Wednesday-Sunday 10am to 4pm

Drones, Planes, & Pilots

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Drones, Planes, and Pilots: For Grades 6-9

Offered through the Pacific Coast Air Museum and the EXCEL for Youth Program on the Sonoma State University Campus

Did you know you can fly a plane before you can drive a car? Learn what flying is all about — explore the milestones in aviation history, the science of how planes fly, and the different careers available in aviation. Use electronic aids to create flight plans, navigate, check weather conditions, observe real time flights, and calculate aircraft performance. Learn about how airplanes are built, and try out actual airplane rivet tools on aircraft aluminum. We’ll visit the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM) and tour open cockpits of historic aircraft from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Top Gun, as well as an operating FAA Control Tower, and we’ll meet and hear from accomplished pilots. Back on campus you’ll learn drone safety, and then work in teams building and flying drones.

Advance reservations are required.

2020 Class Dates:

Please check back soon for updated dates and times. 


$215.00 per student.

Course Information:

This course provides a broad-spectrum introduction to aviation, with classroom learning, a field trip, and hands-on experience with drones.

Topics include:
  • Milestones in aviation history
  • The science of flight
  • Aviation careers
  • Introduction to flight information technology
  • Learn how airplanes are built
  • A visit to the Pacific Coast Air
  • Museum for aircraft open-cockpit tours
  • Visit an operating FAA Control Tower
  • Meet and hear from accomplished pilots
  • Learn drone safety, and build & fly drones

The class meets on the Sonoma State University campus. Full information available when you register in advance.


Instructor Art Hayssen is a 5-time NAFI Master Instructor, FAA FAASTeam Lead Representative in the North San Francisco Bay Area, ATP and active Flight Instructor since 1980. With over 8,000 hours of flight instruction given, Art’s instructor certificate includes airplane single and multi-engine land and sea, and instrument ratings. He has taught Aviation, Meteorology, and Geography at the Santa Rosa Junior College for the past 33 years.

Registration Information:

Early registration is encouraged as enrollment is limited.

About Excel for Youth

EXCEL is a unique summer academic enrichment program on the Sonoma State University campus, that offers students entering grades 4-9 (fall 2019) over 60 interactive classes in science, technology, engineering, the arts and more! EXCEL is distinctively focused towards fostering and developing essential 21st Century and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration in a hands-on, interactive, fun campus environment! EXCEL, an award-winning program, celebrates its 37th year this summer at Sonoma State, and has served over 23,000 students since 1982.

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