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 speak all things drone related while they heard the sound of bees made by the device flying up high in the sky.

Students experienced the rare opportunity of meeting RPAS’ chief pilot Rob Whittle and chief maintenance controller and remote Sergeant Mark Gamer thanks to Adopt-A-Cop Noel Kerger who helped arrange the visit on Friday.

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 lifted the drone off the ground and told them it could travel 80km an hour,” she said.

“You could hear them oohhhing and aaaahing.”

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

Sergeant Gamer said the talk was aimed at exciting the minds of 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 like crime scenes, crime scene mapping and traffic crash reconstructions.

“We did a catch and release demonstration because it’s something we do when we can’t land them if an area is muddy or near water.”

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.”

Ms Ritche said despite their young ages, being in primary school was the time to teach them about drones.

“At this age, they are risk takers and show enthusiasm towards learning new things,” she said.

“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.”