Drone course taking off at East Dayton Christian School

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Students at East Dayton Christian are developing the skills to enter a booming and diverse industry of unmanned aircraft systems.

Friday, a small group from the high school demonstrated what they’ve learned in the first five months of a new course called Drone Technology and Pilot Training.

Started as a science lab elective, phase one of what instructors hope will grow into a multi-level course, the class introduces students to how drones work and what they can be used to accomplish. For several weeks, they practice flying the unmanned aircrafts using a computer simulation. 

By the end of the semester, the students are able to perform basic maneuvers and control a drone’s onboard camera.

John McNees, the class instructor and a local freelance drone pilot, explained the course trains students with practical skills for a number of industries.

“We’re going to need more drone pilots in the future,” McNees said. “We’re going to need operators, we’re going to need integrators, we’re going to need data collectors.”

He said a growing variety of professions use drones, including emergency rescuers, agriculture surveyors, architects, construction workers and filmmakers.

East Dayton Christian science teacher Richard Wilson said the school jumped at the opportunity to offer the course.

“They (the students) can take this with them,” Wilson said. “That’s the benefit of starting early.”

A half dozen students are currently enrolled in the program, but Wilson and McNees said they’re seeing an increased interest after the course’s first semester.

Freshman Dylan Reynolds explained he took the class for the science credit, but grew to enjoy flying drones.

“It gives me the chance to have that as a career option later in the future and it gives me more time to get better at it by the time I’m out of high school,” Reynolds said.

East Dayton Christian School is offering a drone summer camp open to the public. It’s geared toward 5th-12th grade students and parents interested in learning basic drone concepts.

Drone Summer Camp:

  • EDCS Gym (999 Spinning Road, Dayton, OH 45431)
  • Session #1: June 18th-22nd, 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. 
  • Session #2: June 25th-29th, 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $60

You can call East Dayton Christian School at 937-252-5400 or visit the school website here for registration information.

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