Students test their UAV skills at Webster Field


By Mike Wilson

The 11th annual Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Seafarer Chapter student competition was held once again at Webster Field Friday and Saturday, June 21st and 22nd.

The annual competition is “aimed at stimulating and fostering interest in unmanned air systems, technologies and careers, is focused on engaging students in a challenging mission.” To that end, the students must design, integrate an onboard payload then demonstrate their UAS system can fly, navigate a specified course and that they can operate the onboard payload sensors – in this instance, cameras.

Moreover, the students must turn in technical papers and make oral presentations.

This year, the competition had 32 entries. Among those were five high school teams that included the Great Mills High School Engineering Club. The team of ten students was comprised of freshmen, juniors and sophomores. Each student had specific responsibilities. Some were structural, some were visual and some took care of the autopilot.

Unfortunately, the students had a mishap with their airplane the previous week so their replacement airplane was flown with a payload, etc…

A Great Mills mentor said that most of the graduating seniors join similar teams at their respective colleges. As an example, Great Mills graduate Joseph Hodkiewicz returned to the student competition with NC State University.

This year, the Hornet team walked away with $400 for their efforts while the NC State team went home with $4,450.