Drones Take Flight at Laurel Ridge-Vint Hill

For Immediate Release:
August 5, 2015

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

drones vint hill 852015

Vint Hill, VA. It’s a bird! It’s a plane!  . . . No, it’s a drone! On July 29th, Professor Christopher Braun’s Geography class took their final exam at the Vint Hill site of Laurel Ridge Community College. The final exam consisted of flying a drone equipped with a camera and then analyzing the images. Under the watchful eye of Jim Blanchard, owner of UAS Academy, the students surveyed the field across the street from the Vint Hill facility. They visually observed groundhog holes and other ground features by utilizing the camera-to-screen link, allowing them to see in real time what was below the drone. Afterwards, these images were downloaded to a computer for more detailed examination. This allowed the students to see objects and features that were not easily visible by just glancing across the field.


The class session began with an eye-opening discussion of the liabilities and legalities of flying drones and safety precautions that should always be observed. With the increased interest in these unmanned vehicles, more attention is being focused on the dangers as well as the possible uses of these machines. Students learned how to safely power on and “arm” (prepare for takeoff) the drones and how to approach an active drone.


There was also plenty of practice steering loops and landing on a small wooden board marked with an “H”. After guiding the drone in a series of circles across the field and performing a couple of landings, student George Trumbo commented,  “Controlling a drone is harder than it looks.”


This class marks the first step of Laurel Ridge Community College into drone technology. The college will be offering Drones 101 at the Vint Hill site this fall. This class will cover such topics as employment fields in drone technology, safety, and legal aspects of licensure and operation of drones. The class is designed to be both informative and fun; it is designed for those interested in the use of drones commercially or for personal enrichment. The college is also moving toward offering more extensive training in robotic technology.


For more information regarding the program, contact Dr. Edith Kennedy, Associate Dean of Instruction-Fauquier, at 540-351-1516 or [email protected].drones vint hill 852015


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.