Three ninth grade students in the Tulsa Learning Academy Beyond program competed in the 7th annual AeroGames at Rogers State University. The students spent a few weeks making and perfecting their drone in preparation for the event.
“We had to come up with different designs. We were just trying to make it light enough because it wouldn’t come off the ground at first,” said Kjaveus.
During the competition, teams had 15 minutes to complete the obstacle course, which was made up of six sections:
- Elevated Pass Thru
- Vertical Slalom
- Bullseye Landing and Vertical Takeoff
- Three-Point 180-Degree Turn
- Obstacle X-Treme Wind Challenge
- Top Cup Pyramid Finish
The 15 teams from schools across eastern Oklahoma were judged on time, speed, distance, and accuracy. This was the first time students from Tulsa Learning Academy had taken part in the AeroGames, and they quickly learned it was an exercise in persistence.
“Friday was a lot to handle. We had to rebuild it a lot because we crashed it a lot. After we crashed it, we had to hurry up and put the propellers and things on there so we could get back out and fly it,” said Kjaveaus. “We had to be resilient and not just give up as soon as it crashed. We could have easily just said we don’t want to do this anymore, but we didn’t. We just kept on rebuilding it and flying it.”
Their resilience paid off. The TLA trio finished in third place – outscoring larger teams who had participated in previous years.
“We worked well as a team,” said Jasmin.
“It was a great experience for me,” said Kjaveus. “I didn’t expect us to come in third place. Of course, we were aiming for first place, but we had to be realistic.”
The students are already strategizing to try for that first place win next year.
“I would do more time with it so I could get better control of the drone,” said Orion, who piloted it for team.
The students brought back a third-place trophy and a fueled excitement for STEM, which makes their first AeroGames showing a huge success.
Click here to learn more about the AeroGames, and watch the video below to see a snippet of the competition.