Blue Mountain College receives $260,000 worth of drones

Blue Mountain College drones

Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) received a generous $260,000 donation from Cama, Washington-based Digital Harvest to purchase drones and related equipment. The community college received four drones and a plethora of accessories.

Blue Mountain Community College received two Leptron Avenger helicopter drones and two fixed-wing Martin UAV Superbat drones from Digital Harvest with the help of Business Oregon. Digital Harvest also donated a ground control system and four Piccolo autopilots – which are integrated into all four of the drones.

The Leptron Avenger helicopter has a flight time of 20 minutes when using batteries and 2 hours when using a fuel engine. The drone can fly in up to 40 mile-per-hour winds and has a maximum flight altitude of 12,000 feet (though that would obviously require an FAA waiver and some serious airspace research). It can be equipped with camera turrets and a variety of sensor packages, including for video, FLIR, night vision, Search and Rescue operations, and LIDAR.

The Martin UAV Superbat drone can fly 100 kilometers (~62 miles) and carry a payload of up to eight pounds. It has a flight speed of 47 knots (~54 miles per hour), can reach 90 knots (~103 miles per hour) when required, and is able to fly in winds of 20 knots (~23 miles per hour).

Precision agriculture

Digital Harvest uses drones and other technology to solve problems in the agriculture industry with a heavy focus on sugarcane data science and field-level predictive yield estimation. The college provides drone courses focused on the agricultural industry but hopes to provide a broader drone course in the future, thanks to the donation.

Wade Muller, Dean of Career-Technical & Community Education at Blue Mountain Community College had this to say:

“This donation from Digital Harvest raises the bar for the development of our UAS program. The use of these drones will allow our students to receive relevant and valuable hands-on training to prepare them for a career in agriculture, UAS operations and other in-demand regional opportunities. We are so appreciative to Digital Harvest and Business Oregon for partnering with the College to support our students in such a generous manner.”

Would you study drones in college if you were given the option? What part of the drone industry would you like to work in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo: Jorge Salvador

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