Gavilan launches first drone aviation classby on Aug 4, 2017
From Leonardo Da Vinci's creative drawings to the Wright brothers' test runs at Kitty Hawk, humans have imagined the freedom of flight.
Gavilan College will offer the first of four drone (unmanned aircraft systems, UAS) classes beginning in the Fall 2017 semester. Designed as a career pathway in tandem with Aircraft Maintenance Technology, students study technical operations, ethical issues, FAA regulations and the myriad data-driven applications drones generate for businesses today.
Drone aviation instructor Michael Bonillas launched a drone in the Gavilan College
athletic fields to capture aerial photography and videography of the Giloy campus.
Drone technology is emerging as a new career pathway in aviation
Sherrean Carr, Dean of Career Technical Education (CTE), incubated this new program. "We originated the drone classes as a pathway for more students to enroll in Aviation Maintenance Technology," she said. "Credit for the vision belongs with Dr. Kathleen Rose," Gavilan College superintendent and president.
To date Gavilan's CTE has developed curriculum for four drone classes, with plans for three more leading to a certificate degree program.
• Intro to Drones, Unmanned Air Systems
• Drone/UAS Flight Operations and Certification
• Drone/UAS Aerial Photography and Videography
• Drone/UAS Maintenance Technician
Curriculum for the additional classes in the planning stages includes advanced data processing, sensor and payload capability, designing and building your own drone, and drones in business and industry.
New instructor and drone entrepreneur Michael Bonillas brings early licensing and adoption plus industry knowledge of the field. He contracts with major ag growers in the Central Valley to inspect and monitor thousands of acres of tomatoes, corn and cotton.
In addition to agriculture, Carr sees first responder, entrepreneur and GIS applications
Bonillas received early FAA licensing for drone flight as well as night flight, rarely issued. As he builds the curriculum and acquires additional equipment, including a fixed wing drone, he plans to link drone students and AMT students.
Bonillas maneuvered a small drone between the Gavilan College gym and tennis courts.
On the horizon, Bonillas plans to introduce drone students to the UC Merced drone program, a leader in the field, and to the UC Venture Lab.
Fall classes are scheduled for Saturday mornings at the Coyote Valley satellite campus. View an aerial video of the facility and sign up for Intro to Drones/UAS.