Updated: Jul 8, 2019 @ 12:43 pm


  • In 2016, CNY Drones introduced the concept of providing a low-cost, annually themed, indoor Team Drone Challenge to help spark student interest in New York State’s drone education & employment pipeline!
  • We continue to develop what we know is not only needed, but possible!
  • Since our initial season, Rig Rescue, we’ve received interest from 4 States & 2 Countries!
  • We partner with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute AMA University Model Aviation Student Club #15104 & collaborate with the SUNY Fabrication Club, SUNY 3D Printing & Design Club & SUNY Baja Club to present our growing competition in Utica, NY!


  • We chose to create what is not available elsewhere — a truly low cost, high-impact, annually themed, safety-minded, inclusive, indoor, team competition, attractive to inner-city & rural populations!
  • Our centerpiece program encourages students to consider the emerging drone technology education & employment options available in New York State as well as other areas experiencing drone technology growth!


  • Preceded by years of research & discussions with STEM groups across the US
  • A key STEM program success factor was emphasized repeatedly by our Worldwide contacts – recognizable connection to the region’s technology
  • Prevalent in other successful STEM-focused competitions, a themed, multi-element format is 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 skill levels and financial ability
  • Access to mentors via email or phone – or in person at our Tech Meets – most questions answered within 24 hours!


  • 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 promote 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.
  • Mission elements all revolve around real world scenarios with practical skills applications


  • Low-cost registration & equipment needed to participate – teams can run a season for less than $600!  (+ travel)
  • Competition for ages 12+ !  (in line with AMA membership)
  • Up to 18 students can gain field experience at a competition – 2 to 6 Flight Crew Members on a field per Flight, with 3 Flights total!
  • total team size is not limited  – additional students can take part as pit crew support!
  • ~30’x60′ netted field supports 12 teams per competition level!
  • Indoor competition avoids weather issues!
  • Relevant, annually themed components provide real-world scenarios (& some just for fun) that allow teams to research, create, test, strategize & implement solutions!
  • STEM-focused elements target knowledge areas & practical skills!
  • Tech Meets (in-person & virtual) & personalized mentoring helps new teams get started!
  • Networked team coaches for newcomer guidance & shared learning!
  • NEW Middle/High School Level & College/Adult Level allows even more networking!
  • Not limited to schools! – school teams, after school programs, community groups, home school groups, clubs, family & friends – all are welcome in our OPEN competition!
“We encourage students to use drones to tackle real-world issues using problem solving skills, applied science & math, engineering, research & creativity! “


 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 Season – Dual Competition in Utica April 5, 2020

2021 Urban Themed – METRO-MELTDOWN – Competition(s) April 2021

2022  Construction Theme TBA  – Competition(s) April 2021


  • We welcome new ideas, new mentors, new volunteers and especially – new teams  – as we grow from Central New York into other regions!
  • All of our mission ideas come from actual situations, team feedback & suggestions we receive during the year!
  • We’re 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!