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Northeast Times | November 29, 2021

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Keller ISD Joins North Central Texas Aerial Robotics Initiative

Keller ISD Joins North Central Texas Aerial Robotics Initiative

Keller ISD Career and Technical Education has recently partnered in a new learning opportunity as one of 10 regional school districts sharing a $700,000 federal grant award for the North Central Texas Aerial Robotics STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative.

Fellow districts in the aerial robotics program include Fort Worth, Azle, Birdville, Crowley, Cleburne, Grapevine-Colleyville, Hurst Euless Bedford, Era and Strawn. Partners in the project also include Bell Helicopter, American Airlines, Tarrant County College District, Interlink North Central Texas and Tarrant County Workforce Solutions.

With KISD’s proximity to Alliance Airport, enriching the District’s Aerospace Engineering/Robotics courses by incorporating the study of aerial robotics (drones) has been a popular discussion for some time. After having secured two commercial grade drones with a previous grant, KISD’s participation in the NCTX Aerial Robotics STEM Initiative was the next step in providing students valuable opportunities in an emerging industry.

Aerospace Engineering and Robotics students will soon be able to achieve certification as a Federal Aviation Administration 107 drone pilot. Instruction will be introduced in the second semester of the 2019-20 school year will be focused on drone training and all the aspects involved in ultimately achieving the industry-level certification.
“The aerial robotics initiative is simply another emerging pathway that our students can now prepare for as they explore this technology. We have used drones in our aerospace, robotics, and senior level practicum courses previously, and we are excited to now offer the ability to have our students get licensed and possibly make it their profession as they move on to the next phase of life,” said Leslee Shepherd, Executive Director of Student Advancement. “We are thrilled about this partnership, and look forward to outstanding results from this new addition to our offerings for Keller ISD students.”

In achieving the FAA 107 certification, Keller ISD students will be licensed to operate drones that can transport up to 55 pounds in weight. They will be learning about drone construction, programming, flight planning, and the many different aspects of avionics. Students graduating with their FAA 107 license may continue to post-secondary training and pursue degrees in geographic information systems, aviation engineering and unmanned systems applications — or go straight into the workforce.

Class sets of drones, from the very basic to a high-end unmanned aircraft for advanced training will be used in hands-on instruction in preparing students for the certification test. Participation in this initiative will also allow Keller ISD students to showcase their knowledge and skills, presenting at a booth at the Alliance Air Show – STEM Discovery Zone Powered by Lockheed Martin, in October 2019.