It was all systems go Tuesday for a drone built by Wellington High School tech visionaries.
Teacher Dave Conklin led his class in the construction of both the outer body and digital programming of the pilot-less plane.
“The project started in late December,” said Conkin, who teaches language arts. “Then gradually over the past few months, it was a trial by error process of realizing we need this part or we need that part. Finally, we’ve been flying it for the past week. It’s been a game-changer in my class. Starting this from scratch was such a cool process. It’s special to this group, and it’s actually increased my enrollment by about four-fold.”
Students showed off the drone’s capabilities in the school gymnasium, with the drone flying as high as 20 feet off the ground, making swift and precise turns, and safely landing on a well-designed support system.
“Drones are now allowing us to get shots on film that were previously impossible,” said student Ethan Moore, who was involved with the programming of the drone.
Fellow student programmer Richard Maurer added that safety regarding drones will also be very important to consider as they become more popular, whether that be considering people walking in the vicinity of the drone or another aircraft.
Conklin agreed with his students that drones present reasons for both excitement and caution.
Drones are being put to use in any number of creative ways these days, from checking on livestock to exploring dangerous weather patterns to search and rescue operations.
In the business world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made waves a few years back by announcing his company would soon start delivering parcels on unmanned aerial craft.
“If Amazon comes through with its promise for drone delivery, you’re going to start seeing similar services everywhere,” Conklin said. “So the convenience factor with that would be simply amazing. They would be zipping all over the place, which could also be a big problem. How do you ever control and regulate that? Automobiles will face similar questions in the future, with how they are beginning to use self-driving features and sensors to park and navigate traffic. I think concerns will be ironed out as the technology develops.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Wellington High students show off the drone they created with teacher Dave Conklin.