Students learn drone skills at CVTC

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is one of 16 sites across the U.S. offering in-person recreational drone tests.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is an FAA requirement for people who want to start flying recreationally.

Though people can take the exam online, CVTC offers a once-a-week month-long in-person course teaching new pilots how to fly their drones. The college also offers advanced certification programs for people looking to fly commercially.

“I’ve always enjoyed radio control things, cars, boats and stuff, and I also enjoy photography and most of flying a drone is about filming, taking pictures or video,” said CVTC drone program student Ron Hartl.

He completed an advanced class Wednesday. Once he passes a test, he’ll be able to use his drone to make money. He already pass TRUST.

“I thought maybe I could pick up a few dollars on the side here and there doing maybe pictures for real estate, for realtors that are selling houses and for whatever else market there is,” Hartl said.

The drone program’s instructor, Shawn Creviston, said people can get their commercial certification online but there’s a difference between getting certified and knowing how to fly a drone.

“Most people want to be able to do something with the drone,” he said. “Taking pictures, video, stuff like that, is pretty important for a recreational flyer so we focus on those skills that is not included in the TRUST exam.”

He said the two more advanced courses offered teach students more technical and commercial uses for a drone.

As the technology keeps evolving, Creviston said flying is becoming a more important real-world job skill.

“I’m starting to see more postings that would be ‘Ok, we need, you know, somebody to do agriculture, but if you have drone experience, you know, that’s going to be an added benefit.’ So you’re still doing your primary job. The drones are going to be another tool. The energy sector for, you know, utility services,” he said.

Hartl has some advice for people interested in learning to fly.

“Definitely take that basic class,” he said. “They got all the drones here, you don’t need any of your own equipment and it’s a good time. It really is.”

Classes are offered from May through September. The next open entry-level class doesn’t start until May 2022. For more information on the program, click here.

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