Students steer drones in pilot program

Students watch a drone in action. - PHOTOS: Alma Chollette

Through the YMCA’s “Discovery with Drones” program, students from Sir John A. Cumber Primary School flew a drone for the first time this week.

On Tuesday, 24 students spent their evening learning about drones, flying them and meeting with drone professionals.

Led by YMCA instructor Desmond White, students were introduced to the many uses, and possible uses, of drone technology on the island. Students then became acquainted with the controls and the drone itself and watched a demonstration before test-driving their steering abilities in the school’s hall.

Students participating in the ‘Discovery with Drones’ program make a run to avoid a falling drone.
Students participating in the ‘Discovery with Drones’ program make a run to avoid a falling drone.

Malaya Myles, 10, found it to be “too hard,” she said with a laugh, “but I got used to it.” Nevertheless, “It’s fun to fly with,” she said, adding that she hopes her parents will buy one for her.

Malaya said the program is “fabulous and great because they have great teachers.”

After every student had a go at flying a drone, they watched a special presentation by three representatives of AirVu, a drone operations company specializing in media production, safety and security.

A young drone pilot tries her hand at flying one of the machines for the first time.
A young drone pilot tries her hand at flying one of the machines for the first time.

Damien Murphy, Gene Pascual and Mick Davidson of AirVu demonstrated one of their drone’s capacity to reach high elevations and its filming ability. The AirVu drone flew much higher than the school, which impressed the students.

YMCA operations manager Gillian Roffey said, “I definitely think the kids have shown an interest.”

Ms. Roffey said Discovery with Drones is a 10-week pilot program to encourage students to participate in related after-school activities during the new school year.

Mr. Thornton added that students can now access a technology that was once only accessible for military use.

Discovery with Drones so far has been introduced to students from Sir John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay and John Gray High School in George Town.

The pilot program will continue at the YMCA’s summer camps, and organizers hope all government schools will eventually sign up.

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