Man teaching boy about operating a drone

Josh Levy (in yellow vest), an unmanned aerial systems analyst at the UH Applied Research Laboratory, instructs a young participant at Drone Boot Camp 2019 as another youth awaits his turn.

Pilots of unmanned aerial systems (UAS)—whether professional or recreational, certified or beginner, or just the curious—converged at the Les Murakami Stadium at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa to work on their drone piloting skills.

Said Kainoa Rosenberg, 10, of Drone Boot Camp 2019, “I had a lot of fun! It was a lot of information about where to fly your drone and how to be safe with your drone.”

Man instructs boy operating drone

Instructor Josh Levy and a young drone operator watch an unmanned aerial system take flight.

Hosted by the UH Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), with assistance from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, the June 11 event started with a call-to-action from Rep. Gene Ward, state House Minority Leader, and Scott Allen, representing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They encouraged participants to take ownership and responsibility in piloting their drones through Hawaiʻi skies.

Josh Levy, UAS analyst at ARL, covered important FAA rules for safe flying and shared useful tips for drone operators. The participants then headed to the outfield, where experienced UAS pilots provided one-on-one flight training instruction to participants using their own aircraft.

“There are so many possibilities for using UAS these days, it’s really exciting,” said Margo Edwards, ARL director. “But we must also be mindful of the need to operate in ways that are safe and considerate of others, including the beautiful setting around us. ARL is pleased to be able to support our community in developing expertise in UAS operations.”

Group shot of drone camp participants and instructors

Drone Boot Camp 2019 participants and instructors.