Updated: May 21, 2022 @ 9:24 am


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World;

indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Mead

CNY Drones is a volunteer run, community based organization promoting drone-focused STEM.  Our centerpiece annual Northeast Team Drone Challenge, introductory flying sessions, interactive exhibits, build workshops, tech meets, mini-challenges & our latest addition, US Drone Soccer, encourage further exploration of the regional drone education & employment pipeline.   Our core volunteers & advocates are located in the Utica/Rome & Syracuse area of New York State.   As we grow into our U.S. Drone Soccer region, our support efforts will spread throughout New York & New Jersey.

CNY Drones efforts feed into the drone tech education & employment pipeline.

STEM Focused.  Community Supported.  Volunteer Driven.

“Research suggests that personal interest, experience, and enthusiasm—critical to children’s learning of science at school or other settings—may also be linked to later educational and career choices.” – nextgenscience.org

We’ve reached thousands of students & adults throughout New York State!


Experienced Mentors & Administrators

Dozens of years of combined STEM experience & passionate mentors are behind all our efforts!  We fly for the love of flying & share for the love of sharing technology!  We have various backgrounds with a common enthusiasm for drones & for developing a safe & knowledgeable drone community!

  • Our mentors share freely beyond any program.



  • Many of us are 107 Certified Commercial Pilots as a part of our employment or education, although it is not a requirement for our group.

“From a student’s first time using a flight simulator to an adult’s first impression of our forward-thinking drone mentors, we’re spreading a positive message to technology-minded individuals who have the potential to get involved in regional drone tech in the not-so-distant future.”

– Lisa Marie Payne, Administrator

CNY Drones Planning Committee

We meet weekly to discuss recent connections, issues & future plans.  Committee members work in our community with our sister organization, SUNY Poly AMA:

  • Air Force Research Lab – Rome NY
  • Black River Systems Co. Inc.
  • Mohawk Valley Community College UAS
  • Quanterion Solutions Incorporated
  • JH Rhodes Co. Inc.
  • RIT
  • SUNY Polytechnic Institute
  • Wolfspeed

Club Partnerships

We work closely with the CGAM / Tech Clubs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Poly AMA, Wildcat Robotics, 3D Printing, Women in Engineering, IEEE, and Baja clubs have all assisted CNY Drones in developing student interest in drone technology.

Fiscal Oversight

CNY Drones exists under our fiscal agent, The Griffiss Institute, a 501c3 nonprofit talent and technology accelerator for the United States Department of Defense and an international network of academic, government and industry partners.  CNY Drones relies on corporate sponsorship, individual donors, grants & volunteers to support the presentation of our programs.

Get to Know Us!

Our Programs   

Our Accomplishments





Resources – we’re a key information hub for NYS educators & the recreational drone community!