Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in Minnesota hosted the second Youth Drone Championships this past weekend.
Organized by Hydra FPV, the three-day competition drew 12 high school and junior high teams – including three teams from the host school (one of which was all girls).
“It’s kind of like NASCAR racing but in 3D,” St. Louis Park High senior Will Schwietering told KTSP-TV. “So, you race all over the place, you race through little hoops and LED courses.”
“They stick with it because they built the drone themselves,” Youth Drone Sports cofounder Marty Wetherall said in an interview with Fox 9.
Last year, Hydra sponsored the first Minnesota State High School Drone Racing Tournament in Apple Valley.
The Star-Tribune described the event:
“Apple Valley High School started a new drone construction, modification and flight elective this spring and filled two classes of students who met daily. St. Louis Park High School began incorporating FPV drones in its Engineering 3 class. Physics teacher Christopher Lee, who leads Apple Valley’s course, said that students have been arriving an hour before classes begin and staying late after school to practice flying. ‘I haven’t seen excitement like that from students in 30 years of teaching,’ he said.”
A Hydra FPV statement explains the company’s vision:
“Our tech lets fans see precisely what the racing pilots see, from anywhere, and our app lets you compete against other fans for pilot picking supremacy. We’re also growing the sport by letting kids race little drones with cameras on them, and they don’t even notice all the STEM skills they’re picking up as they fly around with their friends. Fast. (And safe.)”
“As part of this effort, students develop skills in STEM, 3D printing, teamwork, and critical thinking,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s noted on its Facebook page.
Twelve teams are now signed up for the league’s spring season.
- Students grades 6-12 work with a teacher to start an after-school drone racing club, with a minimum of four student pilots required to compete in team events. See YDSC Rules & Requirements page for more details. No prior drone experience is required or needed.
- YDSC provides one build-and-race drone kit per student (1:1 ratio) plus all necessary first-person view (FPV) equipment and assigns an expert local pilot mentor.
- YDSC schedules each team to compete in one team race event per month from January-April 2020 including entry into the 2nd Annual Minnesota State Drone Sports Tournament (date in April-May TBD).