VIENNA — Brooklyn Bokan hopes to one day study law beginning at Youngstown State University, though you might say she recently practiced outside of the courtroom by helping her team employ a few laws of physics.
“I oversaw the design and printing; I 3-D’d the drone,” Bokan, a McDonald High School senior, explained.
Bokan helped lay the groundwork for preparing a drone she and fellow team members used for Saturday’s first Trumbull County Drone Racing League in two hangars at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport off state Route 193.
Hosting the inaugural competition were the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, Winner Aviation and the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.
Students representing the Trumbull County ESC as well as LaBrae, Badger, Brookfield, Lordstown, McDonald and Chalker high schools took part in the three-hour event.
Bokan said her greatest challenge prior to the competition was figuring out, then matching, specific sizing. The 12th-grader also expressed appreciation for a 3D class her school offers and added she has learned 3D printing partly from Fusion 360, a cloud-based software platform for design and product manufacturing.
Among those who brought their premade drones were Trey Reese and Sam Watkins, Chalker High in Southington freshmen, and Ethan Ancell, a Chalker junior, all of whom spent time after school making certain modifications, using a computer and a 3D printer, as well as watching videos.
Dabbling in drones is nothing new for Watkins, whose father was part of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office drone team.
Reese added he and fellow team members worked together after school in a lab and that he was part of a robotics team.
Matthew Roth, the ESC’s communications supervisor, noted the students took part in two bracket-style competitions to test their skills and acumen.
One challenged them to amass points by flying their drones as many times as possible through five gates along a makeshift track within two minutes, which tested their accuracy and precision.
In another, the teams were tasked with flying their devices over 10 “flags,” five of each that were red and blue. The object of the “capture the flag” competition was to turn all 10 of them the same color, Roth explained.
The champion team was Brookfield High School, which scored 336.5 points in the events, he noted. Chalker came in second.
The students likely gained great enjoyment from the tournament, but it also is hoped they will develop a deeper appreciation for aeronautics, Ed Mackeiwicz, event coordinator, said.
Mackiewicz, who’s also a curriculum instructor supervisor for Trumbull County ESC, added he hopes to expand the event next year, possibly by being linked to a national competition.
“I hope it will lead to team-building skills, manipulation and engineering of a drone, and help them in understanding aviation a little better,” he said, adding that the field carries a variety of career opportunities via Winner Aviation and the PIA.