Journalism class learns about the new Pattonville drone

Taylor Womack

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Mr. Lamb tells the class about the drone during first hour

Mr. Rob Lamb tells the class about the drone during first hour

Students first heard the buzz, and then they noticed the drone as it flew over the football stadium entrance toward the baseball field before landing in front of them.

Mr. Rob Lamb was controlling it as he walked toward Mr. Brian Heyman’s Introduction to Journalism class who got an inside look at the high school’s new drone that has been seen around the campus and flying high over the Friday night football games.

“Learning about the drone was very interesting,” Tanner Harris said. “It does a lot of things I never even knew it could.”

The Pattonville Education Foundation (PEF) awarded more than $17,000 in funds during the 2015-2016 school year for 10 different grant proposals for programs to benefit students throughout the Pattonville School District.

High school assistant principal Mr. Jon Fitzgerald authored a proposal titled “DJI Phantom 3 Advanced.”

Grant funds received were used to purchase a Quadcopter camera drone to be used in multiple curricular areas, including journalism, video production, math, science, engineering and art. In addition, the drone will be used to record and promote athletics and activities, as well as large district events such as the homecoming parade, graduation and more.

Science teacher Mr. Rob Lamb maintains the drone in his classroom and has learned to operate it and teaches students to fly it. When the 1st hour class went out to the stadium on Monday, high winds made it difficult to fly the drone and prevented students from taking it for a test flight of their own.

While soaring through the sky, Lamb can see what is being recorded on the drone by looking at his iPhone which is attached to the remote control by a mount.

Lamb said there are rules and regulations the district must follow when using the drone which includes keeping the flight height of the drone to under 30 meters. Anything higher than that could interfere with the radar at Lambert Airport.

He also said an interesting fact about the drone is that it is equipped with GPS which helps track its location and assists with its landing.

“If you hit a button on the remote, it has a kind of autopilot function where it can take off and land by itself,” Lamb said. “If the battery gets low, it will also return to the spot that it took off from using the GPS location so it doesn’t crash.”

The drone is equipped with a 4k HD video camera and can also take still photos. The battery life of the drone is about 27 minutes, which means it could record up to 20 minutes providing time for takeoff and return. The drone has four propellors and a built-in gyroscope that helps keep it stable when flying and landing.

“I definitely would like to fly the drone one day,” Harris said. “It seems difficult, but I think it’d be an exciting time.”

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