Syracuse, N.Y. — A company that trains aerial drone pilots across the country is launching classes in Central New York.
Dartdrones will offer a free, two-hour introductory class on Aug. 8. Its full-day classes cost $500 and cover a variety of drone-related topics.
Registration for the free class is available online. The location will be announced later.
Dates and registration information for the full-day classes are available on Dart’s website.
Dart got its start in 2014. It grew from a business competition at Babson College near Boston.
Dart won $20,000 in the contest and now offers training on flying drones in 22 states.
The company provides a drone for students to practice with during its classes, but many trainees bring their own, said Abby Speicher, Dart CEO and co-founder.
The courses include classroom time on all the rules and regulations surrounding commercial drone flight.
“We make sure they really understand where they can fly legally,” Speicher said. “It’s very complex.”
The hands-on portion of the class includes an agility course where students perform various maneuvers under the supervision of instructors.
Speicher graduated from Babson with a master’s in business administration in entrepreneurship earlier this year.
Her co-founder, Chris Costello, has spent 28 years in the Army National Guard. He has served as a mission planner and operations officer for a battalion that used drones.
Costello, Dart’s chief training officer, estimated 80 percent of the company’s students have a commercial idea in mind for their drone use.
“You certainly can’t wing it,” he said. “If you do, you’re likely to get yourself in trouble.”
The Federal Aviation Administration chose Central New York in 2013 as one of six national test sites that will help develop technology to integrate drones into the national air space. The local site focuses on sense-and-avoid technology that helps drones fly safely and share the skies with commercial aircraft.
Academic and industry partners are involved in research on the topic and drone test flights take place at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.