Students excited to fly drones in West Virginia High School Program

On Wednesday morning, the Parkersburg High School Robotics Program held a drone flying demonstration by students at the Stadium Field. Thanks to the State of West Virginia and the Wood County Technical Center the high school was able to get a grant to teach students how to fly drones, according to PHS robotics program teacher Steven Reiner. Flying drones is something the students can get very excited about.

Students excited to fly drones in West Virginia High School Program

The Parkersburg High School robotics program was first offered to the students nearly three years ago.

“The students absolutely love it, they love flying drones. They want to exceed the limits of the drones, which is a little scary. So they’re experiencing it for the first time and they’re pretty good about following the rules and regulations.” Reiner said. “We’re going to hopefully work with some other departments in the school to use the drones and hopefully get into the community side of it.”

After receiving approval for the grant, Director Pier Bocchini and the state’s Career Technical Education supervisor, Reiner set out to develop the curriculum and buy the necessary materials. The program takes two years and it is offered to both sophomores and juniors.

Students excited to fly drones in West Virginia High School Program

The program starts with robotics classes to teach the high school students the basic programming skills needed to fly unmanned aircraft. Once that course is successfully completed and if the students want to proceed with the program, they can apply for the drone class.

The drone flying course is taught to groups of 15-20 students, who have designated flight times and will have to fill-in flight data sheets as well as follow the drone safety procedures, reports The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

The School Superintendent Will Hosaflook is proud to offer the PHS Robotics Program to the students.

“We are just excited for the students in Wood County in terms of being creative in coding, engineering and it kind of brings together all the STEAM elements — science, technology, engineering, arts and math.”

Two types of drones are being used in the program. At the beginning of the year, the students will start with the DJI Tello drones and later they will graduate to the larger DJI Mavic Pro drones.

Students excited to fly drones in West Virginia High School Program

Senior Chris Edmons, who is entering his second year in the program and contemplating a career in the drone industry is grateful for the opportunity PHS offers the students.

“I’m just glad the school got to offer it. The tools that we need and everything are expensive. I’m just excited to be able to fly, I’m excited to help Mr. Reiner. I’m just really interested in it,” Edmons said.

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Photo credit: The Parkersburg News and Sentinel / Tyler Bennett

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Haye Kesteloo

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