Florida Tech’s resident drone club soared into the public eye as it hosted its first meeting of the fall semester on Friday, Sept. 27.
The Florida Tech Drone Club was founded to “bring awareness, provide experience and to be able to get the tools that we need to have to use drones to their full efficacy,” according to Nathaniel Bouchie, junior aerospace major and vice president of the drone club.
The club meets roughly once or twice a month and performs most of its other activities outside of its official meeting time.
These activities include drone building, racing and photography, but can span beyond those three categories for others interested in the club.
Furthermore, there are several opportunities for students who are interested in flying drones that are offered by the club as a whole and by its members.
The club has simulators that new flyers can practice on before piloting a physical drone.
They also have drones owned by the club’s members and by the university that can be used for events undertaken by the club, which include drones that use first-person view.
The club has taken steps to get involved in Florida Tech’s other clubs as well as in the community.
Robert Tonning, a junior in mechanical engineering and the current president of the drone club, said he enjoys flying because there are so many things that can be done with drones.
“I love the photography aspect with the Mavericks,” Tonning said. “You can race them, you can take pictures, you can map—there’s so many applications, so it’s a really good side hobby to have.”
The drone club had the opportunity to map out the animal sanctuary in Cocoa Beach last year and has considered going back, as it’s a good outreach opportunity for the club and its members.
The club also films some of the university’s athletics using drones, which included a soccer game last year.
The club wants to work with FITV as well to film an overview campus tour using their drones.
For those interested in drone racing, the student-led organization is looking to work with Eau Gallie High School to gain access to their hangar and to form a local drone racing league.
The club also encourages freestyle flying, using both line-of-sight piloting and FPV.
Eddie Torres, an experienced drone pilot from Homestead, Florida, described FPV freestyle flying as something incredible.
“It’s amazing,” Torres said. “The first-person view experience is something that everyone should try because you get the sensation of flying. You have the freedom of flight, being able to put yourself in places that you can’t [without a drone].”
The drone club is currently looking for new members.
Those interested in joining can find their meetings in Skurla, room 106 on Thursdays or on Florida Tech Engage.