I have mixed emotions about this next story. While I’m a big supporter of STEM programs for children, I’m not sure where I see drones fitting in. While there are educational specific drones like Eedu, designed for STEM, purchasing a drone of the shelf at your local electronics store isn’t the same thing. When you purchase most hobbyist drones today, you are purchasing a dangerous piece of equipment. When you build your own from scratch, unless you have the right experience or supervision, drones have the potential to be even more dangerous.
I recently reported on a drone racing event in Tempe, Arizona, where a 14 year old was constructing and racing his own drones. Impressive, but is it safe? Now in Augusta, South Carolina, the Augusta Remote Control Academy and The Clubhouse in downtown Augusta have teamed up to encourage children to build and fly their own drones. The youngest child referenced in the story, 10 years old. With the FAA requiring commercial drone pilots to be 17 years or older (with a valid Section 333 Exemption), 10 years old seems to be a little young in my opinion. What’s yours?
Drones University started Monday and it is a camp hosted by Augusta Remote Control Academy and The Clubhouse in downtown Augusta. Middle and high school students will construct and fly their own drones.
Vernon Horne, the owner and founder says that it is important to stimulate children’s minds early. He believes that giving them the exposure to science related or technology-related things will “plant a little seed” for something they want to do in the future. Some are 10 years old and already able to solder the wiring for a tiny air craft.
Frannie Kennedy is 10 years old and said, “I’m excited about the creativity and the freedom to do whatever I can do these and keep trying”.
Try after try on this flying on the simulation device is getting them ready to safely fly their own drones on Friday.
The FAA has many regulations about how, when and where drove devices can be flown, but these children are expanding their mind while having fun at the same time.