CNY Drones is Central New York’s drone community promoting STEM education and safety awareness via interactive demonstrations, networking, clinics, LIVE build workshops, team competitions, mentoring, tech-meets, races, and a drone enthusiast information hub.




CNY Drones fills a gap in Central New York’s drone tech education & employment pipeline!






Key offerings include:

  • Live interactive demonstrations and information at community events
  • Indoor workshops & events that develop drone hobbyists by providing multi-function beginner equipment and knowledge from fellow enthusiasts
  • Drone races that include STEM-based interactive demonstration areas for spectators
  • An annual indoor Team Drone Challenge to support school efforts to develop student interest in drone technology
  • Mentoring & camaraderie – we connect the local community through our info hub!


Initially, our workshops targeted serious enthusiasts.  For 2018, workshops will target the following:

  • drone-curious individual – those not necessarily ready to purchase a drone
  • drone owners of a specific class of drone or those utilizing a similar drone feature
  • teachers interested in bringing drones into the classroom

Volunteer Affiliations

We’ve met with the area’s drone authorities – agencies, officials, educators, manufacturers, 107 certified pilots, clubs and enthusiasts to help organize the growth of STEM-based competitions, host a local social media information hub and share opportunities in our region.   CNY Drones is breaking into new territory by hosting a year-round support system with volunteers and events to help drive STEM interest in an area that directly supplies a growing local higher education and employment pipeline.  

How We Work

We are STEM advocates.  Our Planning Committee, formed in 2016, meets weekly.  The Committee continues to steer promotion and event planning.   Interactive demonstrations and events are scheduled for our supporters, not-for-profit entities and community benefit. Programs further our Drones in STEM promotional objectives, help produce a safe flying community and inspire new volunteers.

Our events and demonstrations are mostly on the weekends and weeknights in an effort to not interfere with our volunteers’ employment.  Events typically require advance planning of 2-4 months.   Our calendar books up fast.  Please contact us using our Event Request Form.


CNY Drones is housed fiscally under the Griffiss Institute’s 501(c)3 as CNY Drones @ RoboSpartans Robotics.   RoboSpartans Robotics had an incredibly successful 8 year run as a founding team of local FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST LEGO League programs and as 3X World Championship multi-award Finalists.  After an initial meeting with drone enthusiasts, educators, government officials and drone technology company representatives in January 2016, CNY Drones was founded to continue STEM promotion through emphasis on robotic flight activities.  CNY Drones now hosts an Academy of Model Aeronautics Model Aviation Student Club and a MulitGP Racing Chapter.   All events are STEM/STEAM centered and run entirely by volunteers who are there to grow interest and give back to the community.

Full Committee meetings were monthly in 2016.  Full Committee Members now have access to all of our information available via newsletter, emails and Google Drive.  Our operations continue to be driven by our dedicated Planning Committee and additional volunteers who staff our events and promote our continuing work in the community.

Want to learn more?  Contact us! 

Lisa Marie Payne, Administrator