UAV124 DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop

DaVinci Challenge students

DaVinci Challenge

Princess Aliyah Pandolfi created the non-profit Kashmir World Foundation to integrate art, science, and technology for sustainable projects that transform social and economic structures. One of these projects is the DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop, which helps students see robotic aircraft from a broader perspective.

The workshop trains students and teachers in the design, fabrication, customization, and operation of small robotic aircraft. In this blend of science, technology, art, engineering, and math (STEM/STEAM), students learn about 3D printing, integration of robotic systems, and flying techniques as they build a quad­copter or hexa­copter in an actively engaging hands­-on and innovative workshop.

In the first three days of the workshop, participants build a drone from components, then set up and test them. The fourth day is Flight Day where students perform ground testing and flight check and conduct first flights. At the awards ceremony, participants receive a Drone Operator Certificate.

We attended a Flight Day on December 22, 2016, at the Northern Virginia Community College Loudoun Campus, and recorded a number of interviews:

  • High school senior Michael C. Kronmiller discusses using UAVs for avalanche search and rescue in Nepal. For more, see his website Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM.
  • Danny (age 12), Andrew (age 13), and Matthew (age 13) prepare their drone for its first hover.
  • On the field with the boys’ mothers as their sons made their first hover.
  • Fadwah and Kitty talk about using drones in the STEM club at Langley High School to increase student involvement. You can provide financial support for this group through Computer Science teacher Susan Huebsch, 703-287-2892.
  • Past workshop graduates Kevin Goth, his son Ben Goth, and Rob Klaus talk about their UAV project that utilizes a Raspberry Pi.
Santiago Makes Final Preparations

Santiago Makes Final Preparations

Rich Hanson (AMA) and Princess Aliyah Pandolfi

Rich Hanson (AMA) and Princess Aliyah Pandolfi

Preparing for First Flight

Preparing for First Flight

After Flight With Danny, Matthew, and Andrew

After Flight With Danny, Matthew, and Andrew

Aliyah, Santiago, and Rich

Santiago Gets His Drone Operator Certificate from Aliyah Pandolfi and Rich Hanson


FAA mulls ditching drone registration advice

The FAA’s sUAS registration rules should be released shortly.  Reportedly, “sources familiar with the matter,” say the FAA might deviate from the Task Force recommendations and impose a $5 registration fee. Also, retailers would be more deeply involved in the registration process.

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