Monday, 25 February 2019

Wings over Wairarapa 2019

Back when we were at Makerfaire whizzing around with our tiny drones at what was effectively our public debut, we were approached by one of the organizers of Wings over Wairarapa asking if we could bring our micro-drone racing to their airshow and present to schools who were coming through for their awesome STEM event on the Friday. We were also invited to hang around for the whole weekend and provide ground entertainment for the weekend.

And what a weekend it was!

We had a large marquee set up with all of our gear - lights, hoops, poles and tunnels - arranged in a fun little indoor course, set up a TV to display what we see on our headsets, and managed to wrangle together enough laptops to have drone simulators available for the public to use and have a go at flying drones themselves.

We talked to hundreds of kids of all ages about our micro-drones, how they work and how they are a way to take all the technical skills from STEM and turn them into a fun hobby that can also branch out into tons of real-world applications (such as you'd do with larger drones, or even just electrical engineering in general).

We even managed to help a few more experienced kids who have already done some work building drones, encouraging them to check back in with their hobby and answering questions that should help them get over their next hurdle.

The night show was spectacular - who would have though we'd ever see gliders firing skyrockets and trailing glittering fire! It was superb... so mesmerizing to watch. After the night show we were back in the tent flying around, and our hoops and lights made a fantastic night light show of our own. Our tent absolutely glowed and could be seen lighting up from across the airfield. That's the sort of thing we have to do more often.

Unfortunately the weather turned on the Sunday and the last day of the show was called off. Along with the organizers and everyone else we were gutted, but the call had to be made to keep the full-sized planes and crowds safe. The team sadly headed back to the site to pack down (although we may have had a little bit of a fly before we packed everything down).

Of course we couldn't pull off a show at an event like this without our friends and family helping us out. It was hard to ask for their help, but they were there for us for the whole weekend, wrangling our gear and helping us inspire people to give drones and STEM a go. Thanks you lot, you're awesome.

Overall our experience at Wings over Wairarapa was absolutely fantastic. The organizers were solid in the face of 1000s of moving parts, the show itself was amazing, we met 1000s of people and shared out passion for flying and making stuff, and best of all we might even be invited back to Wings 2021! Watch this space!

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