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Students to fly drones in contest

When the Federal Aviation Administration allows unmanned drones to be flown by private companies, Rebecca Cantrell wants Dayton to be at the forefront.

Cantrell, executive director of Ohio Robotics a nonprofit that helps give students skills they need to be in science and math careers, said there is no reason Dayton can’t be leader in the unmanned aerial systems industry.

On Saturday, her organization is sponsoring a student contest involving drones at Sinclair University. Twenty-eight students from area high schools will compete against each other with hand-made drones that they will fly across a scale replica of downtown to deliver a package. The students will be judged on accuracy, delivering a quarter pound package within the time limit of five minutes, and keeping the drone in the air.

Five area technology leaders will give speeches at the event, which starts at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

The rules for the competition state students can’t make their UAS from a kit, so all drones were designed and made by the students themselves, Cantrell said.

Students from Springboro, Valley View, Centerville, Ponitec, Fairmont and Milford will compete.

The point of the day is to show Dayton the importance of producing UAS’s, Cantrell said.

“Dayton is a big manufacturing base, especially with aerospace manufacturing,”Cantrell said. “We’re trying to make the connection with aerospace when drones are opened up to the public.”