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

2021 Intro to CNY Drones Presentation


Updated: Aug 17, 2021 @ 9:14 am

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 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.   

  • We support the growth of the regional drone technology ecosystem starting with student & parent awareness of recreational drones at our interactive demonstrations & exhibits
    • Exhibits are sponsored by event hosts or by our annual sponsors
    • We believe that getting the technology into the hands of the student & parent is key in sparking interest  —
      •  We are here to make the connection!
  • We nurture interest through indoor beginner flying sessions, build workshops & mini-challenges!
    • Our Experience FPV – Intro to Flying program is a hands-on session available during our Tech Meets or at other times & locations upon request.  Fee is a donation to cover our costs.
    • We use our introductory programs to encourage participation in our annual indoor Northeast Team Drone Challenge while encouraging further exploration of regional STEM education & drone tech employment
  • All our outreach is backed by a robust informational support hub that gives access to changing technology & mentor support!
  • Consider our participant to mentor ratios (typically 2 to1) compared to most other STEM programs.   We believe individualized assistance vs. a single instructor per class is key to learning technical aspects of building, repair & flight.  We strive to provide great mentor to student interaction with the highest benefit per dollar of investment!

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.” –

We’ve reached thousands of students & adults since January 2016!


We’ve seen how economic development initiatives thrive when the future workforce is enthusiastic about technology developing in their communities.


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.


  • 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.
    •  Once you attend, you are one of us.  We’re always available for follow-up questions!
  • We are all recreational drone pilots who fly regularly as members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).
    • Some of us are 107 Certified Commercial Pilots as a part of our employment or education, although it is not a requirement for our group.
  • Dozens of years of combined STEM experience & passionate mentors are behind all our efforts!
    • We are run by like-minded volunteers!
    • Our mentors are dispatched based on their knowledge & willingness to make learning a priority!
  • Planning Committee includes members from our community: SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Quanterion Systems Incorporated, Black River Systems Co Inc, Air Force Research Lab – Rome, REMET Corporation & CREE Wolfspeed.

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.




Our Programs   

Our Accomplishments





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