Grab Your Drone

More than50 organizations were recently awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling more than $450,000 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC).

OEF Receives $4,000 Grant

The Oklahoma Engineering Foundation (OEF) is among 56 organizations that were recently awarded aerospace and aviation education program grants or contracts from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The record amount of grants total more than $450,000 and are designated for learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for primary through post-secondary education. The grant funds are part of the agency’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.                 

Funding for Drone Zone and the Oklahoma Engineering Fair

OEF will use the grant to fund the rental fee for the Oklahoma Engineering Fair scheduled for February 23, 2023 at Science Museum of Oklahoma. The fair includes DRONE ZONE, a drone obstacle course competition.

The agency’s Aerospace and Aviation Education Grant Program has been awarding aerospace and aviation education grants for more than 30 years. Programs that are supported range from a dedicated four-year high school curriculum such as the AOPA “You Can Fly” effort, to week-long summer camps offered by our major Universities, a build and fly drone racing competition, Tinker Air Force Base Air and Space Show, a two-year high school curriculum dedicated to teaching aircraft mechanics, activities and tours at various airports across the system, engineering fairs and many others. These programs along with Commission staff will help foster students’ interest in the industry and encourages them to consider aerospace or aviation as a career. Based on projections, the programs that have been awarded funding will reach nearly 50,000 students across the state. The initiative supports the Oklahoma Works project that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.

“We are so excited to see the impact this program is having with getting our youth excited about a  career in aviation and aerospace,” said State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies.  “Whether it’s Oklahoma’s #1 ranking with 57 schools teaching the AOPA high school curriculum, our education grant program, or the industry partners we have, Oklahoma has never been better positioned to turn today’s students into tomorrow’s aerospace workforce.”

Aviation and aerospace is a significant economic engine in our state providing $44 billion in annual economic activity.  For the growth of this industry, a safe, reliable, and accessible aviation system is critical, but having a capable workforce is even more important. “The opportunities that our students have for careers in today’s aerospace and aviation industry is absolutely amazing,” said Paul Kedy, Aerospace Education Manager for the agency. “The Commission is proud to work with entities across the state that are committed to ensuring that students are ready to enter Oklahoma’s growing aviation industry.”

The program has been recognized twice by the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), enjoying a positive reputation for investing millions in aerospace and aviation education programs statewide. 

Drone Zone at the Oklahoma Engineering Fair

The DRONE ZONE at the Oklahoma Engineering Fair is a drone obstacle course competition sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and Oklahoma State University.

The Oklahoma Engineering Fair is open to all Oklahoma middle and high school students. For more information, email  

Oklahoma Aviation Grant Drones

Grant Recipients

  • Ada City Public Schools, $15,000
  • Altus High School, $6,800
  • Alva High School, $4,600
  • Ardmore High School, $7,200
  • Atoka Elementary School, $2,122
  • Blackwell Elementary School, $3,000
  • Cameron University, $2,140
  • Chelsea Public Schools, $6,325
  • Chisholm High School, $5,463
  • Choose Aerospace, $10,000
  • Claremore NJROTC, $2,697
  • Clinton High School, $1,000
  • Deer Creek Public Schools, $4,300
  • Durant Public Schools, $5,000
  • East Central University, $2,500
  • ECHO Homeschool Extension, $2,900
  • Edmond North High School AF JROTC, $3,000
  • Enid Public Schools, $12,500 
  • FIRST, $7,500
  • Frederick Public Schools, $6,495
  • Girl Scouts Eastern Oklahoma, $3,000
  • Gordon Cooper Technology (Summer Camp), $3,000
  • Great Plains Technology, $6,300
  • Ketchum High School, $9,000
  • KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, $10,000
  • Lawton High School, $10,000
  • McAlester Public School, $5,000
  • Mustang High School, $5,885
  • Norman Public Schools, $15,000


  • Oklahoma Engineering Foundation, Inc., $4,000
  • Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation, $1,500
  • Oklahoma Science & Engineering Foundation First Lego League, $5,000
  • Oklahoma State University Speedfest, $17,000
  • Oklahoma State University – Tulsa, $2,500
  • Paoli Public Schools, $6,700
  • Pauls Valley High School, $7,000
  • Pawhuska Schools, $5,000
  • Piedmont Public Schools, $8,000
  • Ponca City Regional Airport, $8,500
  • Poteau Public Schools, $5,350
  • Putnam City High School (Air Force JROTC), $9,000
  • Putnam City Schools (North), $8,000
  • Redeemed Flying Corps, $11,000
  • Seminole High School, $6,150
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University, $9,000
  • STAAR Solutions – Tinker Air Show, $28,000
  • STARBASE Oklahoma, Inc., $25,000
  • Terra Verde Discovery School, $630
  • Tri County Tech, $10,500
  • Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, $12,500
  • University of Oklahoma, $42,000
  • Weatherford Public Schools, $12,500
  • Western Heights, $8,000
  • Wyandotte Public Schools, $6,500

Bessie Coleman Oklahoma

Bessie Coleman

, A century ago, Bessie Coleman, a Langston University student who was of African American and Native American descent, graduated from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale becoming the first African American woman to achieve a pilot’s license. Bessie was billed as ‘’the world’s greatest woman flier.”

One hundred years later, Oklahoma has become a national model for aerospace and aviation education, breaking down barriers to ensure young Oklahoma citizens know that a career in aeronautics is not out of their reach.

In the spirit of Coleman, Pearl Carter Scott, Dr. Shannon Lucid, and so many others, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has turned its undivided attention to guiding young minds toward aerospace and aviation careers. Like Coleman, who was dedicated to the mission of creating more pilots, the Aeronautics Commission has become a driving force behind the state’s investment in aerospace educational programs, vectoring students toward becoming aviators, engineers, mechanics, astronauts, and scientists.

“I am so proud that Oklahoma is equipping students with the training and resources they need to pursue a future in our state’s second largest industry,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Oklahoma has a rich history in aerospace and aviation, and I am glad to see our continued investments that make us Top Ten in this growing field.”

Photo Credits: Photo 85117932 © Konstantin Yuganov,

Mark Your Calendars

The Oklahoma Engineering Fair is held every year during Engineer’s Week, which is always in February. This year’s fair is scheduled for Thursday, February 23, 2023 at the Science Museum of Oklahoma. The fair is open to middle and high school students. More information will be available later this fall, so please check back. You can also email our director at Thank you! 

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