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Mounds View Drone Club Wins Nationals

Joe Pasdo, staff reporter

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Following their regional tournament win in Fargo, North Dakota this past June, the Mounds View Drone Club moved on to compete at the national tournament. After the two day competition in Manse, Indiana, the team emerged victorious, beating the 11 other teams from around the country and taking first place.

During the competition itself, teams of eight were tasked with flying their drone to specific waypoints and search for objects. They were judged on a point system that was based on how well tasks were handled and completed.

“Each team came prepared and spent a lot of time getting ready for the competition,” said team founder Ben Chen, 11. “I enjoyed watching each of them compete and have fun.” While each team was competitively prepared, what set Mounds View apart was their “presentation and a deeper understanding of drones,” said Chen.

Despite their preparations, however, the competition didn’t go perfect — the team was hindered by a rainstorm, but they were able to overcome the challenge by switching modules and adjusting their equipment.

Drone Club was founded last year when Chen, member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (an organization that advocates safe drone use and other aviation hobbies), was asked if he wanted to partake in a new competition they created. Finding the idea worthwhile, Chen gathered a few friends and started a team. As a niche interest, the club appeals to its members through the common enthusiasm for drones. “ It’s a very small community and everyone who is involved is passionate about what they are doing,” said team member Shant Sabame, 11.

The season starts in January, when the team starts building and testing their drones. After the drones have been built, they enter a regional competition, followed by the national competition if they win. During the season, the team meets every Wednesday after school. The club is open to all who are interested, regardless of skill level; the skills needed for drone club are acquired with experience. For more information, contact Ben Chen at 2018chenb53@moundsviewschools.org.

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Mounds View Drone Club Wins Nationals