July 20, 2018

Chopticon HS to Host Quadcopter Skills Expo

Quadcopter Initiative

A Quadcopter Skills Expo is set for 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, April 21, 2018, at Chopticon High School in Morganza. Doors will open at 9:15 am for teams to prepare. At the expo, teams will be able to show off what they have learned throughout the year. Every team will present their challenge to the other UAS teams and include information like a challenge logbook that includes timelines, successes, failures, learning experiences, and then a detailed explanation of the skill challenge, its expected outcome, and its uses in real life. Last, the team will present their skill challenge, which can be flight-based, video or oral presentation.

The expo follows a series of training and information sessions sponsored by The Patuxent Partnership‘s UAS/Quadcopter Initiative in St. Mary’s County. Matt Scassero, executive director of the University of Maryland’s UAS Test Site, hosted the teams at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site on Airport Drive in Hollywood where teams were able to see a variety of UAVs and discuss the current and future application of UAS.

TPP began the quadcopter initiative using a STEM-for-All grant from the Office of Naval Research. The initiative provides information and resources for students who have created quadcopter teams.

The initiative is addressing the educational components and theories of unmanned aerial system operations and flight. The program is for all high school students and teams who are interested in learning about unmanned aerial systems and developing skills to build and fly these systems. No special equipment or unmanned aerial vehicles are required. Teams can use existing equipment, buy a system, or even challenge themselves and build their own UAS.

The material for training and curriculum was developed by Aviation Systems Engineering Co. and is available to all teams (free of charge). Teams’ coaches and mentors use the curriculum as a guide to develop their own comprehensive program best suited for their team. Meeting frequency and duration is decided by the individual teams.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Education Outreach Office helps teams by providing a subject matter expert to serve as a team mentor. Mentors are usually certified pilots through the Academy of Model Aeronautics and offer an incredible amount of unmanned aircraft systems experience.

In addition to meetings within each team, participating teams attend sessions that are designed to provide more information about UAS theory, research, education, and career opportunities. Also, sessions include collaboration time (60 to 90 minutes) during which teams address issues and difficulties related to the design and operation of their UAS. Subject matter experts help teams resolve problems with equipment or software. The forum allows students to work together with the help of industry experts and maximize their learning experience.

The first session was held in November and included guests speakers from the ASEC UAS Research and Development team, which presented current projects and demonstrated some of the newest technology being used in industry and government. The second session was held in January at the Lexington Park Library. The next session was held March 11 in anticipation of the April expo.

About The Patuxent Partnership

TPP fosters collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and expertise across a diverse network that includes government, industry, and academia. TPP also supports STEM education and workforce development within the local community including hosting programs of interest to NAVAIR, NAWCAD, and the broader DoD community.

To learn more about The Patuxent Partnerships and its programs, visit its Leader member page.

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