HAMLET — How would you like to explore the friendly skies without ever leaving the ground? That’s exactly the experience you’ll get when you sign up for the Drone Technology and Operation course offered at Richmond Community College on Saturday, April 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“If you’ve ever wanted to fly a plane, this is the least expensive way to experience that feeling,” instructor for the class, Chad Osborne, said.
Osborne will teach participants about the development of drones; how drones are used in the military, agriculture, real estate and other professions; what to look for when buying a drone; and how to build, repair and maintain a drone.
“There will be a lot of hands-on time in the class with a lot of discussion,” Osborne said. “I’ll be teaching you to do interesting things with a drone, such as picking things up and flying through an obstacle course.”
Participants do not have to own a drone to take the class. One will be provided for them to test fly.
Mike Poplin of Ellerbe recently got a one-on-one lesson with Osborne and improved his drone flying skills and geospatial awareness. The lesson started in the hallways of a building on the college’s campus and then continued outside where Osborne introduced Poplin to a higher-end drone with an intelligent flight system and a camera that gives a real time video feed from the drone’s perspective.
“Now I know what’s going to be on my Christmas wish list!” Poplin said after flying the powerful drone of Osborne’s.
In the class on April 29, Osborne will also be providing information about limitations to flying drones. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the flying of drones, and operators can find themselves with a hefty fine if they disregard specific rules and regulations.
“You have to fly under 400 feet and keep the drone in your line of sight. Also, drones are not allowed to fly within 4 miles of an airport or a hospital with a helipad,” Osborne said.
Osborne is the band instructor at Ashley Chapel Educational Center and an instructor for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program, called G.R.E.A.T(ness).
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator, or fully or intermittently autonomously, by onboard computers.
Drones originated mostly in military applications, although their use is expanding in commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, and other applications, such as policing and surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography, agriculture and drone racing. Civilian drones now vastly outnumber military drones, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015.
To Sign Up
To sign up for the Drone Technology and Operation class on Saturday, April 29, call Workforce and Economic Development Program Director Angineek Gillenwater at 910-410-1848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have a drone but would like to buy one to bring to the class, Osborne will provide you with some purchase recommendations that are under $50.
Wylie D. Bell is director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.