We do not need a crystal ball or tea leaves to tell us that drones will become more and more a part of our daily lives. Everything from currently expanding uses in public safety, agriculture, and photography to upcoming package delivery and many other uses we have not even imagined will need capable drone pilots.
This is where STEMPilot and SAFEDrone is getting ahead of the game by creating a forward-thinking learning experience for students from kindergarten to high school to begin preparing for these careers today, right in their classrooms.
STEMPilot and SAFEDrone education is not a basic “how-to-fly-a-drone” class — it even soars above the many online and classroom classes offering Part 107 training.
The combination of learning elements, lesson plans, and hardware give a complete bumper-to-bumper learning experience, according to Jay Leboff of the Waterbury, Connecticut-based company.
“SAFEDrone is designed to be a protocol for schools that want to develop a safe and reliable program,” he says. “Students learn the theory of flight while training on the SAFEDrone simulator.”
The idea is to leverage other STEM concepts, such as geometry, math, and physics and apply these to learning all facets of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies. This deep dive is an innovative way to engage young students in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) in a familiar video game like experience with real-world applications.
Classroom kits include SAFEDrone simulation software and wireless controllers, guarded prop quad-copters, the SAFEDrone Curriculum and Lesson Plan, STEMPilot Curriculum with lesson plans, safety glasses, foam altitude hold post, classroom foam obstacles, landing targets, as well as spare batteries, chargers, and props.
The program requires literally no aviation experience. The beginning programs teach flight fundaments, with students learning all the elements the right way. Students also learn to work in collaborative “Flight Crews” that build team and problem-solving skills.
As the students advance, so do the programs. Actual flying skills are practiced in highly controlled and safe flight environments in a variety of ways, including with simulators and hands-on flying courses.
The youngest students prepare for future flight training using the SAFEDrone simulator, while older students – those in sixth to twelfth grades – fly small quadcopters in the classroom.
The most advanced students can design and fly an obstacle course with the supplied foam classroom obstacles.
The STEMPilot Edustation and Pilot PRO simulation stations come with large HD screens, as well as full lesson plans. The Edustations offer more than 60 different aircraft to practice flying, including airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and drones.
“Teachers are supported with lesson plans using many multi-media links to keep the students engaged,” Leboff adds. “Lesson plans are supplied on a flash drive so they are easy to use with a smart board. Each learning mission has an assessment to validate successful training.”
The system is available not just to schools, but also flying and aviation clubs, STEM labs, and many other groups and organizations.
The future is bright for young drone pilots-in-training, especially those lucky enough to learn all about UAS operations from STEMPilot and SAFEDrone.