2023 Annual Impact (NYS participation anticipated to triple for 2024)

  • Statewide (Region II) Championship hosted 50 students & 35 educators
  • National Championship hosed 125 students & 40 educators from 4 Regional Championships
  • Hands-on training reached 25+ educators & transferred skills to nearly 1,000 students
  • LIVE demonstrations Statewide reached 10,000+ educators, students & families in 7 years 
  • 65 college students, including 3 SUNY Polytechnic Institute clubs & 3 classes volunteered with CNY Drones in 2023 alone

CNY Drones Encourages:

  • exploration of drone technology & STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering & Math) in higher education & employment
  • creative & cooperative participation by students and adults
  • collaboration between the community & SUNY Polytechnic Institute engineering student clubs

CNY Drones Connects:

  • regional drone tech industry professionals
  • middle school, high school & college students
  • technology education instructors

CNY Drones Targets:

  • students, age 12+ (at the critical age of career path exploration)
  • schools, tech clubs & community groups around the NYS UAS Test Site
  • lower income, rural & inner-city populations – those impacted the greatest by funding cutbacks

Affiliations & Connections  – est. 2016 & continuing today!

We’ve met with the area’s drone authorities – agencies, officials, educators, manufacturers, 107 certified pilots, clubs & enthusiasts.  They helped us establish so we could grow drone technology-focused competitions, host a regional information hub & share opportunities for educators & students.  Our community ties continue to expand throughout New York State thanks to sponsorships & partnership projects.   Community Connections

Drone Technology Educational Programs & Demos

We provide a wide range of educational programs in a single year.   In addition to hosting the U.S. Drone Soccer NY Region II Championship & Educator Workshop – and this year – the U.S. Drone Soccer National Championship, our team has facilitated build programs, software workshops, & monthly tech meets.  Our support staff mentors dozens of educators by phone & video conference year-round.  And — Ask us where we’ve had a demo?  Almost everywhere.   Programs

Region II New York Directors for US Drone Soccer

CNY Drones joined established a key connection with US Drone Soccer in October 2021, signing on as the NY/NJ  Region II Affiliate.  With the help of the Air Force Research Lab in Rome & our sister organization, SUNY Polytechnic Institute AMA UMASC, we set out to make our area a technical & league support hub, tying into & sharing drone technology educational and employment opportunities.  Drone soccer checks all the boxes as a combined workforce development module & sports program.   Educator support?   Check out our resources!

More than just a workshop or demo…

We worked with Drone Sports, Inc. (U.S. Drone Soccer parent company & equipment distributor)  to help establish as a New York State Contractor. The current Drone Technology ITCC/CoSer allow schools from across New York to order drone soccer equipment through BOCES.  We also helped connect U.S. Drone Soccer to our NYC contacts.  Drone Sports, Inc. is now on the PIP for New York City, allowing schools from all 5 boroughs access to U.S. Drone Soccer.

“Exciting, fast-paced action is supported by technical skills that build a solid foundation for entry into the drone technology education & employment pipeline.”


Establishment of a Mentorship Network & Year-Round Drone Events

CNY Drones leads the way by hosting a year-round support system with area mentors & events that help drive STEM interest, directly leading to the higher education & employment pipeline.  Our volunteer Planning Committee consists of our key mentors.  They represent various facets of Central New York’s drone community.

We continually support our staff to become FAA Certified Drone Pilots, members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and U.S. Drone Soccer Certified Instructors.  Our staff knows how to teach hands-on building, coding, and flying – all transferrable skills for our students’ futures!

Our mentors help beyond any program.  Corporate sponsorships have allowed us to supply guidance to the drone community and those just getting started!  Questions are funneled to available volunteers through our website Contact Form & Gmail account. We respond to most questions within 24 hours.

1st AMA MASC in New York State  & Encouraging New Clubs!

We established the 1st Academy of Model Aeronautics Model Aviation Student Club in New York State in 2017.   Our MASC affiliation allows us to run drone events with insurance, safety information & a great AMA support system.  Once established, we started helping schools & other drone groups so they could gain the benefits of AMA affiliation under this new club system.  Interested in learning more about CNY Drones safety measures during our events?  Ask John Reade, CNY Drones Safety Officer.

SUNY AMA UMASC Collaboration                    

  • We are happy to have helped establish & now be work with New York State’s 1st University Model Aviation Student Club!  The SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s former RC Student Club is officially an Academy of Model Aeronautics University Model Aviation Student Club – AMA UMASC #15104.

How CNY Drones works along side SUNY AMA (our sister AMA organization on campus):

  • promoting flight safety under the AMA guidelines
  • event planning & event hosting experience
  • fundraising & providing fundraising opportunities through our community connections
  • community service experience – both local & Statewide
  • mentoring experience – working with students & adults
  • connection to local engineers & valuable company contacts
  • connection to local high school students considering STEM fields
  • introducing younger students & families to the college campus

SUNY AMA Club Advisor is  Bob Payne.   Bob is an Adjunct Instructor in the SUNY Poly Mechanical Technology Department, SUNY Fabrication Club Advisor, a SUNY Alumnus & CNY Drones Volunteer & Event Coordinator.

Annual Drone Info Day – September Season Kick-Off

In October 2016, we established our area’s gathering of all-things-drone-related to connect students with drone technology education & employment opportunities and to kick-off the build season for our Annual Team Drone Challenge.   Our event was the first of it’s kind in our region.

In 2017 we met at the Utica Parkway Recreation Center thanks to the great people in the Parks & Recreation Department.

For 2018, we met at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, hub location for our Team Drone Challenge.

For 2019, our event moved to an online format and once we were able to re-establish post-pandemic, we started hosting our event as a September Kick-Off spotlighting U.S. Drone Soccer!

Join us for the next Drone Info Day Kick-Off:  Saturday, September 23, 2023

Self-Supporting Single Day Programs

Our Build, Fly & Take Home Workshop (4-6 hrs), Experience FPV session (2 hrs – flying with our equipment), & Interactive Drone Demonstrations (1 hr) give participants a choice of how much they wish to invest in their curiosity about drones.  Our fees are set to cover the cost of each presentation, keep mentor to participant ratios low, & offer an affordable introduction to drone technology.  Programs have introduced dozens of students & adults to drone technology.  Ask us about our former students who have since formed drone tech clubs, taken additional tech classes, participated in our Team Drone Challenge, & become mentors!

Connecting High Schools with MVCC to Offer UAS College Credit 

Our contacts with regional high schools has helped connect students to the MVCC UAS program as well as high schools looking to offer students college credit in drone technology.   We’ll help you network!

Community Partner

We are proud Community Partners for two great programs:

  • MVCC GEAR UP Program at Rome Free Academy
  • NYS STEP Programs

The Northeast’s First Open, STEM-Focused, Indoor Team Drone Challenge

The inaugural presentation of Rig Rescue took place on April 15, 2018 in the College Center Gym at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.   The Challenge is hosted by sister AMA organization & student club – the SUNY AMA University Model Aviation Student Club and is run by a collaboration of SUNY engineering student clubs – Fabrication, Baja, & 3d Printing & Design.  The challenge is mapped out several seasons in advance as a low-cost option for educators to inject competition into their curricula.   For 2019, the Challenge was FOREST FURY.   For the first time, a two-field competition was held in the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Wildcat Field House.  2020 FARM-i-GEDDON, ran as a full season without a championship.  Originally set for April 5, 2020, the competition was postponed..   METRO MELTDOWN and CONSTRUCTION CATASTROPHE plans remain on-hold as we focus on U.S. Drone Soccer.


How have we been able to do so much?  

Great volunteers & incredible sponsors.

Sponsor Us!