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Get used to it – drones are here to stay

Varnett technical support specialist  Mr. Virguens Honorius recently did a little show-and-tell as he brought three drones to the Northeast Campus.

These are not the kind the government uses in military operations, but those that weigh 0.8 ounces, have 10-minute flight times and collect data. He brought the drones to show 5th graders how they work and to demonstrate they are more than just playthings.

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Mr. Honorius responded to email questions about the key points of his presentation.

Q: What type of drones did you bring to class?

A:  These were mini drones from a company known as Cheerson.

Q: How big are they? How much do they weigh?

A:  Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.8 x 3.1 inches, Weight: 0.8 ounces; Flight Time: 10 minutes

Tech specialist impresses students with mini-drone flight (Video)

Q: Where did you get them?

A: I placed an order through Amazon.  They are priced at $15 each and I’m using them to experience how to fly the more expensive drones. (I’d rather damage a $15 drone than a $2,000 drone.) I want to start getting into aerial photography/videos as a hobby for my thrill-seeking adventures.

Q: What did you want to tell the 5th graders about the drones?

 A:  I wanted to instill that there's more to drones than just flying them around, and to spark an interest into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field. The students had a blast flying them around.

Q: How do you dispel the notion that drones are primarily used in military operations?

 A:  We discussed how drones are being used by law enforcement, military and for commercial use. For example,  Amazon Prime Air  is a future delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using small drones. We discussed how fire departments are using drones to stop the spread of wildfires. The idea is to provide a safe mechanism for fire departments around the world to perform fire management tasks with less risk and higher efficiency. Law enforcement is able to use drones as an additional surveillance tool by carrying camera systems capable of license plate scanning and thermal imaging.

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Q: What are the legal issues and describe the possible danger of using drones?

A: Yes, if they are being used by someone with malicious intentions; just like any other technology out there. Drone manufactures have built-in security features within most drones that prevent someone from flying above or near around certain landmarks around the world. The Federal Aviation Administration manages and requires anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250g) and less than 55 lbs. (25kg) to register with the Federal Aviation Administration's UAS registry before they fly outdoors. People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.

Q: Any safety tips?

A: Practice with the smaller and cheaper models in an open field away from cars, people and houses.

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Q: Are drones the wave of the future?

A:  I really believe that they are. The new trend in technology is the Internet of Things (IoT) and drones are definitely in that arena. The Internet of Things is all about connecting physical objects such as vehicles, homes, buildings,  etc. with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. One day, your refrigerator will be able to know what items to re-order based on your eating patterns and those items might be delivered with the use of a drone within minutes.

Mr. Honorius took apart a drone and passed it around so the students could see the internal components and the roles they play during a flight operation.

Ms. Anna Medina, the Northeast Campus parent liaison, contributed to the presentation by making a poster of drone facts and gathering reading passages and questions for the students to answer and fill out.

Photos and video by Ms. Anna Medina, Northeast Campus parent liaison

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