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Staff Member John Solaperto takes to the Skies through QCC's Drone Program

January, 2018
  • John Solaperto proudly holds his drone certification.

The definition of being a pilot has changed over the years as unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones as they are referred to have become commonplace in our society. From hobbyists to professional careers as drone pilots, the allure of flying a drone has touched many people. One such person is QCC’s Senior Technical Specialist John Solaperto. A 25-year veteran of the college, Mr. Solaperto recently decided to take advantage of QCC’s Center for Workforce Development & Continuing Education course offerings and take a drone pilot course.

According to Mr. Solaperto taking a drone course was something he had always wanted to do.

“I’ve known about drones and aerial drone photography for a while and thought that this might be something fun to do,” he said.

As an avid photographer who also teaches photography courses at QCC, Mr. Solaperto was excited to learn more about drones.

“The class was so much more interesting than I originally thought it would be. There are so you need to know before you can fly a drone. We learned about aeronautical charts and the National Airspace System,” he said. “Awareness is so important. You need to be aware of where you’re flying and what’s going on in a particular day.”

Mr. Solaperto said he learned about the distances that a drone can be flown over a structure and how far from clouds a drone can be flown. Weather is also a consideration.

“There’s a lot more to it than people think,” he said, adding, “It’s really worth taking the class even if you don’t do any work with the drone and are just a hobbyist. “

Drones are being used commercially as first-aid vehicles, tools for police departments, high-tech photography and recording devices for real estate properties, concerts, and sporting events.  Many entrepreneurs are getting into the act and starting their own drone businesses.

“They’re used for video filming and are now used to inspect high steeples, smokestacks and high tension wires. Hobbyists also race them.”

There are rules and regulations involved in flying drones that everyone, regardless of what they plan to use a drone for must follow.

“You’d better know the rules when you’re flying to protect yourself and your investment,” Mr. Solaperto continued.

Mr. Solaperto said QCC’s drone courses helped him to pass the U. S. Department of Transportation FAA Airman’s Knowledge test.

QCC’s is offering its next drone course from March 6 - March 29.  Students will learn valuable information in order to take the Part 107 Drone Pilot Test students Gain the confidence and knowledge the will  need to pass your exam and, get certified as a commercial drone pilot. Students will have the opportunity to fly drones at the end of the course.

“I’d recommend this to anyone. This is flying for real. You learn what it takes to be a pilot. The knowledge is well-worth having, regardless of what you want to do with your drone,” Mr. Solaperto said. 

QCC's Drone Class