Mountain Home NJROTC launches drone competition for the new school year
Mountain Home’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) unit will host a drone competition that will see eight units from four states compete in five events for the “DRONAGEDDON” traveling trophy.
The NJROTC units competing on February 5 will be from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
“We’re going to make admission free, and we’ll have a donation bucket there if people want to donate,” said Jason Williams, NJROTC instructor. “It’s huge for the ROTC. There are so many schools that I had to turn down. Schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida wanted to join the competition. We kind of wanted to stay. small this year because it’s our first. ”
The program is part of a larger effort by the Navy’s ROTC program to engage students in drone flight. Williams, a former chief petty officer in the US Navy, flew drones to support MARSOC and ODA units on an 18-month tour of Afghanistan.
He said his goal was to have students receive their recreational and commercial drone licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration, which should help them find jobs in the $ 60,000 to $ 90,000 range.
“With some of these kids, if we can get them Type 107, the commercial drone operator, these guys are looking to make around $ 64,000 upon graduation,” Williams said. “So the guys who make drones for realtors make about 64, and the guys who do drones for power lines and pipeline inspections, these guys are making between $ 80,000 and $ 90,000 a year.”
To become a commercial drone pilot, a person must pass the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 test. For students to take the exam, they must be at least 16 years old, speak and write English, and be in good physical and mental health.
Students must then pay $ 160 and pass the initial aviation knowledge exam: “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)”. They will have to retake the test every 24 months to prove that they have retained their knowledge.
Students can expect to be tested on airspace classification and operational requirements, flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operations, and radio communication procedures.
Drug testing is also required to obtain a license. Students looking for a recreational permit can pay a fee of $ 5 to receive the permit. No testing is required.
“So at this time, I’m not recommending anyone under the age of 16,” Williams said. “Even then, due to the additional training required every two years, I’m only looking to recruit juniors and seniors. But we are trying to make sure that everyone gets their recreational license for all cadets who are interested in drones.
Williams is currently in the process of receiving her Business License and hopes to expand the program to become a full class that can be taught during the school semester.
He is also seeking funding to help cover the cost of the license for students at Mountain Home High School. The school’s NJROTC program is currently not funded by the Navy due to a decline in student participation in recent years.
The program needs 100 cadets to receive funding from the Navy. It currently has 73 students enrolled.
“These are the ones from the competitions, and the ones next to them are the academic ones,” Williams said while displaying a drone brochure. “They are allowed to buy. As I am not a funded unit I had to pay this out of our budget as it was not planned. It is money that I have to withdraw from elsewhere.