The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS) Unmanned Aerial Systems program hosted its inaugural Drone Day competition last month, with flight and build competitions that encouraged creative thinking in this emerging industry. Local teams from five high schools and one middle school competed in the event.
The UAFS Drone Day event ran in conjunction with International Drone Day on May 4, 2019, when more than 150 events were held across more than 50 countries, all with the intent of inspiring enthusiasm for unmanned aerial technology.
“When we brought an unmanned aerial systems program to Western Arkansas, we did it because we knew this technology was important, and we knew our community would embrace the chance to be on the forefront of an industry that is set to have an enormous economic impact on our state and region,” said Dr. Edward Serna, interim chancellor of UAFS. “With 20 teams from six schools at our first Drone Day event, I think the community has proven that they do.”
“This is a great opportunity for local schools and the community to see the exciting work we’re doing here at the university with our Unmanned Aerial Systems program,” said David Pollman, director of the UAS program. “Our goal is to promote collaboration between schools and teams, both now and in the future.”
Students flew drones they either built or 3D-printed through an aerial obstacle course consisting of a series of vertical and horizontal poles, as well as around mesh tubes and walls. Teams also presented their projects to judges in addition to flying the competition route. Teams were judged on presentation and the ability to navigate the course, as well as completion times.
“We are so excited to offer this kind of event to our region. Exposing students to emerging technology is crucial to our success as a university, and their experiences with it will benefit regional industries in the years to come,” said Dr. Ken Warden, Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology at UAFS.
Gleim Aviation shared our printed Learn to Fly booklets with UAFS to distribute to students at Drone Day. Our flight training resources are also utilized in some of the university’s courses.
We are excited to be part of the energy surrounding the drone industry and involved with high schools, colleges, flight schools, and individuals looking to become FAA-certified UAS operators. The FAA has multiple live webinars planned this summer that are free. If you are interested in starting a drone program, flying safely recreationally, navigation, etc., these are all topics scheduled in the coming months.
Check out the Gleim Aviation resources to prepare for your Part 107 exam and, as always, for more information about our flight training resources or flight simulation, call one of our knowledgeable Aviation Training Consultants at 800.874.5346, ext. 471, or contact us online.
Original reporting by Rachel Rodemann Putman, UAFS News
Written by Callie Wilkes, Gleim Aviation Marketing & STEM Coordinator