virtual summer camp drone Kansas State

This virtual summer camp will teach teens about drones

Update: this course has since been cancelled after the post was written. While it’s not the same, you may be interested in an online drone photo course or a Part 107 online course instead.

Looking for something for your kid to do this summer that involves virtual learning — but that’s actually fun and relevant? Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is offering a virtual summer camp called UAS Virtual Academy, a weeklong course designed for teens to learn anything and everything about drones.

The course runs from June 21-25, and it is open to students ages 14 to 17. And it’s just $49. Though hurry, as registration closes on June 11.

You can expect to learn a range of drone-related skills, including foundational aviation skills, flight maneuvers, safety procedures, and photography and videography basics. You will have to provide your own drone for the practical component.

Those who successfully complete the program will be prepared to transition to a collegiate UAS degree program if desired, so they can eventually receive a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate and land a career in drones.

A trend of virtual drone summer camps

In past years, K-State Polytechnic has offered physical summer camps for teens. Take the 2019 four-day high school pilot summer camp, then-called Fly K-State Academy, which ran for a week and included all program supplies and instruction, 3.5 hours of flight time and 1 hour of simulator time, all meals and lodging in K-State Polytechnic residence halls. That course was $1,200, versus $49 for this 2021 virtual version.

In past years, K-State has held in-person drone summer camps.

But in 2020, K-State launched their virtual version — a trend that many school took on by offering virtual drone summer camps. 2020’s version will be similar to the one happening again this summer. That made drone classes more accessible for students who couldn’t afford the $1,200 tuition, on top of other expenses like the flight there. Perhaps bringing the price down to $49 and making it virtual could be considered one of the unintentionally positive outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kansas State emerging as the de facto leader in drone education

Kansas State University Polytechic Campus has long been a leader in all aspects of drone research, training and education.

The school is a member of the Kansas UAS Joint Task Force, it’s part of the FAA’s UAS Integrated Pilot Program, and it was the first American university to get approved for BVLOS waiver from the FAA — all the way back in 2018. By 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration had granted Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus the ability to fly drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in all Class G airspace nationwide, thanks to a rare waiver.

Additionally, Kansas State Polytechnic was the first university approved for commercial drone flight training, and they’re the first university to offer beyond visual line of sight training to students. Students fly drones for real-world use cases, such as supporting the school’s football team.

The school is also certified under the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI). and has received more than a million dollars from the FAA to support drone research.

To sign up for the Kansas State Virtual Summer Camp, visit polytechnic.k-state.edu/uas-academy. Registration closes at noon on June 11.


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