Polair unit and Hillview State School prepares students for future with drones

HILLVIEW State School students were in awe as two PolAir’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Unit guests talked about drones and saw the aircraft fly.

Students were able to meet chief pilot Rob Whittle and chief maintenance controller Sergeant Mark Gamer thanks to Adopt-A-Cop’s Noel Kerger who helped arrange the visit.

Four drones, including a home-built drone and a 6 Rodar 3DR Exert Drone once owned by the police special emergency response team were on display while the RPAS duo spoke of all things drone related.

Hillview State School principal Sharon Ritchie said prep to year 6 students could not get enough of the one-hour presentation, listening intently and asking questions for an additional hour.

“I think the most exciting thing was Sargeant Gamer lifting the drone off the ground and telling them it could travel 80km an hour,” she said. “You could hear them oohing and aahing.”

Ms Ritchie said students took away advice on safety and drone maintenance, like learning when batteries needed to be replaced.

Sergeant Gamer said the talk was aimed at exciting students about the technology, maths and physics involved with drones that related to their studies as well as the safety aspects.

“There are a lot of civil regulations so we try to instill a safety culture about that – you can’t just fly a drone wherever you want,” he said. “We also explained how drones are used in law enforcement.”

Sergeant Gamer said he was surprised when learnt the school had a drone club and purchased mini drones. “I think its a fantastic initiative to prepare kids for future that we don’t even know how it’s going to evolve,” he said.

“This could lead to further employment for drone pilots, which is a job now that didn’t exist before.”

Ms Ritchie said the drone club was part of the school’s curriculum, teaching children how to fly drones and about coding.

“The whole point of implementing drones into the curriculum is there are a lot of things kids can get them out of it from learning spacial awareness and positional language to hand eye coordination and how it can be used in agriculture,” she said. “Through our recent project about food production, we have gotten the kids thinking about how drones can make that easier.

“Drones are also the way of the future so if they develop a passion for it, we do our best to encourage them to pursue their interests.”