Easley High NJROTC drone team takes third place in competition

MARION, N.C. — The Easley High School Navy JROTC drone team competed in its last drone competition of the year on April 24 at McDowell High School in Marion, N.C., with two teams competing against seven other teams. With the Naval Education and Training Department embracing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for the Navy JROTC units, it provided funding to purchase drones and encouraged units to develop drone teams and establish competitions.

There were four events in the competition to be completed by all four of the cadet pilots from each team. The Gauntlet Course event is completed by flying a drone through the hallways completing a loop of around 20 obstacles. The Naval Flight Officer (NFO) event was completed by two cadet pilots, one controlling the drone without seeing the drone and the other cadet pilot directing the controlling pilot where to fly. The Maze Runner is a course that includes hallways and steps, with obstacles on both. And the last event was the Predator, a very interesting event. The pilot controlled the drone with their phone using the camera to locate clues to spell out nautical terms. Easley’s remote pilots who competed in the competition were Cadets Willow Armstrong, Zury Melendez, Alex Cochrane, Sarah Romero, Avery Billings, Flor Palomo, Briana Hayes and Arely Franco.