NJROTC Drone Competition in February 2023

Brynn Pruett, Staff Writer

Thunderbird’s NJROTC came out on top of the 6 teams, taking home the coveted “Scorpion” medals in the recent Drone Competition.

On February 25, at Independence High School, the first event was an obstacle course where the drone had to make its way through a series of hoops. The next event was a speed slalom between two concrete pillars. The competition was led by the team’s top pilot, Tre “The Red Barron” Harvell.

The “Patriot Drone Challenge,” the first drone competition for JROTC in GUHSD, was held by Independence NJROTC and had 6 JROTC programs. The students used Holystone 440 drones because “The Navy” required competition drones to be less than $100 during the competition. 

According to Erich Schmit, sponsor, and teacher of the NJROTC club, “The future is drones. The insurance industry, agriculture, taxis, long haul trucking, the military, law enforcement, you name it we’ll be using drones. There is a lot of money to be made there with a solid background in drones, and getting in before the industry explodes.” The members of the NJROTC gained drone skills for the future, considering the world will get more high-tech.

Mr. Schmit also states, “Our practices include pretty demanding agility drills, but also are starting to include maintenance of the mechanical and electronic side. An important aspect is just awareness of the possibilities in the future.” He also considers the drone competition to be an efficient lesson for students who would like to become drone pilots in the future.