Encouraging the engineers of the future

Pupils from five schools across the regiona had to build and fly drones in the Airgineers competitio

Pupils from five schools across the regiona had to build and fly drones in the Airgineers competition at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook Picture: ROYAL HOSPITAL SCHOOL - Credit: Archant

The Royal Hospital School at Holbrook hosted the Airgineers STEM challenge attended by secondary schools from across the region.

The Royal Hospital School hosted Airgineers, a schools competitive event to build and fly drones.
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The Royal Hospital School hosted Airgineers, a schools competitive event to build and fly drones. Picture: ROYAL HOSPITAL SCHOOL - Credit: Archant

For the challenge, pupils design, build and learn to fly their own radio controlled quadcopter, often referred to as a drone.

RHS welcomed ten teams from five different schools to compete in the Micro Class events.

The drones that were flown had previously been built by the teams using CAD/CAM software, 3D printing and authorised components. Pilots control their drone from First Person View (FPV), wearing goggles that have a video feed directly from their drone – to the pilot, it feels like they are sitting in the cockpit.

The teams were faced with two challenges; ‘Head to Head’ and ‘Capture the Flag’.

Airgineers event at Royal Hospital School, a student `pilot' flies drone in the compeitition.
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Airgineers event at Royal Hospital School, a student `pilot' flies drone in the compeitition. Picture: ROYAL HOSPITAL SCHOOL - Credit: Archant

Both would test not only their piloting skills but the accuracy of their construction and effectiveness of their designs.

The Head to Head was a two team race around a course marked by a series of gates with the team who finished the three laps fastest being declared the winner. Capture the Flag saw two teams work together to try and capture more ‘flags’ than their opponent. Flags were awarded by hitting LED tubes and bonus points were awarded for landing their drones on the landing pads before the match ended.

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In Suffolk, the RHS pupils had spent weeks in lunchtime and after school sessions designing, building and tinkering with their Micro Drone.

Once it was built, they set about mastering piloting the craft and becoming accustomed to the FPV headset transmitting images from the tiny on board camera.

The winning team on the day was from the Ramsey Academy, Halstead.

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