Drone Racing Origins
The origin of our program dates back to 2015, when several individuals, including S3 founders Frank and Will, kept running into one another at haphazard drone meetups - we needed technical (and moral) support for our drone crashing habits, so we created Safety Third Racing with a focus on mentorship, camaraderie, and an open-door policy to anyone with an interest in drone racing.
Since then, Safety Third Racing has grown to become one of the largest drone racing groups in the country, with more than 1,000 members in half a dozen states. S3 and its members have organized hundreds of drone races at local, regional and national stages. Many of our members are now employed in drone related positions in a variety of industries.
Educational Drone Racing Origins
By the end of the 2017 racing season, we began to realize just how much our rag-tag group of hobbyists had been able to learn in the pursuit of our drone racing hobby. We began to experiment with ways drone racing might integrate with school robotics teams in New Jersey. Several isolated attempts provided successes and failures that would soon serve as case studies.
In 2018, we started the scholastic program "S3 Racing Academy" while collaborating with a dozen schools in Northeast Ohio, the first of its kind in the world. We all shared a similar mindset about the potential of drone racing acting as a catalyst for STEM learning. With the help of EHOVE Career Center, and North Point ESC, sponsorship from Buckeye Cable, technical help from local drone racing team BuckeyeFPV, and LOTS of volunteer hours, 13 teams pioneered their first ever competitive inter-school drone racing league, known as S3 Racing Academy.
Educational Drone Racing Today
Three racing seasons later in 2019, interest and participation in S3 Racing Academy outgrown the capacity to run it with a volunteer central administration team. Currently, we are exploring ways to fund the league that will allow us to have dedicated administrative staffing, tech support, professional development, event production and customer service resources. In the meantime, the folks at Safety Third Racing - who all have day-jobs - will be stepping back from administering S3 Racing Academy.
From Central Admin to Peer-2-Peer
While we contemplate grant-funded league architecture, S3 Racing Academy will transform into a peer-2-peer network and open drone racing community. We have published all existing S3 Racing Academy content to our website. Schools wishing to start a drone racing team will find plenty of ideas, great content and an experienced community using our online resources - all for free.
Check out the other areas of the website to find resources and ways to connect with S3 Racing Academy!
Frank Costello & Will Nickley, Founders, Safety Third Racing / S3 Racing Academy
To make drone racing affordable and available to every school.
Though competitive drone racing , we hope to excite and inspire young minds to excel in STEM, teamwork and leadership opportunities.