Drones invade Wilmot’s Bucci Field
Organization pleased with school facilities during race
By Jason Arndt
When Milwaukee area-based Team RamQuad FPV coordinated a drone race with Wilmot Union High School officials two months ago, the organization planned to hold Sunday’s event in the school field house, but the weather sent them to Frank Bucci Field.
Before a crowd of about 50 spectators, 12 to 15 drone racers from across Wisconsin and Northeastern Illinois took the field on a sunny Sunday afternoon Feb 19.
“The original plan was to be indoors. It’s February, who would have thought that the weather in Wisconsin would be at 60 degrees,” said Andrew Sutliff, a New Berlin-area mortgage banker and co-founder of Team RamQuad FPV.
“To be outside, wearing shorts and a T-shirt is fantastic.”
Sutliff, who received an invitation from Wilmot Community Outreach Coordinator Paige Thelen, said the primary mission was to assess whether the community has interest in taking up the hobby.
“We are looking into seeing if there is interest in having educational classes, possibly teaching people how to build drones,” said Sutliff, who stressed assembly is one facet of science.
“It encompasses all things with science,” said Sutliff. “I know a lot of schools are looking into getting involved in this, because it is more modern and it allows people to test what they are working on.”
Sara Skloss, of Mukwonago, is one race competitor who is learning the hobby on the fly.
Skloss, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, said flight science has always intrigued her.
“My dad and my uncle built aircraft for years, and as I grew up, I always watched them,” said Skloss, who recalled seeing them board airplanes.
“I never figured out how to fly an airplane, so I built these tiny little helicopters,” she said.
When she came across drone racing, Skloss found her inspiration and decided to take her interest to a new level.
Since then, she has flown a larger drone for about a year, and Sunday’s event was her second experience.
The experience, she said, fosters her studies at UW-Platteville.
“I want to get into aerospace engineering when I grow up,” she said, noting elements of STEM are invaluable to constructing a drone.
Like Skloss, Sutliff learned facets of engineering when he picked up drone racing as a hobby.
“When I first got into it, I couldn’t do much soldering, couldn’t solder very well,” said Sutliff. “But it’s kind of a crash course in education.”
Eager to return
Along with Sutliff, the other co-founder, Tadd Eells, hopes to receive an invitation to return to Wilmot, where they reportedly enjoyed the complex.
“For sure I’d like to come back. (Wilmot) has been more than helpful and everything,” Eells said. “They have been very nice.”
Sutliff agreed, adding use of the football field exceeded his expectations.
“This is a fantastic venue, to be able to use the football field, they have all of the facilities needed,” said Sutliff.
With an eagerness to come back, Sutliff hopes to see an influx of people taking up the hobby.
“It’s a fantastic hobby that I love and it is getting people out there to learn more about it and hopefully it will take off,” said Sutliff.