Drone club gifted grant

Team to enter new tournaments

Used+with+permission+from+Clayton+Horstman+Olson.++The+team+practices+online+using+simulators+to+prepare+for+racing+tournaments.

Used with permission from Clayton Horstman Olson. The team practices online using simulators to prepare for racing tournaments.

Isabel Nathan

Although COVID-19 has interrupted many club activities and meetings, the Park Drone club was recently given a grant that allows them to practice and compete in a new drone racing league. According to senior and co-captain Clayton Horstman Olson, the money gave the team the opportunity to join new races.

“The grant was an entrance fee to get into the organization (Ready Tech Go) and the idea is that we can play in new tournaments and races,” Horstman Olson said. 

According to adviser Mark Miller, part of the money will be used to buy necessary materials for the club.

“Anything extra that we have will go into buying supplies so that students don’t have to spend a ton of money out of pocket — you got to buy drones, you got to buy replacement parts, you gotta buy batteries (and) you got to buy controllers and goggles,” Miller said.

Senior John Falzone said the grant allows the club to access different flight courses so they can practice flying the drones in a lot of different scenarios. 

“Every single race is different, so getting to know different courses and different obstacles is a really good method of getting better,” Falzone said.

According to Horstman Olson, the club has been practicing online using a drone flying simulator on a computer, allowing people to race from all around the world.

“When it switched to virtual racing, we were able to hook up our controllers to our computer and use an online simulator  — whoever can come or wants to come shows up and we’ve raced with people from Australia, and from Arizona and other places,” Horstman Olson said.

The entrance into the new league at the Mall of America is a good opportunity because it’ll draw more attention to the new team, according to Falzone. 

“The Mall of America is a very popular place to go, and so we’ll get more viewers and more people interested in the club,” Falzone said.

It’s more exposure towards drone racing which is great.””

— John Falzone

Miller said even though the season will be virtual, he expects the drone team to have a lot of fun and learn a lot.

“The official season will start in January, and it’ll probably have to start virtually, but it will be a blast — I’m super excited about it,” Miller said.

To join, contact Mark Miller via email.