Long Beach High Schoolers Clinch Regional Title in Drone Competition, Advance to Nationals

Sato Drones

The SATO Academy Drone Team (pictured above) needs donations to help the members travel to nationals in Indiana this August. Click here to donate. Photo courtesy of SATO Academy.

A drone team from the Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science, located in East Long Beach, is headed to the national championship in the UAS4Stem challenge, after clinching the regional championship title in San Diego Saturday, May 13.

Sponsored by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the UAS4Stem challenge requires teams to assemble and build the frame of the drone, solder the power system and configure the electronic components into a working quadcopter.

The Sato Drone Team Dragons is made up of five students: Tasha who is in charge of ground operations and manages the equipment; Bence the pilot, spotter and visual observer who monitors real-time video feed broadcast from the copter and identifies points of interest; Jacob, who runs flight operations; Eddie the pilot responsible for takeoffs, landings and manual maneuvers; and Melissa, the mission commander in charge of mission planning and execution.

After assembling the drone, the students created safety mechanisms common in aerospace such as checklists, processes and procedures. This required them to learn about troubleshooting, configuration management and aeronautical engineering skills in addition to executing autonomous flight operations.

The UAS4Stem challenge’s mission required them to assemble a rapid response small drone (unmanned aircraft system) to support a search and rescue and comply with special instructions such as conducting point reconnaissance in 30 minutes or less.

The Sato Drone Team Dragon’s will be heading to Muncie, Ind. in August to compete for the national title.

Donations to help offsite the cost of travel and supplies can be made on the team’s GoFundMe page.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.