Drone Pilot JobsMountain Home NJROTC launches drone competition for new school year

August 25, 2021by helo-10

Mountain Home’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) unit will be hosting a drone competition that will see eight units from four states compete in five events for the “DRONAGEDDON” Traveling Trophy. 

The NJROTC units competing Feb. 5 will hail from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

“We’re going to make it free entry, and we’ll have a donation bucket out there if people want to donate,” said Jason Williams, NJROTC instructor. “It’s huge for ROTCs. There are so many schools that I’ve had to turn down. Schools in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida wanted to join the competition. We wanted to kind of keep it small this year since it’s our first one.” 

The program is a part of a larger effort by the Navy’s ROTC program to get students interested in flying drones. Williams, a former chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, flew drones to support MARSOC and ODA units during an 18-month tour in Afghanistan.  

He said his goal is to have students receive their recreational and commercial drone licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration, which should help them secure jobs in the $60,000 to $90,000 range. 

A cadet flies a drone at Mountain Home High School. The school's NJROTC program is offering students a chance to receive their recreational drone license.

“With some of these kids, if we can get them the type 107, the commercial drone operator, these guys are looking at making like $64,000 right upon graduation,” Williams said. “So, the guys who do drones for realtors make about 64, and the guys who do drones for power lines and pipeline inspections, those guys are making like $80,000 to $90,000 a year.” 

To become a commercial drone pilot, a person must pass the Part 107 Federal Aviation Administration test. For students to take the exam, they must be at least 16 years old, speak and write English, and be in good physical and mental health.  

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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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