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Florence 1 Schools to Offer Remote Pilot’s License Program to High School Students

Program Qualifies Students to Operate Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV’s) or Drones

Through a partnership with a regional organization, Florence 1 Schools is providing a unique opportunity for its high school students to gain a remote pilot’s license. Students who are enrolled in engineering class at South Florence and West Florence, or computer coding class at Wilson High, will be offered the iFLY Drone Pilots certification course.  

“We are extremely excited about this opportunity which has been made available to our students,” said Chris Rogers, Florence 1 Schools STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Director.  “At the conclusion of the course, almost 60 students will be eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration’s Pilot Examination.  Upon successfully passing the exam, they will be awarded their Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Remote Pilot’s License.”

Rogers said the program benefits students through its connection with academic standards including (STEM); global competitiveness; 21st century sustainability and recognition by the FAA; opportunity to obtain gainful employment; and a remote pilot’s license leading to various career pathway options.

According to the course description, iFLY is an innovative program designed by AINautics UAV Academy and STEM U, LLC.  It connects youth ages 16 – 18 to the Drone Industry by preparing them to become certified FAA Remote Pilots.  A team of FAA Certified Flight instructors, UAV Academy experts, and commercial pilots teach the course.  The course is designed to prepare high school students for the certification.

 The South Carolina Department of Commerce recently offered a workshop for educators and business leaders titled, “Are South Carolina students ready for the drone industry?”

“This drone certification class can help students determine if they would like to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering or computer programming of drones,” said Rogers who attended the recent SC Department of Commerce workshop. “Using what they learn in the course, students will be able to enter the workforce immediately or maintain information that will help them with future studies or future careers,” he added.

Christopher Williams, Director of Partnership Development for iFLY has indicated that career opportunities available for students with the training include: military drone pilot, firefighter, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, oil and gas operations, seismic study, border patrol, traffic reporting, storm chasing, agriculture, package delivery, forestry, engineering, computer science, commercial contractors and film. “The program is designed to prepare scholars for 21st century sustainability while providing them global capacity,” noted Williams.

South Florence High School’s Blake Nichols who will be enrolling the course said, " Drone pilots are in high demand, and I like the listing of job opportunities that are available.

“I believe the drone certification course will open many opportunities for students trying to figure out what they want to do in their future,” said Wilson High School student Raelyn Ott. “It will give students the chance to test their interests and provides options when choosing an area of work. I expect the drone certification class to give me basic knowledge about drones, which is expected to become an extremely big industry in the near future.”

Andrew Benjamin, who attends West Florence High School, said he plans to establish his own drone pilot business. “Drone pilots are needed around the world, and there are endless possibilities I could have by taking this class.   I believe that drone pilot certification will lead me a step closer to success.” 

For more information about the drone pilot certification program in Florence 1 Schools, call Chris Rogers at 843-673-1157.     

Supporting Data
Bloomberg news service reported that the drone business is expected to rocket more than 6,000 percent by the end of the decade.  (Source: Bloomberg)

AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) reports that the widespread commercial use of drones is predicted to inject $13.6 billion in the United States economy over the next three years and create 70,000 jobs in both drone manufacturing and flight operations.  (Source: AUVSI).

Students participating in the drone pilot certification course

Photo:  Christopher Williams (fourth from left) is flanked by a few of the high school students who will be enrolled in the drone pilot certification course.  (Left to right) Nikolas Ocampo (Wilson); Andrew Benjamin (West Florence); Raelyn Ott, (Wilson);  RayQuan Harrison, (South Florence) and Emily Barnett, (West Florence).