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The Student News Site of Fort Collins High School

Spilled Ink

The Student News Site of Fort Collins High School

Spilled Ink

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@fchsspilledink: The Lambkin cross country team raced at FCHS this morning against other local schools. Both the boys and girls placed third.

Drones club members fly high

Connor Clark
Sophomore Eli DeVries repairs a drone during a Drones Flyer Club meeting on Sept. 27. The club meets every second and fourth Wednesday each month to learn to build, modify, and race drones.

Sitting at the edge of the racecourse, goggles in place, controller in hand, the racer revved up his custom-built FPV drone, feeling the thrill of anticipation run through him. With a deep breath, he shot his drone into the sky, ready to take on the twists and turns of the exhilarating race ahead. 

First Person View (FPV) quadcopter racing is a sport in which competitors build and modify quadcopters for speed and maneuverability before controlling the high-speed drones through complex obstacle courses.

Pilots wear headsets that allow them to remotely control their drones while being fed live video feeds from their onboard cameras, offering an immersive first-person perspective. 

The FCHS Drones Flyer Club gives members the opportunity to learn to fly quadcopter drones along with many other types. The club also allows participants to learn to build and modify drones themselves.

“Our focus is education in flying, and pairing, and really doing anything with an unmanned aircraft,” Leo Cole, president of the Drones Flyer Club, said. “There really are a lot of cool technical aviation opportunities in Drones Club.”

Each year, the club hosts an event at the school known as the Drones Expo, where students who are not in the club get the opportunity to try out flying them, and the students in the club are able to participate in an FPV drones race with various other schools in PSD.

“Our goal there [at the Expo] is just to spread that education around, as an extracurricular pathway beyond the classroom,” Cole said.

In addition, in conjunction with the military, the club provides students information about different ways in which drones can be employed in real life situations in practical ways, beyond racing or commercial flying.

“Something that really interests me in the club is the opportunity to learn how to operate drones and connect different routers,” junior Will Emslie said. “Aviation technology is something that I find really interesting, and because there isn’t a class for it, the club is the next best thing.”

Though some have an interest in aviation science and engineering as future careers, others just appreciate a fun place to hang out with friends.

“My friend had told me about the club, so I went with him to one of the meetings,” junior Grady Belongie said. “I got to fly one of the drones and thought it was really cool, so I’ve been going ever since.”

Other club members get involved in broader opportunities to race.

“I’ve been racing competitively for about two years now,” junior Magnus Moran said. “I have my own drones and I’m always learning new ways to modify them to make them better.”

Cole also recognizes ways in which his involvement in the Drones Flyer Club has helped him to develop personally.

“I’ve learned a lot about leadership and trying to recruit people for an organization and I think that’s very interesting,” Cole said. “I thought that leading it, I could really see those opportunities from a higher perspective and be able to give those opportunities to other people.”

Whether students are looking for a new hobby, a way to learn about a novel kind of engineering, or just a fun place to hang out with friends, everyone is welcome at the Drones Flyer Club every second and fourth Wednesday at lunch in L-105.

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About the Contributor
Connor Clark
Connor Clark, Staff Writer and Photographer
Connor Clark is a junior at Fort Collins High School and is a staff writer and photographer for Spilled Ink. He loves to work out, explore nature, and fly drones. He is often finding something to do and somewhere to go; always trying new ways to record the beautiful blue and green earth. In the future, he plans to join the police force as either a drone operator or a K9 handler.

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