Marcanthony Rojas wants to become a firefighter one day. So, naturally, he is enrolled in the Fire Protection Academy to help him achieve his goal.
He also enrolled in a class on how to fly a drone.
Rojas, a senior at Pine Tree High School, said he wants to get his drone certification because it can be used on scene at a fire.
“You get on the scene, and the first person has to run around the house and check what’s damaged, what’s not, see what they can preserve,” he said. “With a drone, they can do that five times faster. The drone could actually go over the building to see what else is happening.”
Pine Tree High School is in its first year of offering Drones 101, a class helping students get their drone certification.
Wayne Gaddis, who teaches the class to about 55 students, said they are learning about the Federal Aviation Administration laws and regulations.
“That’s not the fun part. The fun part is learning how to use a drone and fly it safely,” he said. “(And) how to create good video and how to basically promote yourself as a commercial drone (pilot), certified drone pilot. And that’s my end goal, is some kind of promotional video at the end that they can take to a potential client to try to sell themselves as a person to do their video for them.”
Gaddis said the job market for certified drone pilots is growing, and students can go into real estate photography, the oil field and other industries.
Junior Cameron Cowden said he never flew a drone before taking the class.
“I play a lot of video games, so it’s similar, but, like, it is different, because it’s an actual floating object and not just on the screen,” he said. “I think the photography aspect is pretty cool. And there’s, like, drone racing, too, which I just think is cool. There’s just so many different things you can do with drones.”
Cowden said students are practicing flying smaller drones before moving up to larger ones.
Before moving on, students have to be able to fly small drones in the motion of a figure 8 that is taped to the floor, Rojas said.
“It’s pretty fun. It gives us more opportunities, because drones have become such a big thing. You can make your own business and stuff,” he said. “It’s pretty cool that we have options like this.”