The Rattlers from the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Program at Northeast Technology Center’s Claremore Campus recently bared their fangs at the Speedfest III competition in Stillwater.
Speedfest is an exciting, high-speed aircraft design competition which is intended to foster enthusiasm for aviation and unmanned aircraft design. The event has been called the Superbowl of remote-controlled flying. The competition consisted of plane inspections on April 19, with the flying taking place on April 20.
There were 11 teams that competed at Speedfest III. Each team was given a kit and an engine that had to be assembled and tested before the competition. The Rattlers team was made up of three EAST students, Trevor Perkins and Dalton McKnight, both from Oologah-Talala High School, and Tyler Jones, from Foyil High School. Perkins served as the team’s caller and builder and McKnight and Jones were the flagmen.
“This competition is the stepping stone for more generations of students who have an interest in model aeronautics and who love hands-on work,” said McKnight. “We want to show them that this program is more than just sitting at a computer for three hours.”
The students were provided mentorship from 30-year remote-control expert, Steve Hadley.
“We were excited about the opportunity, but we really needed a mentor who knew what he was doing,” said McKnight. “A couple days later, a student mentioned that his father’s friend is a remote-controlled plane expert. We made contact with him about a week later, he showed up at school and we started on our adventure.”
The students also recruited a friend of Hadley’s and remote-controlled pylon racer Mark Quesinbery to pilot the plane at the competition.
The Rattlers flew five rounds that consisted of four heats; each heat consisted of three teams. In every round, the NTC Rattlers scored 12 laps in two minutes, which was only one lap shy of being even with the winning team.
“The weather conditions that day were fair,” said Perkins. “The wind at 29 miles per hour would have been devastating were it not for the experience of our pilot Mark. The other teams who had been to the competition two or three times said that our skill matched that of any veteran team.”
Funding for the event was provided by NTC as well as Hadley’s business Digits Hair & Nail Salon and Mark Quesinbery.
NTC’s EAST Initiative Facilitator Brook Easton was pleased with how the team did at the competition.
“When I mentioned SpeedFest, Trevor was the first to step up to the plate,” said Easton. “He wanted to build something and he showed determination, so I gave him the project. They had minimal progress the first two months, but when Steve Hadley began to help, the next three months went by quick and they were done with the plane with enough time to spare. I am impressed with how they pulled together and actually flew the plane.”
For more information on the EAST Initiative, visit www.netech.edu or call NTC’s Claremore Campus at (918) 342-8066.