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School Drone team ideas

FAA-Tom

Junior Member
#1
Hey everyone I am new to the flight team group so I would like to say yes I work for the FAA and no Im not spying for them lol. I have 2500hrs of SUAV time in Iraq and Afghanistan with the US Army and I love the sport. Which leads me to the question. I am a coach for the drone team for my sons Jr High School. We are flying indoor in the gym and out at the football field and am looking for fun ideas for courses and or skills based things we can do to keep their attention and advance their skills. Also I've been getting questions about quadcopter or multi-rotor platforms what is better for racing. I have been hitting the Internet hard trying to hookup with people in the know and flight test keeps coming up again and again so here I am.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#2
Hey Tom, Welcome to the forum!

We got it, you're not the enemy ;)

"Drone team" you say? Didn't know it was an organized sport, but I can see it getting there . . . and soon. So are you looking to build a multirotor course? race or obstacle? I get they're of the post-post-Nintendo generation, so they'll put us to shame with pert-near any controller, but do any of them have any flight time on multirotors?
 

RAM

Posted a thousand or more times
#3
When they are advanced enough you could combine a little robotics and make a drone version of this race.
 

FAA-Tom

Junior Member
#4
Nice thanks Im looking for a quadcopter type setup. We have kids of all skill levels and the ages are from 12 to 15 as of right now. We are trying to teach everything from the programming to flight control. I was thinking of a hoop course and a basic skills course. As far as the team aspect goes there are two other schools in the area who have a team and we do compete with them in a course type format but it is mostly a meet and fly kinda thing. I would like to try and make a advanced night where we will fly 188mm and above but as of right now we are limited to where we can fly as a team. The new FAA Regs limit what we can do because we are so close to controlled airspace. I want to find a area and break into planes and programmed flight routs. I think this kinda program and not only get kids into the sport but get them interested in learning what it takes to make one of these thing go.
 
#5
Hi Tom-

I was thinking of doing something like that also. I'm a middle school science teacher in Northern California. Some of my students and I would like to start a UAV team/program using student made fixed wing platforms. What part of the country are you in?

-Troy
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#6
Hmmm . . . Platforms under 180 are generally RTF for a reason . . . but they're also safe as houses. Getting kits below that is hard to find and expensive since it's becoming specialized gear -- you can pick up brushless 250 kits to assemble for less . . . but safe? Depends. Lethal, no. Minor cuts and bruises, yes. Major cuts . . . possibly.

If you're just looking for a universal platform that's cheap and teaches flying skills, hard to beat a nanoQX. after that, the Hubsan 107L's are a good go-to, but they lack the ability to turn off the self level -- something you want when moving up in piloting skill.

If you want to do both configuration/building and flying . . . then there are a few 250 kits in the $100 range. They generally lack the radio gear (including FPV) and batteries at that price, but some of the kits in that range have the raw parts you need. Keep in mind most will require soldering as a staple of assembly. My beater quad was built up with the FPV260 Kit from "MyRCMart" -- mostly RCX parts, which are fair but not fantastic. beauty of this kit: fully flexible -- reprogram or swap out the control board, flash the ESCs, replace the motors . . . all easy mods. Only downside, you wait on the slowboat to deliver :p Edit: Quick look shows they do have kits with radios for +$60 . . . Wakera. Not the best, but they aren't bad either.

Keep in mind, Brushless 250's are marginally acceptable for flying "indoors" (meaning school gymnasiums -- they eat up space FAST).

Now for short courses . . . I expect you mean LoS for the near term? FWIW, threading the needle is easy given one thing . . . you're looking through the hole on the needle. beyond that, elevation is easy to guess, but depth is not -- after a few feet it becomes VERY bad. Hoops are a great idea, and I'd mount them in PVC T-junctions that way you can swap out the pipe between it and the base to change it's elevation on the fly. on an easy run, they'd all be lined up, on a harder one, you can get them vertically slaloming through.

To start, I'd recommend a triangle shaped course with the pilot just behind one vertex. from that position they should be able to see through the needle on two of the three legs, and on the far leg, have a simple pole they need to pass behind . . . perhaps a pair with a banner to set the altitude they pass on. the idea is the hoops are small, but easy to judge, the poles are easy to fly, but hard to judge.

With a bit of inventiveness this kind of see through the needle strategy can be expanded to far more complex courses . . . but simple is a good start :)

And FPV . . . if you go there, only do so after LoS is fully conquered, but the course possibilities open up there.
 
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FAA-Tom

Junior Member
#10
Tbaucom-
I live in Lexingoton NC. I love what they are doing out here with the drone team. They really are getting kids interested in not only the sport but start to finish builds. I talked to some of the kinds and I think think we are going to use the Hubson x4 107c for indoor and I am building a HMB-235 for outdoor fun.

Craftydan- Thanks for the info we had a big sit down this week and went over courses and skill tasks for the kids. I think we have a good handle on what we want to try this year and I will try and post video of what we are doing threw out the season. The FPV is a big goal for allot of the kids but we have the comp. sim setup so we are going to run them on that first. We are also looking at doing some small course work using the football field so the they have room to run the big guys as the season moves on.
 
#11
Some of the things that got me learning how to fly on the freerider flight simulator, and the nano qx in acro mode, really worth watching.
[video]https://youtu.be/8A3pGJi_ih8[/video]

[video]https://youtu.be/6btEFJJD4_o[/video]


I have heard that there is a beginner series coming out (soon hopefully) that covers multirotors and everything that comes with them.