FAIRFIELD TWP. – Drone technology is the focus of a summer camp for children created by a Lakota East High School graduate.
Butler Tech is partnering with Drone Camp to offer three-day sessions beginning June 1 at its D. Russel Lee Career Technology School campus in Fairfield Township.
The year-old company was co-founded by Matt King, a 2013 Lakota East graduate and Ball State University senior. A certified drone pilot, King will head the team of instructors at each camp session.
“Within 30 minutes of coming to camp the students have their first takeoff – they’ll go at least 20 feet up,” said King, a West Chester Township resident. “We’re really excited to bring this camp to Butler County. I’m coming back to my roots.”
Open to children ages 7 to 15, including those with special needs or in wheelchairs, there will be no more than 20 campers at each session. Participants will learn not only the technology behind drones, but also the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules and regulations about flying them.
“Drones are no longer just a toy for amusement. Major companies are heavily investing in research to make drones part of everyday commerce,” said Jon Graft, superintendent and chief executive officer at Butler Tech.
“By hosting Drone Camp this summer, we want to create a fun environment that gives girls and boys an early comfort level with drones, which will have more career applications when they are adults.”
At camp participants will take part in drone missions that include races; aerial scavenger hunts, photography, and videography; virtual reality; along with taking apart and putting back together drones.
“The drones we’re flying can go 400 feet into the air and up to 35 miles per hour,’’ King said. “We’re going to be doing search and rescue missions for objects that will be hidden in the field.”
As part of the program, each participant will build and take home a drone, King said.
Campers will have to pass two flight tests to earn their honorary Junior Drone Pilot wings in an ending ceremony.
Camp sessions are run from Monday through Wednesdays or from Thursdays through Saturdays beginning June 1, with the last session beginning July 31.
Sessions run from either 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1-4 p.m. and include lunch. Cost is $310.