Aeronautics

Overview

The Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools’ Aeronautics Program provides an engineering and industry certification platform for students looking to prepare for a career pathway in Aviation Engineering and Flight. 

Our programming in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) partners with industry leaders to ensure aligned, college-ready coursework for students of St. Vrain Valley Schools. 

Beyond industry and higher education involvement, students of the Innovation Center’s Aeronautics Program pursue district-wide STEM connections through the use of aerial drone challenges and competitions.

Check out our YouTube Channel for the latest videos of our work, products, and projects: IC Aeronautics on YouTube

Pathways

The Aeronautics Program currently offers two pathways.  Students have the option to be involved in both depending on individual course load and interest.

The Drone Pathway focuses on student conceptual, practical, and the engineering of drones to be utilized in our Federal Airspace.  Students have the opportunity to earn their FAA Part 107 UAS Commercial Certification.

The Pilot Pathway, endorsed and supported by Aims Community College of Aviation Programs, focuses on the ground training content needed to pass the FAA Private Pilot written exam. With the support of qualified staff and industry Certified Flight Instructors, student pilots can get a step ahead in the career field of becoming a commercial pilot.

Course Offerings

  • No Prerequisites
  • Open to grades 9-10
  • This course is not recommended if you have already taken:
    • Aviation Discovery
    • UAS Flight Concepts and Training
    • Pilot Ground 1

Ever dreamed of flying? Or maybe controlling a drone is more your style? Either way, our “Intro to Aeronautics” class has got you covered! This exciting course is your first step into the vast sky of aviation, mixing cool theory with even cooler hands-on activities. Here’s what you’ll get to explore:

Learn to fly using a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, one of the most popular planes out there. You’ll practice making smart decisions in the air, staying aware of everything around you, managing risks, and controlling the plane like a pro. From the basics of taking off to navigating and landing, we’ve got all the real-world skills you’ll need. 

Drones are more than just fun—they’re the future! We’ll get into everything about drones, from flying them safely to understanding all the different types they come in. You’ll even have the chance to earn your Certified Drone Pilot wings.

About 50% of our time will be spent diving into the brainy stuff behind flying. We’re talking weather patterns, how planes and drones actually stay up in the air, the rules of the skies, and how airports work. Plus, you’ll get hands-on with flight simulators, discover how drones are changing the world, and analyze aircraft design.

Whether you see yourself as a pilot, an aerospace engineer, or a drone expert, this course lays the groundwork for your dreams. You’ll finish with a deep understanding of how to fly, how weather affects flying, and how to navigate the vast airspace.

This course is perfect for anyone with a strong interest in flying, a good work ethic, and a readiness to tackle challenging exercises and problems. By the end, you’ll be equipped to understand how things fly, make smart decisions in the air, and maybe even take the first step towards flying drones professionally.

So, are you ready to take off into the world of aviation? Join us in “Intro to Aeronautics” and start your journey to the skies!

The Drone (UAS) Pathway

  • Prerequisite any ONE of the following:
    • CTE83505 Intro to Aeronautics
    • CTE83150 Flight Concepts and Training (discontinued)
    • CTE83157 Pilot Ground 1 (discontinued)
    • CTE83158 Pilot Ground 2 (discontinued)
    • CTE83160 Aviation Discovery (discontinued)
  • Open to grades 10-12th
  • This is a recommended course for students participating in the Erie High School Aerospace pathway.
    • Year 2 Semester 2 of Erie High School’s Aerospace pathway within their Academy of Engineering & Aerospace

Build your own airplane!  Embark on a  journey of discovery in our Design, Build & Fly Airplanes course! Explore the history of flight, from the Wright brothers’ pioneering achievements to the modern designs of aviation. Uncover the evolution of aerodynamics and learn why airplanes have their distinctive shapes. To ensure that you can be successful and experience the wonder of unpowered flight, we’ll begin by building a simple glider. Next, you’ll take flight to a new level as we move into groups and construct a simple powered RC airplane and learn the reasoning behind aircraft designs.

But the learning doesn’t stop there! After building an RC airplane, we’ll enter into the realm of 2D CAD (Computer-Aided Design). You’ll begin your journey in the art of using CAD software to design and fabricate your very own custom plane design. 

Throughout this hands-on learning experience, you’ll also emphasize safety in RC flying, collaborate on group projects, gain insights from industry experts, and showcase your achievements with an end of semester exhibition. Whether you’re interested in engineering or simply curious about aviation, get ready to take off and explore the world of flight!

Additional Benefits:

In this class you will be using Solid Professor AutoCAD tutorials to learn how to create 2D and 3D objects. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to take the Certification Exam and become CAD Certified. The Innovation Center also offers a unique opportunity for you to apply to become an SVVSD employee and join our Aero Team as an Aeronautical Engineer. Continue building your knowledge of Aeronautical design and get paid while having fun after school! 

  • Open to all 10-12th graders
  • Prerequisite any ONE of the following
    • CTE83505 Introduction to Aeronautics
    • CTE83150 UAS Flight Concepts & Training (discontinued)
    • CTE83157 Pilot Ground 1 (discontinued)

Grow your drone skills by doing real-life projects!  Welcome to Drone Applications, where we not only sharpen your drone skills but also show you how to put them to work in the real world. Before you join us, make sure to complete the Drone Flight Essentials course. If you already have a Part 107 Pilot License, that’s a fantastic advantage! Throughout this course, you’ll work with a team on actual drone projects as we embark in offsite jobs during class to gain real world experience and apply the practical side of these exciting technologies. We aim to team up with industry professionals and take a look at how experts use drones in their day-to-day work. You will learn how to use Mission Planner and the built in technologies to map missions using a variety of drones depending on the job requirements.  Click here to see one of the Mavic Drones you will be learning to use for mapping missions and check out this video to see how drones are being used in surveying and mapping.

Additional Benefits:

In this class you will maintain an industry standard Logbook of your missions to share with future employers. 

The Innovation Center also offers a unique opportunity for you to become an SVVSD employee and join our Aero Team as Certified Drone Pilot for the UAS Operations Division. Imagine gaining valuable experience and a paycheck while doing something you enjoy! 

  • Prerequisite: CTE83520 Design, Build & Fly Airplanes (UAV Engineering)
  • Grades 10th-12th

Build your own industry grade fixed wing drone!  Now that you have completed the Design, Build & Fly Airplanes CTE83520 (Previously CTE83155 UAV Engineering), welcome to ‘Aeronautics and Innovation: Airplane Design’ Let’s take your knowledge from designing foam board airplanes and apply it to a whole new level by designing an airplane from the inside out with balsa wood. Your journey will involve not only the creation of your own balsa wood airplanes but also the understanding of the engineering principles and structure of real airplane design. From spatial awareness to precision and accuracy, you will continue to grow your CAD skills as you apply the Design Thinking process to optimize wing aspect ratio and utilize Innovation Center technologies to bring your designs to life. You will gain skills in problem-solving, material understanding, project planning, gain insights from industry experts, and many other important skills that will help you become successful in your future endeavors. All while preparing you for future careers in drone tech, aerospace, robotics, or UAV operation. The course culminates in comprehensive project documentation to where you can showcase your skills with an end of semester exhibition. For those seeking to expand your horizons, there’s the exciting possibility of creating autonomous aircraft using the industry-standard software Ardupilot Mission Planner and the PixHawk system.. At the end of the course, you will have the option to take home your personally crafted fix-wing aircraft (minus electronics), as a testament to your journey.  

Additional Benefits:

In this class you will be using Solid Professor AutoCAD tutorials to learn how to create 2D and 3D objects. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to take the Certification Exam and become CAD Certified. If you already have the AutoCAD Certification, we can explore other CAD softwares and expand your knowledge to other platforms. The Innovation Center also offers a unique opportunity for you to apply to become an SVVSD employee and join our Aero Team as an Aeronautical Engineer. Continue building your knowledge of Aeronautical design and get paid while having fun after school! 

  • Prerequisite: CTE83520 Design, Build & Fly Airplane or CTE83155 UAV Engineering
  • Grades 10th-12th

Build your own industry grade Multirotor drone!  Now that you have completed the CTE83520 Design, Build, & Fly Airplanes (Previously CTE83155 UAV Engineering) class, prepare for a thrilling exploration of drone technology in our ‘Aeronautics and Innovation: Drone Design class.’  You will embark on a hands-on journey, acquiring essential skills to craft, program, and understand multirotor drones from the ground up. Throughout the course, you will master drone anatomy, employ Design Thinking principles to create innovative designs, gain more proficiency in 2D and 3D CAD,and gain insight from industry professionals. You will learn to work with materials like balsa wood, 3D printing, electronics, learn soldering techniques, and explore circuitry. For advanced learners, the course delves into drone programming, enabling autonomous flight and mission planning using industry-standard software Ardupilot Mission Planner and the PixHawk system. You will gain skills in problem-solving, material understanding, project planning, and many other important skills that will help you become successful in your future endeavors. The course culminates in comprehensive project documentation to showcase your skills with an end of semester exhibition, preparing you for future careers in drone tech, aerospace, robotics, or UAV operation. At the end of the course, you will have the option to take home your personally crafted drones (minus electronics), as a testament to your journey.  

Additional Benefits:

In this class you will be using Solid Professor AutoCAD tutorials to learn how to create 2D and 3D objects. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to take the Certification Exam and become CAD Certified. If you already have the AutoCAD Certification, we can explore other CAD softwares and expand your knowledge to other platforms. The Innovation Center also offers a unique opportunity for you to apply to become an SVVSD employee and join our Aero Team as an Aeronautical Engineer. Continue building your knowledge of Aeronautical design and get paid while having fun after school! 

The Pilot Pathway

  • Prerequisite any ONE of the following:
    • CTE83505 Introduction to Aeronautics
    • CTE83540 Private Pilot Ground School
    • CTE83157 Pilot Ground 1 (discontinued)
    • CTE83160 Aviation Discovery (discontinued)
  • Aims concurrent enrollment – 4 credits

Aviation Meteorology presents the fundamentals of weather as it applies to aviation. Students will demonstrate functional knowledge in the areas of Weather reports and forecasts, Pilot and radar reports, Weather charts, Analyzing available data, to correctly determine if a flight can be completed safely. By the end of this course, students will have a great understanding of weather  and its impacts on aviation.

  • Open to all students who have completed any ONE of the following:
    • CTE83505 Intro to Aeronautics
    • CTE83157 Pilot Ground 1
    • CTE83158 Pilot Ground 2
    • CTE83160 Aviation Discovery
    • CTE83162 Aviation Meteorology
  • Aims concurrent enrollment – 4 credits
  • Fee for FAA Private Pilot Airplane knowledge exam (optional)

Prepare for flight school with real pilot skills! Private Pilot Ground School presents the fundamentals of aviation for the beginning student pilot which includes a study of a Cessna C-172 Skyhawk and its components, aerodynamics, basic aircraft systems, the airport environment, air-traffic control procedures, Federal Aviation Regulations, the basic elements of air navigation including radio navigation, and aviation weather. This course will prepare the student for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot Airplane knowledge examination, an industry certificate that brings them closer to becoming a certified Private Pilot. Students will be able to learn real pilot skills such as precision flying, navigation, procedures, maneuvers, and communications and become proficient in FAA Airmen Certificate Standards (ACS). Students will be prepared to begin flight training at local flight schools and obtain college course credit. 

  • Open to all students 10th-12th graders
  • IC Aeronautics Concentrator
  • Fee for FAA FOI & AGI knowledge exam (optional)
  • Prerequisite: Private Pilot Ground School (CTE83165) or equivalent AND Instructor Approval

Students will demonstrate mastery in two areas: Fundamentals of Instructing (FOI) and Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI)

FOI reviews the areas of The Learning Process, The Teaching Process, Teaching Methods, Evaluation, Flight Instructor Characteristics and Responsibility, Human Factors, and Planning Instructional Activities By the end of the section, students will be able to pass the FAA Fundamentals of Instructing Knowledge Exam with a minimum score or 70%.

After completing Fundamentals of Instruction, Students will then be able to move on to teach aeronautical knowledge. AGI reviews the areas of Airplanes and Aerodynamics, Airplane Performance, Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Systems, Airports, Airspace and Air Traffic Control, Weight and Balance, Aviation Weather, Federal Aviation Regulations, Navigation, Flight Maneuvers, and Aeromedical Factors. By the end of the section, students will be able to pass the FAA Advanced Ground Instructor Knowledge Exam with a minimum passing score of 70%.

By the end of the course, students will be eligible to be certified FAA Ground Instructors. Student age must be 18 to become certified. These exams expire after 2 years. Students must be at least 16 to take the exams to ensure certification.

Project Teams

The Aero Team works on the design, construction, and application of both manned aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) (drones).

Partners

list of logos of industry partners

Contact Us

Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools