Updated: Apr 30, 2023 @ 4:30 pm

Please note that the Northeast Team Drone Challenge season, FARM-i-GEDDON, remains on pause.  We’ve kept a great deal of the equipment keep the 50+ page manuals for our Challengesl to pick up where we left off when the timing is right.  Contact us with your interest in a reboot.  CNYDrones@gmail.com


  • 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!

Video of 2019 FOREST FURY  (Youtube Channel:  CNY Drones)



  • 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 & financial ability
  • Access to mentors via email or phone – or in person at our Tech Meets – most questions answered within 24 hours!
  • Supported by Tech Meets & a network of team coaches willing to share their knowledge!


  • 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!
  • Northeast Competition Day hosted annually at the beginning of April by SUNY AMA UMASC in cooperation with other engineering-focused student clubs as SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica, NY
“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


2021 FARM-i-GEDDON Season – Northeast Competition  



Programs Under Development

METRO-MELTDOWN  – urban themed

CONSTRUCTION CATASTROPHE – construction site themed


  • 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!

We understand that other organizations will try copy our ideas or reverse engineer our material.  We rely on the honesty and integrity of those involved in our events to help us continuously improve & keep steps ahead of those who choose to not be unique.

All materials created by our group are property of CNY Drones.  Reuse by permission only.  We will offer partnership agreements to organizations willing to invest in events for their communities.