Clear for takeoff: Drone Technology students earn FAA licenses

Mexico High School is celebrating its first class of officially certified drone pilots after five students successfully passed all Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

These students, from Mexico Academy & Central School District’s new Drone Technology class, will have immediate access to a number of career opportunities afforded to them by obtaining these licenses, officials said.

These fields include photography, filming, transportation, healthcare, surveying, search and rescue, agriculture, mapping, construction, building and energy inspections, insurance, data analysis, mining and many more.

“Right now, jobs in the drone field are exploding in popularity,” said MACS LAN technician James Rhinehart, who helps teach the course. “It is predicted in the next few years every major industry will have a use for drones and pilots. If you are interested in photography, why not take those skills to a new level?”

Students earning their licenses include Logan Abbott, Hunter Anglestein, Brian Carlin, Seth Wilson and Hunter Hall.

During the class, students learn about regulations and rules for flying a drone in addition to the science and mechanics that help them work. Students also practice flying drones that have different types of control systems before they take their licensure tests.

Juniors who complete the class can move on to an advanced class in the second year of the program and also provide mentorship to students taking the beginner level class. Rhinehart said students will learn about 3-D mapping (using PIX4D), photo and video editing with Adobe and automated flight.

In addition to Rhinehart, other teachers include MHS science teacher David Dzielak and technology instructor David von Holtz. The trio of teachers noted how proud they are of the class and all their efforts this year.

The Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation's Model Schools team also supports the teachers and students.

Students interested in signing up for the beginner level STEM course should talk to their guidance counselor.

FAA photo drones