- In 2016, CNY Drones introduced the concept of providing a low-cost, annually themed, indoor Team Drone Challenge to students to help spark interest in the drone education and employment pipeline.
- Development assistance, location of a host site & backing took time, eventually leading to collaboration with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute student club, SUNY AMA / AMA University Model Aviation Student Club #15104.
- Six teams competed in April 2018 at the SUNY Utica Campus for Rig Rescue, our first annual competition.
WHY A TEAM DRONE CHALLENGE?
- To encourage more students to explore STEM fields by offering a low-cost, high-impact, open competition, attractive to inner-city & rural populations!
- To encourage students to consider the emerging drone technology education and employment options available in our region as well as other regions experiencing drone technology growth!
- Preceded by research & discussions with STEM groups across the US
- A key factor was emphasized repeatedly by our contacts – recognizable connection to the region’s technology
- Prevalent in other successful STEM-focused competitions, a themed, multi-element format was followed
- Created by a diverse volunteer group of engineers, educators & drone enthusiasts through CNY Drones in the Utica/Rome, NY area, surrounding the NYS Drone Test Corridor
- Designed to be fun, exciting & challenging for teams of all abilities!
- Mission elements are created keeping in mind the eight practices of science and engineering identified by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, a blueprint for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
- Elements are presented on a netted 30’x60′ field to help provide a safe flying environment for participants & spectators
- We follow safety guidelines in line with the Academy of Model Aeronautics
- Missions very from simple to complex to give new teams as much opportunities as more seasoned teams
- Points are scored by successfully completing as many of the task-based missions within a pre-determine timed “flight” of 5 minutes – best flight of 3 is used for scoring
- The points are based on the complexity of the flight missions.
- Competition for ages 11+
- 2 to 5 Flight Crew Members on a field per flight, 3 Flights – No team size limit!
- 10-12 teams per competition field
- Low-cost registration, equipment & season
- Indoor competition avoids weather issues
- Relevant, annually themed challenge
- STEM-focused elements target knowledge areas
- Workshops (in-person & virtual) help new teams get started
- Networked team coaches for newcomer guidance & shared learning!
- Not limited to schools! – school teams, after school programs, community groups, home school groups, clubs, family & friends – all are welcome in our OPEN competition!
- Our challenge currently targets middle & high school aged students
- We remain an OPEN competition for ALL groups with team members age 11+
- With 3 flights per team, up to 15 students can participate as field crew
- Most teams will be high school level – although college teams are welcome!
- We encourage college groups to contact us as interest is growing for a collegiate level!
- We encourage the community to help us support a team for the 2019 Forest Fury Competition. Scholarship for a single team is $500 and includes a drone kit, radio controller, FPV goggles & competition fee.
- If you would like to join us in meeting this goal or if can suggest a team in need, contact us!
- We’re already planning to announce an agriculture-based themed, Farm-i-geddon for our 2020 Challenge!
- We’re establishing connections with groups such as Cornell Cooperative Extension as well as local farmers & drone tech companies working in the agricultural field
- For 2021 we’re looking forward to an urban theme with increased interest from inner-city teams & sponsoring organizations
2018 Rig Rescue Season – SUNY AMA Competition April 15, 2018
2019 Forest Fury Season – SUNY AMA Dual Field Competition April 7, 2019
2020 Farm-i-Geddon – Competition(s) April 2020
2021 Urban Themed – Metro-Meltdown? – Competition(s) April 2021
2022 Theme TBA (send us your ideas!) – Competition(s) April 2021
- GET INVOLVED!
- We welcome new ideas, new mentors, new volunteers and especially – new teams – as we grow from Central New York into other regions!
- We’re also happy to connect coaches/teachers to share their drone program experiences.
- Your ideas are important to us! Share your thoughts on how we can improve! Contact us!