very interested. I am currently patching together a OneNote classroom notebook to share with my teachers. It is a composed of all different sources on the internet and anything I can find that is relevant to high school student drone flight.

Bill

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Hi Bill

My best guess is that you do not need a 333 exemption or a licensed pilot.  The exemptions are only required for commercial use, and as you are not charging for instruction, I can't see how training students could be defined as a commercial use. You may want to contact the Academy of Model Aeronautics https://www.modelaircraft.org/joinnew.aspx?s=google.  They have a lot of training programs and could probably address your concerns definitively. Good Luck! 

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Thanks Silk Purse.  I'm not charging for instruction, but I am getting paid to give instruction by a government entity, and the FAA seems to focus on money changing hands for the moment. Hopefully, it will be fixed in June. O.o I'll definitely check out your link. Thanks!

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If you have a licensed pilot to monitor, a non-licensed pilot can fly. I do this for a local survey/inspection company. They use non-licensed UAV pilots who have grown up in the video game age. The pilot merely needs to monitor the flight activities to be sure that all FAA requirements are being met. Good luck!!

Geof Bush, SE Michigan

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Hi Bill,

Very nice to meet you, and you have come to the right place for all things drone related, i think you'll find the community here is friendly, knowledgeable, and competent. I am also a Secondary level science teacher in the state of Massachusetts; with dual licensure in Chemistry and Biology. I teach Chemistry and environmental science as well as develop new STEAM curricula (e.g. Intro to programming via game design, intro to unmanned aviation).

In addition to my teaching i have started Remotely Possible LLC. with two main focuses: Providing high quality aerial services to clients covering photography, videography, 3d photogrammetry and other services, the other main focus utilizes my expertise in education. I have taught in both Academic and Career Technical Education (CTE) settings for the past seven years. As a Science teacher STEAM education is close to my heart and bringing our educational system into the 21st century is my mission. As such we at Remotely Possible LLC. provide curricula, training, and professional development for STEAM education.

To your main points about the FAA, 333 exemptions, and the pilots certification.

***Disclaimer, i am not a lawyer.***

Now that that is out of the way my understanding of your situation would be this. While yes you are employed by a government agency (the school district) It is my understanding that you would not be in violation of FAR to run a course at your schools. The FAA is looking at money changing hands from one party to another closely for utilization of drones in industry. This means that a real estate agent who wishes to utilize a drone for photos incidental to their business must acquire a 333 and have a PIC with at minimum a sports certifciation, as well as medical (or more likely current drivers license). [until part 107 is official] The main difference i see here is that the school while it is a government agency is not charging students for the course, in fact the funds come from tax, and federal grants. You while you are employed by the district, are not payed based on what you teach, meaning you would  be paid the same as an art teacher or a gym teacher or and ELA teacher, there is no special difference for teaching any particular course. So you are not being compensated to train students on drones, you are a 1.0 FTE (or what ever you may be) that is being assigned a course load. Since the school is not making or collecting revenue for, or as a result of the usage of drones, and you are not being compensated for the usage of the drone in any commercial or other capacity. You should be alright to conduct the course. It would be a different story if say it was an adult night course that the "students" were paying for directly, as this would constitute revenue gained by utilization of UAS technology. 

Again i am not a lawyer so my knowledge of the law is auto didactic... but you should be alright to fly outdoors with out a pilots license so long as you follow proper procedure, ensure to contact local air and heli ports. It would also be hard for me to imagine the FAA taking the publicity of bringing a school system to court, though not completely impossible. I have to check but i remember reading somewhere on the forums that government agencies may only need a rigorous training program, not a pilot license, this may only extend to saftey (police, fire, etc). Hope this helps in some capacity, and i am very excited about your school! 

feel free to check us out at itsremotelypossible.com, if you would like to talk more feel free to contact me through that or through uavcoach!

Cheers.

 

Scott Lashmit

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6 hours ago, RemotelyPossible said:

also you may want to look at the AUVSI foundation http://www.auvsifoundation.org/home they do work with schools for UUV UAV and other robotics or autonomous systems.

Thanks Scott. I checked out your site and it is very impressive. Nice to see a teacher involved and applying education needs to the training.  

 

 

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Stop the presses! I just got off the phone to FAA UAS help line 1-877-396-4636 and they said:

  • My public high school is a "public entity" and therefor exempt from needing COA and no 333 exemption.
  • We are not required to have a pilot.
  • we are not required to have pilot license.
  • no exam at this time.

The lady taking my call was very thorough and even put me on hold to talk to another staff.

I just registered a drone and listed my purpose as non-model air craft, non-hobby  and nothing stopped me.

I'm going with this. :D

Full speed ahead!

Bill  

 

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Update: I've had a few people ask me about documentation. I was so excited, I didn't ask for any. I had one person point out rulings from 2014 that seem to contradict this. From the standpoint of CYA, I'm pretty exposed, so I'll be calling back Monday and trying to get something in writing.

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@Bill Kaiser, late to the game here but glad to see our forum members KICKING BUTT WITH THEIR RESPONSES.

Love what you're doing. Let me know if you'd like to bring any of your training curriculum online. I'm building a marketplace of courses. Would love to partner with schools to make it easier for students to get access.

Welcome, and fly safe, and keep us posted with how things are going!

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@Bill Kaiser Awesome work, i have been losing sleep over this, but it is nice to confirm my thoughts were correct on the subject!

 

As to your curricula, I am getting a 333 for my business as i wish to sell the curricula to schools (and operate services as well), however as i am pending in that process and am always looking out to help fellow educators i would be glad to give you guys copies of what we have developed, you can use them as you like, feel free to modify and change stuff, but it may save you a lot of base work, as well as provide me some much needed feedback. thank you for your kind words about the site, i need to get some new footage up! Keep flying.

 

Also @Alan Perlman, this may be a good number to put somewhere prominently in the forums

" FAA UAS help line 1-877-396-4636 and they said: " great work @Bill Kaiser

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I just got off the phone with a second help desk tech and asked for clarification.

She asked if I we are a “public entity”. I said yes.

She said:

  • I must complete a COA online. I don’t need a paper COA.

  • Register drone as “non-model” for purpose of COA.

  • No 333 exemption needed. Just COA online.

  • Wait for approval.

This is the second help desk person to tell me this so I think it must be legit.

 

I'm starting the COA process now and am wading through it. I hope I don't get stuck somewhere with a "Catch 22". :) 

 

If anyone else calls the FAA for the purpose of using drones with a students in a public high school, please share your experience too.

Bill

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Called sUAS helpdesk again and was told again that public schools are covered under "blanket" exemption and to go ahead and register as non-hobby drone. Then complete on-line COA. I told them you can't fill out the COA unless you have a exemption # and a docket #. She said to email higher up with the problem and gave me an email address. 

I sent the email and asked them if they could supply the two numbers in the "blanket" exemption so I can proceed with the COA. Hopefully they will get back to me soon. Fingers crossed.

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Here's the latest in my saga to register drones for public high schools.

After a couple of weeks of trying to figure out how I should register my public high school drones, here is the latest response. I still don't know if I need a 333 exemption and a pilot's license or not, but apparently, if I do this pretty simple contact, I will find out.

I removed the COA administrator contact info, because I don't think anyone should short-cut the system, without working through all the options first.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning Bill,

There are two types of COAs.  Public for government agencies and public universities and Civil for commercial companies.  However, public schools other than universities that are providing research to the government don’t fall into a particular category.  So to find out what type of COA you will be filing or if you will be able to fly as a recreational/hobbyist user you need to do the following.

Contact the online COA administrator XXXXX and provide her the following information:

·         The public entity you represent

·         Type/model drone you have

·         The nature of your drone operation

XXX will be able to make the call on whether you file as a Public, Civil, or Recreational drone user.

---------------------------------------------------------------

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I'm glad @Alan Perlman mentioned this in his email today, because I missed the thread.

I'm hoping this doesn't come across as just product promotion, as one of my goals is helping the next generation of drone pilots.

Something we have been working with schools (K to 12), colleges and universities and third party STEM programs on is using our simulator for either the initial training of students or as the entirety of the hands on flight part.

Since we support USB game controllers, and most kids seem to have an Xbox or Playstation, they are already familiar with the controls, so they can concentrate on learning to handle the drone. A computer based solution also doesn't require all the FAA approvals to use, but does give an accurate experience. It also removes the need to find a location to fly, the worry about weather, and of course the risk of costly damage. 

In support of our STEM outreach, we offer a significant discount for educational use and distribution.

More information on the simulator can be found at https://www.dronesimpro.com

Even if you choose to go another route, I'm still happy to provide any support I can in engaging kids in how drones work and what they can do. I wanted to provide an additional option for a teaching tool.

 

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 I appreciate the opportunity to  participate  in this forum and thank those of you who have done so much already to help the wider community  establish and improve UAV and UAS programs for high school students.  

As the father of a  high school student, I have been asked to develop an afterschool program to  introduce students to UAVs,  including age – appropriate aspects of aerodynamic science, simulator and hands-on flight instruction, programming of the onboard controllers, and the federal guidelines and  regulations that apply to the recreational flyer. (I am working with an admistrator and with the teacher who directs the school's math and programming curriculum.)  I  have been flying remotely controlled aircraft for number of years and recently switched to multirotor UAVs owing to my interest in programming and autonomous flight. 

  I  welcome any replies to help me develop a program for the students.  At this point, I am open to anything that you wish to suggest as long as I can use your suggestions and materials to give the students the best possible introduction that I can.

Thank you for any help that you can offer,

 Justin

 Seattle, Washington 

 

 

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Hi Everyone,

I am in a similar boat to some of you, however I live in Ontario, Canada, about 3 hours north of Toronto.

I am looking at purchasing a DJI Phantom 4, but with my own money. I did the same thing 4 years ago with a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer. There is NEVER any money at my school, and it seems to be the only way for me to get the technology in the hands of my students. I am currently teaching high school Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Introduction to Information Technology in Business. I have lots of ideas to introduce and integrate UAV technology in education.

I have only flown the small toy copters (Sigma etc.) and that was years ago when I bought some to bring to school. I have a good background in Computer Hardware, Programming, and Software (not so much the engineering/robotics, but very interested in it....and learning as I go...Arduino, Raspberry Pi etc.).

I am a big "techie" and love exploring all sorts of technology, gadgets, software etc. Big fan of Google Apps for Education platform, and hence run mostly Android products, and Windows 10 on the computer side. Love my Moto 360 2nd gen smartwatch and hope to learn and use my 3D printer more, but haven't had much time to explore.

The laws are different in Canada, but changing in 2017, hopefully for the better. For recreational use, hence for school, I don't think I need to do much. But, in order to help pay for it I am going to be doing aerial flyby video production and photography for golf courses, real estate, and property owners etc. This is where I need to jump through a bunch of hoops (and pay some money) to be insured and legal. I have got the ball rolling on that now.

A couple of quick questions :

(1) does anyone know if the UAV Coach ground school counts for flight exemption use in Canada? At the very least it will demonstrate competency. Wondering how similar it is to this online course http://www.pilottraining.ca/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=265

(2) I would love to get on board and share with Bill Kaiser and RemotelyPossible and others. I am pretty new to this, but a quick study and have been teaching and integrating technology for 16 years now.

Look forward to ANY and ALL advice and collaboration as I try to introduce this technology to students in September of 2017. Actually hope to be all set within the next two weeks so I can drum up some excitement at the end of this year with students. 

On a side note, I am planning a school trip to Maker Faire 2017 in San Mateo .... hopefully will get approval etc. come Sept/Oct.

Very excited and look forward to learning and using my new DJI Phantom 4.....if I bite the bullet. Will be deciding and purchasing this week.

Thanks In Advance,

Jason Playter
www.mrplayter.com

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On 4/7/2016 at 0:03 PM, Silk Purse said:

Hi Bill

... You may want to contact the Academy of Model Aeronautics https://www.modelaircraft.org/joinnew.aspx?s=google.  They have a lot of training programs and could probably address your concerns definitively. Good Luck! 

I am teaching a high school UAV class and have started a flight club with the AMA which gives the teacher sponsor as well as all participating students under the age of 19 free membership. Membership includes flight insurance among other benefits. It is well worth the time to check it out if you teach a UAV class. 

http://www.modelaircraft.org/membership/clubs.aspx

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On 5/30/2016 at 11:56 AM, jtplayte said:

(1) does anyone know if the UAV Coach ground school counts for flight exemption use in Canada? At the very least it will demonstrate competency. Wondering how similar it is to this online course http://www.pilottraining.ca/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=265

Not yet, but it's something we're looking into!

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On ‎5‎/‎29‎/‎2016 at 0:20 PM, Justin said:

 I appreciate the opportunity to  participate  in this forum and thank those of you who have done so much already to help the wider community  establish and improve UAV and UAS programs for high school students.  

As the father of a  high school student, I have been asked to develop an afterschool program to  introduce students to UAVs,  including age – appropriate aspects of aerodynamic science, simulator and hands-on flight instruction, programming of the onboard controllers, and the federal guidelines and  regulations that apply to the recreational flyer. (I am working with an admistrator and with the teacher who directs the school's math and programming curriculum.)  I  have been flying remotely controlled aircraft for number of years and recently switched to multirotor UAVs owing to my interest in programming and autonomous flight. 

  I  welcome any replies to help me develop a program for the students.  At this point, I am open to anything that you wish to suggest as long as I can use your suggestions and materials to give the students the best possible introduction that I can.

Thank you for any help that you can offer,

 Justin

 Seattle, Washington 

 

 

Hi Justin. You have an excellent resource in your area. Joe Dockery at Mt. Si HS in Snohomish. He is the guy I drew my inspiration from and my high school program is modeled on his. He also teaches workshops in your area and around the country. Browse his site and you will probably find everything for a beginning program.

http://quadcoptervideo.weebly.com/

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