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Racine high school drone program is ready for launch

Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 29, 2021

RACINE — Imagination is taking off at a Racine high school.

"Well, this is the future of technology. These drones aren’t going anywhere," aviation teacher at William Horlick High School, James Bucholtz, said.

Horlick High School is about to launch a new drone course. It's still a pilot program, but it should be offered full-time to students in the fall.

Horlick High School has multiple real-world-based curriculums called Academies. In the fall, the drone course will be available to students in the aviation pathway.

The goal of this new class will be to introduce students to the possibilities and capabilities associated with drones and to potentially generate interest in a related field. Plus, the class will help them get their Part 107 license. It's an FAA license that allows someone to fly commercially.

Drone
A drone flying above the Horlick HS football field.

"Major companies are coming out with drone technology. Police and fire are starting to use drone technology, and it's engaging to the students. They have a real interest in learning about this technology," Bucholtz said.

Some of the possible job fields include: agriculture, mapping, real estate, marketing, rescue operations, and education, to name a few.

"To be honest, photography. That’s what I see myself in, because the camera is so neat and the feet per second is so on point," senior Jayonte Lewis said.

The school was able to make this possible through a roughly $6,700 grant from CNH Industrial, a worldwide industrial engineering company. They have a fleet of various-sized drones. Some can fit in the palm of your hand while others need both hands to carry, like the DJI Phantom.

Drones
Several of the drones that Horlick High School in Racine was able to buy thanks to roughly $6,700 grant.

“I got the hang of it little by little. Once it was up in the sky, it felt very good," Araceli Beltran, a junior, said after flying her first drone on Thursday.

While she wants to be a commercial airline pilot, she likes the idea of a drone class.

“One thing they do have in common from the ground, on up they fly away,” she joked.

The cool factor gets students interested and hopefully inspires them to explore an industry they didn't think of before.

“The whole premise of the academy was to get kids real-world experience in hard-to-employ career fields," aviation teacher Bucholtz said.

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