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Commercial Drone Program; Curriculum Deep Dive

March 1, 2024 — 6 minutes

DroneBlocks stands as a beacon of innovation with its state-of-the-art Commercial Drone Program. This initiative is not merely an addition to the educational toolkit; it is a comprehensive, forward-thinking solution designed to seamlessly blend with STEM and CTE curriculums, setting a new benchmark for educational excellence. By integrating this program, educators are equipped to prepare students for the technological challenges and opportunities of tomorrow, ensuring they are not only participants but leaders in the future workforce.

The DroneBlocks Commercial Drone Program: Bridging Education and Industry

At the heart of our educational philosophy is the Commercial Drone Program, meticulously crafted to provide students with hands-on experience with commercial drones, comprehensive understanding of FAA Part 107 regulations, and the practical application of drone technology in various industries. Tailored for high schools, technical institutes, and educational organizations, this program aims to elevate traditional STEM and CTE curriculums, offering students an unparalleled introduction to the world of commercial drones.

Premier FAA Part 107 Prep Course: A Foundation for Success

Our collaboration with industry luminaries to deliver the leading FAA Part 107 prep course underscores our dedication to academic and professional excellence. Boasting over 100,000 graduates, including professionals from renowned entities such as Amazon, Microsoft, and the US Army, this course is the first step towards certifying students for commercial drone operations in the United States, a critical milestone for entering the drone workforce.

Curriculum Features:

  • Comprehensive Instruction: Our curriculum demystifies complex topics with 210+ video lessons and 15 hours of content, offering students a clear path to understanding and mastery.
  • Exam Preparation: Students gain familiarity with the FAA Part 107 test format through unlimited practice exams and quizzes, significantly enhancing their confidence and likelihood of success.
  • Current Content: Our commitment to accuracy ensures that course materials reflect the latest industry standards, with updates provided by FAA-certified flight instructors.
  • Supportive Community: Study groups and one-on-one instructor support foster a collaborative learning environment, enabling students to deepen their understanding and navigate challenges effectively.

Mastering the Skies: Practical Drone Operations

Achieving FAA Part 107 certification is merely the beginning. Our curriculum extends into practical drone operations, with the Drone Maneuvers Mastery lessons teaching students over 50 complex maneuvers.

This comprehensive training goes beyond the foundational knowledge required for FAA Part 107 certification, delving into the intricacies of drone piloting through the Drone Maneuvers Mastery lessons. Here, students embark on a journey to learn and perfect over 50 complex maneuvers, equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate the diverse challenges of drone operations.

Drone Maneuvers Mastery Lessons

The Drone Maneuvers Mastery lessons are structured to provide a progressive learning experience. Starting with basic maneuvers for beginners, the curriculum advances through intermediate, advanced, and expert levels, each designed to incrementally build the student’s confidence and skill set. This tiered approach facilitates a deep understanding of drone dynamics, control sensitivity, and environmental factors affecting flight.

Core Areas of Focus:
  • Precision Flight Training: Students learn to execute precise movements, such as hovering, yaw turns, and figure eights, which are fundamental for accurate and controlled drone operations.
  • Obstacle Navigation: The lessons include training on navigating around and through obstacles, simulating real-world scenarios where precision and spatial awareness are key.
  • Advanced Aerial Cinematography Techniques: For students interested in drone videography, the curriculum covers advanced flight patterns that enhance aerial footage, including orbiting, tracking shots, and panoramic captures.
  • Emergency Procedures: Emphasizing safety, the course teaches students how to respond to unforeseen flight conditions, including sudden weather changes and technical failures, ensuring preparedness for any situation.
Hands-on Approach

The practical drone operations segment is characterized by its hands-on approach. Students are given ample opportunity to practice the maneuvers they learn in a controlled environment, with access to state-of-the-art drone technology. This direct experience is crucial for ingraining the skills taught, allowing students to transition seamlessly from theoretical knowledge to practical application.

Expanding Horizons: Drone Mapping, Modeling, and Surveying

Recognizing the vast commercial potential of drones, our program includes an in-depth series on Drone Mapping, Modeling, and Surveying. These courses equip students with the skills needed to undertake valuable projects in sectors such as agriculture and construction, turning theoretical knowledge into tangible, marketable skills.

This series delves into the practical applications of drone technology, preparing students to execute projects that have a profound impact on industries such as agriculture, construction, environmental monitoring, and urban planning. Through this curriculum, students transform their theoretical drone knowledge into practical, in-demand skills, making them valuable assets in the workforce.

Drone Mapping Foundations

This foundational course introduces students to the world of drone mapping, providing them with the essential knowledge needed to start offering drone mapping services. Key topics include:

  • Flight Planning: Students learn how to plan flights to capture optimal imagery for mapping, considering factors such as weather, terrain, and the specific requirements of the project.
  • Software Proficiency: The course covers the use of leading drone mapping software platforms like DroneDeploy, Pix4D, and Metashape, teaching students how to process captured images into detailed maps and models.
  • Client Communication: Effective communication skills are emphasized, ensuring students can understand and meet the needs of clients, from the initial consultation through to the delivery of final map products.

Drone Surveying Made Easy

Building on the mapping foundations, this course dives into the specifics of drone surveying, highlighting the precision and accuracy required for survey-grade projects. Students explore:

  • Overcoming GPS Limitations: Techniques to enhance the accuracy of drone surveys, including the use of Ground Control Points (GCPs) and the differences between PPK (Post-Processed Kinematic) and RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) GPS.
  • Creating Advanced Deliverables: Instruction on generating detailed survey reports and outputs, such as contour maps, Digital Surface Models (DSMs), and more, using advanced software tools.
  • Practical Application: Hands-on projects that simulate real-world surveying scenarios, enabling students to apply learned concepts and refine their skills.

Drone Modeling Made Easy

The course on drone modeling focuses on the creation of detailed 3D models, which are increasingly sought after in various sectors for purposes such as inspection, site planning, and virtual tours. Students gain expertise in:

  • Modeling Techniques: Strategies for capturing high-quality imagery suitable for 3D modeling, including manual and automated flight paths.
  • Software Skills: Training on processing imagery to create accurate 3D models using industry-standard software like Bentley ContextCapture and Pix4D.
  • Integration of Data: Techniques for combining aerial drone data with ground-based photography to create seamless, comprehensive digital twins of structures and landscapes.

Entrepreneurial Pathways: Drone Business Skills

The Drone Business Skills module is an integral part of our curriculum, meticulously crafted to transition students from drone enthusiasts to savvy drone entrepreneurs. This segment is not just about flying drones; it’s about understanding the market, identifying opportunities, and executing strategies that lead to successful business ventures.

Comprehensive Learning Experience

With over 100 video lectures totaling more than 7 hours of instruction, this module covers every aspect of starting and running a drone business. From the initial steps of drafting a business plan to the complexities of operational management and marketing strategies, students receive a holistic education that addresses the key pillars of business success in the drone industry.

Key Areas of Focus:
  • Business Planning and Development: Students learn how to create robust business plans that outline their business objectives, market analysis, financial planning, and growth strategies. This foundational knowledge is crucial for securing investments and navigating the early stages of business setup.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Understanding the legal landscape, including FAA regulations, local laws, and privacy concerns, is essential for operating a drone business. This module provides insights into navigating these complexities, ensuring that students are prepared to operate within legal boundaries.
  • Marketing and Client Acquisition: In a competitive market, effective marketing strategies and client acquisition tactics are vital. Students explore digital marketing, networking, and customer relationship management techniques tailored to the drone industry, empowering them to build and expand their customer base.
  • Operational Management: Efficient operations are the backbone of any successful business. This section delves into logistics, fleet management, maintenance schedules, and safety protocols, offering students a blueprint for managing day-to-day business operations effectively.

A Curriculum Tailored for the Future

The DroneBlocks Commercial Drone Program is not just an educational initiative; it is a commitment to the future of our students. By aligning with CTE and STEM goals, we offer educators a powerful tool to enhance their curriculums, fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. This program prepares students for successful careers in the rapidly evolving drone industry, ensuring they are well-equipped to meet and surpass the challenges of tomorrow.

As we continue to refine and expand our curriculum, our focus remains on providing a comprehensive, hands-on, and application-oriented learning experience. By embracing the DroneBlocks Commercial Drone Program, educators and institutions are taking a significant step towards future-proofing their students’ education, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and certifications needed to excel in the burgeoning drone industry. Join us on this transformative journey, and together, let’s shape the future of drone education and technology.

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