Students across the country are invited to team up for a new challenge from the Academy of Model Aeronautics, building and flying small unmanned aircraft for a search-and-rescue missions and learning a little science, technology, engineering, and math along the way.
Quadcopter kits available through the UAS4STEM program will be available in the fall, and teams of up to eight can register online now. Training, insurance, equipment, entry fees, and AMA memberships are all included in the $1,995 cost per team. Everything needed to build and support a Quadzilla quadcopter is included in the kit, though teams will need to supply their own laptops. Online training will cover the safe (and legal) operation of the unmanned aircraft, and the coursework is mandatory (it must be completed before the kit is shipped to the team). Participants will have access to online videos explaining how to build and fly the quadcopter, and prepare to use it to find lost hikers.
AMA flying sites around the country will host the search-and-rescue challenge in the spring of 2016, tasking the students with searching a predefined area for hikers lost in a remote area.
AMA “continues to embrace new technology and increase its educational efforts,” the organization noted in a press release, and has granted nearly $900,000 to date in scholarships for youth members pursuing higher education. The organization has about 50,000 youth members participating in its education programs.
AOPA has joined AMA, the FAA, and other organizations supporting the Know Before You Fly campaign designed to educate unmanned aircraft operators about safe operation and regulations. The campaign, which also features a mobile app designed for operators that allows them to verify the legality of a particular flying location, is part of a larger effort to stem the irresponsible and dangerous behavior of many consumers who have flown their drones in restricted areas, near airports, and within the National Airspace System.