Starting an R/C group at an advanced highschool


Junior Member
Hi I am currently a junior at a specialized STEM oriented high school and at our school currently there are about four students that race 250 size quadcopters and we have learned so much from this hobby that we'd like to share. Unfortunately the cost combined with the danger of 250 sized quadcopters is making us scratch our heads. In this club we would like to cover a few key topics that each one of us holds dear to our heart.

First and foremost we want to include the engineering process into our club. As it is one of the core values at our school. So we want there to be mistakes. I don’t really want to buy a couple of kits and have people assemble the by the instructions. Most of these kids can recite differential equations in their sleep, but they never apply their skills to anything really applicable. We are hoping to find maybe a curriculum or competition that would foster this idea of designing and redesigning our aircraft. That being said we won’t have multitudes of money to spend. Learning from other clubs and our community in general we are guessing we can pull off $1500 (possibly much more if we can get the school excited) a year for upwards of 20 students. To pull from we also have a few large corporations that already give generously in our community that are based in large commercial aircraft. In order to even approach the topic of funding though we need to have all of our ducks in a row. None of us are scared of grants either.

Secondly something near and dear to my heart I would love to have for it to be programmable. I know so many kids at my school that are dying to learn how to code and program, but simply don’t have any real reason to. Often it’s as simple as not being able to motivate them. Other times there are students writing software to cluster the school's computers to complete their math homework faster. I know we have the skill at our school to be able to program basically everything up to the esc’s. I would love to find a micro-sized quadcopter with physical level programming access in a C/C++ environment. The robotics club has had great success with teaching and motivating students to learn code at this level, but they have a high turnover rate because of its repetitiveness in competition.

Finally we would like to incorporate basic electronics knowledge. We have goals of teaching everyone how the systems on r/c aircraft work. From the ecs to receivers down to the data streams from them along with covering fpv systems. We also want foster concepts of proper safety, wiring, and soldering techniques. Already we as a group at our school have seen how different you can view the world even with a limited increase in the knowledge of how things work around you. This hobby has so many potential applications of knowledge we have learned in high school and some of us in early college that we are never able to really see in use. From chemistry and physics to math and statistics it really is an incredibly broad and applicable hobby.

On a more serious note a couple of other goals that our club would be like to accomplish is. We want to get at least 50% of our members to receive their HAM technician license and for some of them to receive their general license. One of the four other students helping right now has their license and we are all ama registered. We have one teacher completely on board as she flew rc planes in her childhood but had lost the spark as an adult for a while. Other resources we could pull from are a fully equipped 3-printing lab, a cad class with several students moving into modeling, and rural locations within 5 minutes of the school. So if anyone could help us with figuring out where to even start with this endeavor it would be amazing. I understand that this idea may not be possible with both our budget and goals, but I want to check every source I can. If anyone see’s any blatant flaws in our search for a club format please feel free to say so as honestly we have not started the actually work, but we are by no means fazed by the prospect of hard work.