The sky’s the limit for young pilots

By: By Gavin Stone - Staff Writer
Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.
Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.
Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.
Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game. Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.

HAMLET — The robotics and advanced 3-D modeling portion of the G.R.E.A.T. STEM Academy wrapped up at Richmond Community College on Thursday, with young students looking to apply their new skills in future careers.

The weeklong camp sessions exposed students to the basics of emerging technology that will be in high demand in the future, according to Jeff instructor Epps.

“By the time these students get to college, they will have a well-rounded understanding of these technologies,” Epps said. “That’s the method to the madness.”

By completing each camp — six are offered during the summer — students earn 2.8 continuing-education credits toward their college credits and can earn a total of 16.8 in a summer, Epps said.

Chad Mayfield, 14, a rising freshman at Richmond Senior High School, said he was on his way to getting his drone license as he demonstrated the moves he and his classmates coded their drones to make: liftoff, land and flip automatically with the push of a button — but he hadn’t figured out how to program the drone to move straight in one direction.

“Everything we do in this class applies to the other classes,” Mayfield said.

Makaili Sweatt, 16, and Abbie Terry, 16, volunteered to support the students in the camps. Both already have their commercial drone licenses, which they said opened up a host of careers options, such as helping law enforcement search for missing people or taking pictures for real-estate agencies.

In the 3-D modeling camp, Epps said, students learned to print complex objects by piecing together simpler objects. They would look at a chair, for example, and measure the dimensions of its individual parts, print those and combine them.

They assembled a land-based robot and programmed it to recognize obstacles and get around them.

They learned to program the drone to follow a line on the ground.

“The key thing is it teaches them logical thinking,” Epps said. “They build the robot, which is pretty simple, but to write a sentence (of code) that the robot can understand is taking it to the next level.”

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone2-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal

Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.

https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone2bw-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal

Chad Mayfield executes a flip with a drone in the Forte Building at RCC on Thursday.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone3-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game. Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone3bw-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game. Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt, right in orange, helps Jackson Hernandez guide his drone onto the landing pad at Richmond Community College on Thursday. Hernandez was controlling a drone for only his second time, and he landed it right on the pad, saying that doing so felt like playing a video game.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal

Jackson Hernandez and Makaili Sweatt watch a drone as Hernandez attempts to guide it down to the orange landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone4-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal

Jackson Hernandez and Makaili Sweatt watch a drone as Hernandez attempts to guide it down to the orange landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Jackson Hernandez and Makaili Sweatt watch a drone as Hernandez attempts to guide it down to the orange landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone4bw-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal Jackson Hernandez and Makaili Sweatt watch a drone as Hernandez attempts to guide it down to the orange landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal

Makaili Sweatt helps Jackson Hernandez guide the drone onto the landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone5-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal

Makaili Sweatt helps Jackson Hernandez guide the drone onto the landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

Gavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt helps Jackson Hernandez guide the drone onto the landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drone5bw-1.jpgGavin Stone | Daily Journal Makaili Sweatt helps Jackson Hernandez guide the drone onto the landing pad on Thursday at Richmond Community College.

By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]