MQC Visits Local STEM Program

When I first started the MQC, one of my goals was to help others get into the hobby by educating them about the building and maintenance of drones and the proper safety procedures that should be followed when flying them. Until today, all of that had been done through the online entities that have been created – via reviewing products on YouTube, helping fellow MQC members over the phone, or assisting them via private messages on Instagram. All that changed today when I had the chance to visit one of the local summer STEM programs in my area and do a demo for the kids.

IMG_7106What is the STEM Program
The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—and by an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects. President Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fields. It facilitates this by gathering some of the brightest students at each school and giving them the chance to broaden their education through hands on learning experiences outside of the classroom.  I wish that I had something this cool when I was a kid!

Welcome to FPV 
The feeling of arriving at the school and being greeted by a swarm of 30+ kids asking “how fast”, “how far”, and “can’t it drop bombs” was enough to put IMG_7111a smile on anyones face. I walked them through the different parts of both my Hovership ZUUL and my Xhover MXP230 and explained to them some of the safety considerations that go into being a drone pilot. They were amazed at all the different parts that go into something so small, and I could tell by the look on their faces that some of them would be asking their parents for one the second they arrived home.

Then it was go time. I handed over my spare goggles to the group and took off, doing my best to show them some rolls, flips, and some proximity before coming to a landing to a few cheers and a ton of smiles. It was then that I realized that they had the same grin that all of us had the first time we flew FPV – and that made my smile even bigger. A few batteries later, it was time for their next activity; which I think I was just as sad about as they were. What could possibly be cooler than this?! 🙂

The End? No Way!
I had an absolute blast introducing the kids to mini quads and taking them on their first couple FPV flights. They are the future of our hobby, and if we ever want it to become a sport and continue to flourish, we must educate the youth and get them into flying and FPV as early as possible. I made a ton of new friends today (including another fellow pilot who had a ZMR and had already been flying FPV – awesome!) and can’t wait for my next opportunity to spread the good word about our hobby to the next generation of pilots.

As a member of the MQC, we should all try and find ways to educate those around us and get more folks involved in our favorite past time. After all, if we don’t, then who will? #MQC4LIFE

DIY Drone Racing Gates for Under $10

Since the advent of R/C, man (and woman!) has wanted to prove their superiority to other drivers and/or pilots via racing. In fact, I grew up racing an off-road stadium racer (RC10T3) at my local track, and loved both the camaraderie and competitive spirit that such events helped to foster.

Fast forward to 2015, and here we are with our mini (and micro!) quads tearing it up in the air, and finally at a point where we can race each other with enough video bandwidth available to make it all possible. Hell, we even had our first ever Drone Nationals event which all in all, was a successful first attempt at bringing drone racing to the mass market.

Lots of folks want to get into racing, but who wants to invest in expensive feather flags and racing gates only to have them ripped to pieces with all the crashing you will do? Not this guy. I’d rather spend my extra money on props! I had been wanting to build some gates for quite awhile now, but hadn’t decided how to until I saw a post from Ron from Crave FPV in the MQC FB Group showing his method. I made one small adjustment and they are perfect. The best part: they cost under $10 each!

You Will Need:
• 2 – 10′ lengths of 1/2″ PVC pipe
• 4 – 1/2″ T adapters
• 2 Pool Noodles
• PVC primer and glue (optional)
• Hacksaw
• Tape measure
• Tons of Props (for practicing)

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Step 1 Complete!

Step 1: Creating the Base
Take one of the 10′ sections and cut yourself a 60″ section to make the long piece that creates the base. This will leave you with an additional 60″ section that you will be making the legs out of.  Measure out the leftover 60″ section into four 15″ pieces and cut. These will be your legs for your gate. Pretty easy so far, huh? 🙂


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Step 2 Complete!

Step 2: Adding the T-Brackets
Taking two of the 15″ sections, the 60″ section, and two of the T adapters, prime and glue (optional) them into a U shape and set it aside. Now take the 10′ section and cut 2 – 1.5″ pieces from the end of it. These will be glued into the T adapters to allow you to use the additional 2 T adapters to be installed. Once those are in place (be sure to orient the second set of T adapters to face upward to hold the arch) you can use the last two 15″ pieces of PVC to complete the base. I glued the entire base together to make it sturdy, but did not glue the arch so it could easily be broken down for transport.


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All done! Now go practice!


Step 3: Attaching the Arch
(aka: Prop Destroyer)
Grab the two pool noodles and slide them down what’s left of the 10′ section. Shove one end into the T adapter and slowly bend the section and place the other end into the other T adapter. Now take a few steps away from your new creation, crack open a beer, and let your significant other know that you will be busy training for the next Drone Nationals event and can’t be bothered. Mentioning you could win money usually helps.  🙂

I hope this has helped everyone see how cheaply they can build these gates and how easy it is to get into drone racng. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below, and as always, thanks for your support.