South Hills leads the charge into commercial drone technology opportunities!


Register to attend our upcoming FREE Drone Pro-Pilot Information Session in State College to get a sneak peek! Space is limited, so click here to reserve your spot.
The Drone Pro-Pilot Flight School at our State College main campus is the first of its kind in Central Pennsylvania. You will learn from a professional drone pilot who uses state-of-the-art equipment. Our classes will teach you how to fly safely and will step you through all of the material that you'll need to know to be prepared to take the FAA Part 107 Drone Commercial Pilot Test.

"See It Our Way" drone video by Drone Pro-Pilot Flight School Instructor, Chuck Ferrell of Pennsylvania Sky Ops.

This 18-hour class is for students with some small unmanned aircraft system flight experience and will include 12 hours of test-prep classroom training (Ground School) and 6 hours of instructor-led flying practice (Flight School). The $495 fee includes workbooks. Students will fly DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Aircraft during practice sessions.

In This Class Students Will Learn:

  • Key Information for Exam
  • Resources for Exam Information
  • Proper Flight Techniques
  • Manual & Programmed Auto Flight
  • Requirements for Commercial Flight

This class is currently scheduled to run twice in Fall 2017:

  • September 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30
  • October 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28

Curriculum Details

The Ground School classroom portion will cover all of the materials that need to be understood in order to pass the certification test. Students must understand that if they wish to pass the test, study and reading outside of class will be required.

The Flight School portion will be a “hands-on” flying experience with the instructor present and will cover the proper and safe controlled flying using both manual and automatic features. There is an expectation that the student will have some previous flying experience.

Future classes may include Beginning Flying for Hobbyists, Advanced Pro-Piloting Techniques, and mission-specific flying classes such as:

  • Field Mapping
  • Testing Software & Flight Patterns
  • Drone Customization
  • Advanced Videography
  • Search & Rescue

Pre-flight Checklist

Click to Expand

This pre-flight checklist is a safety procedure required by the FAA and will be stressed in class.

Even if the small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) manufacturer has a written preflight inspection procedure, it is recommended that the Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC) ensure that the following inspection items are incorporated into the preflight inspection procedure required by part 107 to help the Remote PIC determine that the sUAS is in a condition for safe operation. Conduct a preflight visual or functional check of the aircraft, including (but not limited to) the steps below.

  • Visually inspect the condition of the unmanned aircraft system components
  • Inspect the airframe structure
  • Inspect registration markings for proper display and legibility
  • Inspect servo motor(s), including attachment point(s)
  • Inspect the propulsion system, including engines(s), propeller(s)
  • Verify all systems (e.g. aircraft, control unit) have an adequate energy supply for the intended operation and are functioning properly
  • Inspect the avionics, including control link transceiver, communication/navigation equipment and antenna(s)
  • Calibrate UAS compass prior to any flight
  • Check that the display panel, if used, is functioning properly
  • Check ground support equipment, including takeoff and landing systems, for proper operation
  • Check that control link correct functionality is established between the aircraft and the control station
  • Check on board navigation and communication data links
  • Check battery levels for the aircraft and control station
  • Check that any equipment, such as a camera, is securely attached
  • Verify communication with UAS and that the UAS has acquired GPS location from at least 4 satellites
  • Start the UAS propellers to inspect for any imbalance or irregular operation
  • If required by flight path walk through, verify any noted obstructions that may interfere with the UAS
  • At a controlled low altitude, fly within range of any interference and recheck all controls and stability

Meet the Instructor

Chuck Ferrell

FAA Certified Drone Pilot & Media Entrepreneur

During a 25-year career in local television news, Chuck earned the reputation for being a high-energy, innovative news executive with a track record of consistently producing high quality stories and newscasts. Whether Chuck is flying a news assignment, a luxury home, or video for a TV commercial, he’s always looking for new angles and views by hand-flying and not relying on the orbit or zip line shots common to automated flight software. But if the mission is mapping an orchard, or a thermal image inspection, Chuck’s attention to detail makes the difference. Chuck is also an experienced teacher and masterful communicator. You will enjoy learning with Chuck leading the way!