FAA Drone Pilot CertificateHigh School Students at Rock Hill’s Applied Technology Center Earn Federal Aviation Administration Licenses to Operate Drones

June 16, 2021by helo-10
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – Four students from Rock Hill’s ATC program are being honored for completing their FAA licensing exam, that’s the Federal Aviation Administration. That exam is making them all certified drone pilots before they even graduate high school.

AINautics saw a need for more certifications and started a partnership with Rock Hill Schools two years ago.

Applied Technology Center’s Ron Roveri saying, “So I said absolutely. We need to start training our students because we need to fill the pipeline with certified drone pilot. So, that’s when we contacted and sat down at the table with AINautics and said all right they have the training, they have the certified FAA drone pilot personnel so let’s give it a shot.”

Learning skills like how to fly and even weather monitoring, since the start of this program, the ATC has certified 18 students with their drone licensing. Instructors say they’re always amazed at how much students learn and the new skills that they walk away with.

Course Instructor Anthony Need, with AINautics, says,  “A lot of things are being done by drones and you have to be a licensed pilot. So to have that at 16, 17 years of age, where you don’t have to go out and pay an instructor, they offer the same class in college but they charge a lot more for it.”

Students say they are proud to have gotten a pilot’s license, at a young age.

One student, Robert Thomas says, “I’m really proud of it I didn’t know there were certificates to get in a field like this — so I’m really happy about getting that.”

Another student, Jonathan Hopkins saying, “It just sounded cool to me. You know how to fly drones and stuff. It seems like a nice… since it’s an up-and-coming career and stuff, so it’s not a lot of people doing it, and you still make good money and all that. So it’s a really good back up career to have training in.”

Leaders say this isn’t an easy certificate to get and they’re proud that these high school students were able to take this course.

“I want to say congratulations to the students and thank you. Thank you for putting your trust in us, your trust in ATC and AINautics and we appreciate your hard work and dedication and they just stamped their ticket for a bright future,” says Roveri.

In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson has more on what this accomplishment means.



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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.

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