New Drone Class Soaring at ATEMS


This year Abilene ISD is breaking new ground with the classes it offers.

The Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math & Science campus is providing a Drone Technology Scientific Research and Design course which focuses on UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System, also known as drones) flight and technology.

The goal of this course is to equip students to earn a Remote Pilot Certificate under the FAA’s Part 107. This training and certification will open many opportunities to pursue jobs in relevant fields such as cinematography, agriculture and structural safety inspection.

Flying a drone in the halls of ATEMS

The majority of class time is spent in three ways, learning the forces of flight and how they apply to a multirotor airframe, studying for the FAA part 107 RPC (Remote Pilot Certification) exam, and flying the drones themselves. In order to pass the test and receive an official FAA certification to be a commercial drone pilot, students will be required to know the forces of flight, UAS mechanics, pilot terminology such as METAR and TAF weather reports, aeronautical sectional charts and FAA regulations regarding drone flight.

To prepare for the exam, students will spend dozens of hours practicing their flight skills using an industry simulator and course curriculum to study weather reports and airspace maps.

Learning by using flight simulator software

Students will also explore the industry of commercial drone use. It may seem minimal to some, but the impact that drones are having on our society is growing significantly. It is true that UAS are popularly used in the entertainment and agriculture industries, but drones are also being used for search and rescue missions, aerial monitoring of wildfires and surveying disaster zones like areas affected by hurricanes.

Students who successfully complete the course and pass the RPC exam will immediately enter a workforce that is one of the fastest growing industries in America. “It’s really cool to have a certification that makes you employable in multiple industries right out of high school,” said Lucas Robirds, a senior at ATEMS.

Not only is the course rigorous and demanding, it is also enjoyable. Engaging students comes with ease, since they are able to fly industry drones, utilize top-of-the-line technology, and research topics that have global impact.

“I love spending time in class,” said junior Amber Tinney. “It has a good atmosphere and fun nature, and the intense work helps me learn how to fly drones.”