By CARL KOTALA
Holy Trinity eighth-grader Braxton LaNois gets a demonstration on working with racing drones from Moboluwarin Olajoyegbe of Aethervision during an introductory meeting last month. The school is forming a drone racing club team.
VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Michelle Salyer
Nearly 30 students have expressed interest in being part of a new club team being formed at Holy Trinity.
A drone racing team.
The team will compete March 23 at the Innovation Games as part of the Melbourne Air Show at the Melbourne Airport with at least two additional piloting days scheduled for February and March.
Brevard County School Board member Matt Susin (District 4) introduced the idea of the drone racing league and was quite receptive to including private and home-schooled students into what could eventually turn into a state-wide event. Viera High is starting a drone racing team, too.
Holy Trinity held an introductory meeting last month that drew a number of students and parents. Aethervision, a local company helping to supply the drones, also was on hand.
“There’s two basic types of drones — the ones you buy at the hobby stores with the full-motion cameras that you use to take pictures and do surveys and things like that,” said Holy Trinity Physical Science teacher Matthew Bowden, one of the club’s advisors.
“Those move fairly slow and they’re for taking pictures from the air. Racing drones use what’s called a first-person view camera, where you’re seeing what the camera — which points straight ahead — sees. You see, in a blur, where the drone is going. That’s actually the hardest part about learning to fly these things is the visuals of it.”
Holy Trinity’s Director of College Counseling, Alison Bell, also is a club advisor and sees it as an opportunity for students to take advantage of an emerging skill market.
“Drone piloting is probably high on that list because of all the potential applications,” she said.
In addition to practicing at school — in the gym and the Tiger Café — Holy Trinity has additional plans for students with an expressed interest in drones.
The school plans to hold a short course, called a micro-term, once this year and possibly three times next year depending on student interest and teacher availability.
“While it will be titled a drone course, we can infuse so many disciplines in there with math and engineering and science and even technical writing,” Holy Trinity president Katherine Cobb said.
“Students will come for a micro-term, so it will be one week, six hours a day, and they will be immersed in this specific subject. Our goal is they won’t even know they’re learning that. They’re just having fun.”