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AMA's UAS4STEM National Competition Coming to AirVenture
April 15, 2021 – Something new is coming to Oshkosh this year, as EAA hosts the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) National UAS4STEM competition during AirVenture 2021 week. AMA's nationwide contest, held since 2016, simulates a search and rescue mission utilizing unmanned drones.
"After the cancellation of the 2020 competition, we couldn't think of a better way to make the 2021 event special by showcasing what the world of aviation has to offer these youth at AirVenture," said AMA Education Director Kyle Jaracz. "We are so thankful to the Experimental Aircraft Association for being such wonderful hosts as we work to make this an experience that these kids will always remember,"
High school teams of 4-10 members each will converge in an area located at the southwest edge of the EAA property for the 2021 competition on July 29-30. Each team is tasked with completing an online curriculum that includes safety and flight training, building information, aircraft programming, and building Quadzilla quadcopters. One element of each team's build is a customized drop mechanism used to drop simulated supplies to a target.
The competitors receive points for an oral briefing that they present to judges before their flights, meeting the requirements of the flight mission, completing autonomous flight tasks, and finding the mystery items. The autonomous flight tasks include takeoff, landing, accurately displaying the "no-fly-zone" boundaries, and waypoint navigation. The team with the most points will take home the title and the top three teams receive prize checks.
"It's so rewarding from an educator’s perspective to see these kids using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to solve these challenges," Jaracz said.
The competitors invited to the nationals will represent the best of the best teams, having excelled in their regional competitions. These students truly are some of the best and brightest in their communities, pushing the boundaries of drone technology and developing practical skillsets that enable creativity, innovation, teamwork, and fun as they work towards these goals.
The competition began as STEM4UAS in 2015 before becoming the current UAS4STEM program. It was initially developed and operated by the U.S. Navy with assistance from AMA member Archie Stafford, who has since been the AMA national director for UAS4STEM.