I spent the week teaching my son how to swim. I have very little drone news. I finished another round of paperwork for a job offer. I enrolled in a teacher certification program to teach general science. Pythagorean cheeseburgers times a joke about Boomers equals you’re done. I have been reacquainting myself with the GoPro (Figure 1), and I am getting ready for a blow-out weekend of filming. During the past week, I found myself troubled by violence in society. It is difficult to normalize all of the trauma unfolding in this country. Ruminating on the 1/6 commission, the Ukraine War, rando shootings, and crazy inflation is stressful. Monkeypox can just get in line.
I need a vacation. I went running a couple of days ago to get it out of my system. I ran trail in Copper’s Rock State Forest. I ran about 3 miles out, and had a 4-mile fartlek back, trying different blazed trails. Then I relaxed with some taco-flavored crickets, watermelon, and a root beer. Believe it or not, no one steals my lunch at work, either. Figures 2 – n are from the past week.
Drone Cinematography Classes!
So, everyone who attempted the test passed and earned an FAA TRUST certificate. We tested through a site administered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University because I support their UAV technology courses.
The three days I participated as a volunteer instructor at Verticals were as follows: April 28th, May 5th and May 12th, 2022. I guided students through the process of learning how to safely fly drones in uncontrolled airspace. Two students flew my professional drone over the nearby Monongahela River, by an old truss bridge. One landed the professional drone, wow! On the first day! We planned a video with storyboards and a huddle on production elements. They brainstormed, scheduled shots, got gear, and produced the footage. One the last day, students edited and shared footage.
I basically hustled parts, minor repairs, battery charging, and network connections to and from supply to the production locations. I answered questions. One team was outside the building, another inside. I invited students to explore their own styles. They had fun. The teams erupted with creativity and effort. I had hoped to use the course module in a creative writing lesson or a programming lesson. The presentation that I use sort of serves as a class rubric, but I supply the students with worksheets to plan their productions step-by-step.
I learned some crucial limitations and opportunities for the next session. The most valuable thing is to have a report formatted to assign communication channels, teams, roles, and work schedules. Safety issues were routinely handled successfully. All craft and pilots, tablets and other parts of the Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) made it back in the box, so to speak. All inventory recovered, repairs and orders made, all data shared in the cloud, students back in their districts, rooms ready for the next class.
Verticals is a local community development center that gives kids a choice of after-school programs that enrich young lives and provide a sense of pride in community. A link to the group is provided. Some school districts, like Monessen and Brownsville, pony up transportation. It makes a huge difference to the kids, and I am grateful to meet the van drivers. They like the class, too!
- How to fly recreational drones with basic and advanced maneuvers.
- How to plan flights for capturing media.
- Get the soon-to-be mandatory – and EASILY OBTAINED – TRUST flyer certificate from the FAA, online for free.
- How to film, edit, and share a video you make with drone footage and apps.
- How to fly a drone with Scratch Python block code.
- Provide information about industrial drone applications and jobs.
Local Resource in Action
Community groups will have some authority to determine the nature of its flight operations in local airspace come this fall 2022. As long as a responsible pilot is connected to the group, the area can develop flight operations that best suits the needs of the group. A FRIA is basically an area supported by a Part 107 drone pilot or more qualified pilots. The FAA determines the location and quality of FRIAs.
I can see a drone academy being a part of an 21st-century community, so I am studying what we need to do to qualify to become a FRIA. I have a break from school in a month, and I like to read legislation. One of the problems is that it’s not 1986 anymore. These rules were written before the Internet absolutely debased the concept of community. It used to involve, at the very least, physical mail for remote correspondence, on land lines, even. Brick and mortar have given way to ones and zeros. The architecture is in an electric field instead of a dirt lot. “Model aviation” was a concept that existed before FPV, before streaming, before smart phones, before laptops. Ridiculous changes continue to occur and need to occur more quickly because of climate change.
- (1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
- (2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
- (3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
- (4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
- (5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
- (6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.
Time to learn
Topics in the Verticals Youth Empowerment program include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, digital fabrication, coding, media production, design studio, blockchain, and crypto. Courses in the topics are presented alongside fitness and wellness resources. The center director is retired NFL pro-football player William James, who stepped off the gridiron and into a new life arena. William has an amazing base of supporters, collaborators, volunteers, and stakeholders who help make this happen. Very grateful.
Verticals Youth Empowerment Center is designed to stimulate young minds, give parents an inclusive environment in which to socialize, and to offer youth a sense of pride in themselves and their community. There are other facilities in the works.