Vermont Team Heads to National Aerial Drone Championships

Drones are buzzing around a high school as students prepare to compete in the National Aerial Drone Championships in West . The River Valley Tech Club, which hosted Vermont's first aerial drone tournament in January, will reportedly represent the state as the sole team from Vermont at this prestigious event.

Rising Stars of the Drone World

Eighth-graders Coltrane Tallman and Emma are among the talented members of the River Valley Tech Club. They're excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage.

“It's nice to have a bigger community,” said Tallman. Emma added, “Just try and have fun. Trial and error is the best thing that can happen.”

The Competition

The competition includes various challenges designed to test multiple skills. One event, autonomous flying, requires participants to code a drone's flight path without manual piloting. Another event, team flight competition, tests the students' abilities to navigate obstacles and achieve precise landings.

Tallman has learned valuable programming strategies, noting, “I've learned a lot of different programming strategies like adding comments, using measurements or seconds, and estimating trial and error.”

A Decade in the Making

Instructor Christopher Gray highlighted the evolution of the club, which began nearly a decade ago with a focus on robotics.

“The idea is that with drones, we're teaching the students piloting skills and communication skills, which is really important. This is a team sport,” said Gray.

The club's objectives extend beyond competition. Gray emphasizes that the skills the students are acquiring will be invaluable in the future job market. “These are the kinds of skills that are in high demand now, and the jobs of the next 10 years haven't even been invented yet. And that's what these students are gonna be walking into,” Gray explained.

Growth and Expansion

The club has seen significant growth, expanding from just 10 members last year to a team of 34 this year. Despite being a relatively new team, they are optimistic about their chances at the national competition. “I think I'll keep coming here next year,” said Emma, reflecting on her positive experience with the club.

The National Aerial Drone Championships in Fairmont, , begin at 9 a.m. on Friday. The River Valley Tech Club aims to make Vermont proud with their performance.

DroneXL's Take

This story highlights the burgeoning interest and potential in among young students. Competitions like the National Aerial Drone Championships not only provide a platform for showcasing talent but also foster important skills that will be crucial in the future job market.

The growth of the River Valley Tech Club underscores the increasing popularity and importance of drone technology . As drones become more integrated into various industries, the experience and skills gained by these students will undoubtedly pave the way for exciting career opportunities.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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