Written and photographed by: Finn (7th grade)


When I walked in, the Micro Air Vehicles Winterm was flying drones through obstacles and I was asked to put on protective safety goggles to protect my eyes from drone blades. After about five minutes of observing, I pulled a student to ask him questions about this Winterm, and here’s what he said. 

Garrett, what’s your day-to-day like?
In the mornings we’re supposed to have a guest speaker or go on a field trip. Today they couldn't come so we just jumped into flying drones. When we are flying to avoid interference we split into three groups in different rooms. There are different rules (director, pilot, research) in each of the groups that rotate. 

Can you describe the jobs?
The researcher will figure out the flight path and plan, the director will guide the pilot and the pilot will fly the drone.

How many jobs have you done?
We all have mainly been pilots and directors.

What’s your favorite part of the Winterm?
The field trip was pretty fun and we went to an airport and got to see stuff that you probably wouldn't get to see. Not because it's not open to the public but because when you're in the airport you mainly focus on getting from point A to point B as fast as you can and people don't notice, for instance, there's a religious room at the airport.  

After interviewing a student, I wanted to get the perspective of one of the instructors, Mr. Ragen Mitchell.

How did you come up with the idea for this Winterm?
I like flying and back in the day I used to fly for the Air Force. Also, it has to do with physics and math…”

At this point in the interview, we were interrupted due to a drone losing a protective guard but soon it got back on track.

Did you have any other Ideas for Winterms?
No, when I had this Idea I thought it would be exciting and I guess it was because we had 90 kids sign up and we ended up with 24 people and with two additional teachers (Mr. Daren Lauria and Mr. Virgil Whitmyer) there working with me as well. To make space, we split into three groups (alpha, beta, gamma). Alfas are in the science room (where we were). Betas in the band room with Mr. Lauria. And gammas are in the math room with Mr. Whitmyer. Within those groups, they’re divided into four and each four has one drone that they are responsible for during the whole Winterm.

What’s been your favorite part of this Winterm?
I'd say learning how to fly. In the next two years, the drone industry will become a $2 billion industry. It’s huge in agriculture and it’s also taking a lot of jobs, too. If you think about a person doing a bridge inspection of the Golden Gate Bridge, you used to have a barge and scaffolding. Now, all it takes is a drone to do that inspection. So it's just amazing and I really enjoy learning about the technology advancement.