As drones are increasingly utilized across various industries – including real estate, agriculture, construction, security, and the military – students are preparing for the future with the help of Central High School’s ROTC program.
One cadet, sophomore Brodie Hackworth, took an instant interest in flying drones, and has even earned his Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The test is comparable to a driver’s test, according to Hackworth, with a knowledge-based section that focuses on airspace rules and regulations, weather, and aerodynamics, and an aeronautical section which requires flying the drone.
As a certified drone pilot, Hackworth has been able to work with local Realtors to take photos and videos of their listings from the sky.
“I could take that and work for Realtors or commercial tower inspectors, inspecting radio towers, or even agricultural fields,” he said.
Hackwork is also a member of the CHS drone team, which competes against other schools in the area. Central hosted a competition last weekend that included an obstacle course and a relay race. Bearden High School competed with two teams against Central’s three teams.
Photo Credit: John Valentine
“We’ve been training for the past few months to get ready for this competition,” he said. Hackworth and his teammate won the competition.
Central’s ROTC instructor Russell Bazemore introduced drones to the program in the spring of last year as a way to draw more students to participate in ROTC.
“We’ve had pretty good interest in it. I think kids are naturally drawn to this kind of technology,” Bazemore said. “We’ve tried to advertise that we will help them get the FAA drone pilot’s license, which is what Brodie got not too long ago. I think it’s helped bring in some kids.”
Bazemore believes learning this technology early on in his career will help Hackworth, whether he pursues his dream of attending the Naval Academy or decides to use his skills in the public sector.
“I think it will look fantastic on his resume because people know how much discipline it takes to pass this test, especially with someone so young,” Bazemore said. “I think Brodie has aspirations to be a naval aviator, and this is a great first step. He’s exposed to aviation terms and weather. He’s one step ahead already.”