3 Springfield School of Innovation students certified to fly drones

Three School of Innovation (SOI) students have earned their certifications to fly drones, all before graduating high school.

Seniors Kylie Gourley and Sterling Wagner-Pyles and junior Leland Davis all passed their final test to earn their FAA — Part 107 pilot’s licenses for drones and are now certified to fly unmanned drones under 55 pounds.

Along with learning the mechanics of how to fly a drone, students in the unmanned aerial systems courses, which were added during the 2022-23 school year, also learn the physics behind aerodynamics, how air density affects flight, how to read meteorology reports, the communications pilots use, signs at airports, airspace maps and how to develop a mission plan before flying.

“The career opportunities for drone pilots are becoming increasingly more available and in demand, including in the agriculture, land surveying and photography industries,” said communications specialist Jenna Leinasars. “After completing the courses at SOI, several students have expressed interest in pursuing careers in unmanned aerial systems.”

The School of Innovation gives a second option for high school students in the Springfield City School District to focus on project-based learning instead of traditional classroom instruction.

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