NewsPinellas County


Drone class turns teenagers into pilots, giving at-risk students a strong career path

Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy offers drone class
students learning to fly drones
Posted at 4:44 AM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 05:40:02-05

LARGO, Fla. — Many of the students at Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy lost their way in traditional high schools.

They are now finding direction and maybe even a career in the sky thanks to drones.

“All those times their parents said stop playing video games?” smiles instructor Tim Helfinstine. “Well, now it’s going to pay off for them.”

Helfinstine’s company Lite Wing specializes in aerial photography.

His innovative new class is already one of the most popular at Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy, an alternative high school that excels at helping at-risk students who fell through the academic cracks.

RELATED: New program first in the Florida to offer drone flying degree

The school’s curriculum is aimed at making sure these students find satisfying careers.

When they are finished with Helfinstine’s class, the students will have a drone pilot’s license. That will allow them entry into a array of various businesses, including photography, real estate and construction.

Even better, Helfinstine is promising to jobs all his new flyers.

“These are the future pilots of the drone world!” Helfinstine says proudly.