HINSDALE, N.H. — A new class is coming to Hinsdale Middle High School in the spring semester that will teach students how to operate a drone. Briar Vigneau, a Hinsdale senior, is helping to form the class as part of the Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) program. ELOs are meant to give students hands-on experience outside of the classroom.
The idea for Vigneau's Drone ELO came from his work with Peter Hughes, a math teacher at Hinsdale, to create a curriculum for a drone class. Vigneau hopes to help students learn different aspects of the drone based on a ground school course that he took. "I like flying," Vigneau said. "I can't fly a plane much, so I do drones; they are a close second."
Vigneau said the challenge in developing the class was getting enough knowledge to fill a curriculum schedule. Vigneau said drone flying could be taught quickly but there are aspects that could take much longer.
"I find the best solution is not to speed through it, go slow, have the person demonstrate the skill," said Vigneau.
Hughes, the teacher for the class, said they are going to use a series of drones from small to automated to help the students get a handle on flying the craft. Hughes said Vigneau has played a major role in setting up the class.
"He has been very crucial from his own experience knowing capabilities of different drones from what they can and can't do," said Hughes. "He has been very helpful instructing other students that haven't touched a drone."
Hughes said there are always challenges in creating a new class. "It has not been too bad, so far, being that I have some experience with flight, and I'm a new commercial drone pilot myself," he said. "There are the standard challenges of creating the syllabus and fitting everything in and not have it too short or too long."
Hughes hopes that the class, which begins Jan. 24, will encourage other students to seek out a career in flight. After taking the course, the students should be able to safely operate, mission plan, and post-mission process a medium size drone. They also should be prepared to take the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107c Drone Exam.