Planes weren't the only objects taking flight during the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV, over the weekend.
Embry-Riddle Worldwide invited Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) operators to compete in a challenge that demonstrated both aircraft and skill. The event, which was presented in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno, drew 20 challengers — both young and old.
Operators were hobbyists and professionals (and everything in between) with various sized systems. Competitors were judged for their system’s ability to maneuver an obstacle course, lift weight and quickly complete a time trial.
“It was really interesting. We had a UAS that completed the obstacle course in 4 minutes, while another completed it in just 14 seconds,” said David Thirtyacre, assistant professor of aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Worldwide. “And the crowd was fabulous.”
The overall winner was Michael Pham from Antelope, CA, and another of Pham's UAS aircraft finished second. Embry-Riddle freshman Andrew Grant (PC) placed third.
Nevada was named one of six UAS test sites selected in late 2013 by the FAA. Through efforts like the Small UAS Challenge and UAS continuing education courses, Embry-Riddle Worldwide is promoting awareness of the industry and supporting its workforce development needs throughout the state.