Apr 07

That’s a wrap: AHS ENE Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 2017!

AHS East New England chapter’s first Drone Night and Trivia Challenge was a huge success!

AHS Drone Night Boston

0ver 60 people joined Boston’s local AHS chapter at the new interim GE Corporate Headquarters in the seaport district of downtown Boston for a UAV-themed night with four guest speakers and a drone/helicopter-themed trivia contest.

The evening began with a UAV show-and-tell.  Our guest speakers each brought in some drone hardware to share with the AHS Boston audience.



Bob Gettler brought in a variety of FPV racing quadcopters, and gave our members the chance to fly for themselves using his quadcopter flight simulator, and a micro-quadcopter he flew around the crowd in the room (streaming live-video!).

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 2 AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 5

Adam Sanford of Northeastern University brought in their fixed-wing UAV affectionately known as, “The Optional Step.”

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 4AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 1

This unique RC aircraft is their own design, and was built for an upcoming SAE design competition.

Nick Brusco and the Boston University UAV Team brought a number of projects that their team has built, including a fixed-wing RC airplane and many quadcopters.

At 6:00pm, AHS East New England chapter president Harry Nahatis kicked off the presentation portion of the event.  Harry discussed the benefits of AHS membership, and gave a special thank you to the event sponsor, Top Flight Technologies.

Harry Nahatis, AHS ENE Chapter President

AHS ENE University Coordinator Brent Vlasman expanded on the benefits of AHS membership from a student perspective, and highlighted AHS’s annual student design competition as well as the annual Micro Air Vehicle challenge.  About 1/3 of the Drone Night participants were students from the Boston area – with particularly large turnouts from Northeastern and Boston University – there was a lot of interest in participating in future design contests.  Most of the students agreed with Brent’s assertion that it’s, “Time for Boston to win some of these things and bring some hardware home to New England!”

Students interested in participating in future AHS design competitions can contact Brent Vlasman or Scott Hannula, the AHS East New England Chapter University coordinators.


With Drone Night officially underway, AHS East New England Chapter Membership Co-chair and Trivia Master extraordinaire Dave Spillman took the stage to kick off the Trivia Challenge.  With only a slightly obvious affinity towards Coast Guard aviation history, Dave kept the audience guessing with a healthy mix of Drone and Helicopter trivia questions that covered a broad spectrum of vertical flight topics.

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 12AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 11

There were four rounds of questions, each progressively more difficult than the last.  The winning team received the highly desirable prizes of an RC Blackhawk helicopter for each member of their team!

We had four great presentations from our lineup of drone experts, starting with Michael Clatworthy from GE Ventures.

AHS Drone Night Speakers

Michael’s presentation explored the art of the possible, as well as the reality, of what drones can do to inspect high-tech industrial applications such as oil fields and refineries.  Michael is a UAS Operations Director at Avitas, a GE company, and his expertise and passion for drone applications shined throughout his presentation.

Adam Sanford, a Bioengineering student from Northeastern University, introduced our chapter to the Northeastern University AIAA club and their efforts to design and build a fixed-wing RC aircraft.


Their innovative approach to design is the result of many lessons – often learned “the hard way” through trial and error, blood sweat and tears, and maybe a few mishaps here and there.


Nick Brusco, a senior in Electrical Engineering at Boston University, shared with us what it means to be a member of the Boston University UAV Team – of which he is the President.

Nick showed us many of his club’s multi-rotor builds and highlighted their passion for pushing the boundaries of design, with many unconventional approaches to the multi-rotor architecture.

Nick’s club uses hackathon’s to teach newcomers about the basics of robotics, design, and ultimately UAV construction and flight.



Bob Gettler was the final speaker of the evening, and he wowed the crowd with the new adrenaline-pumping sport of First Person Viewer (FPV) quadcopter racing.

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 9 AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 8

Bob explained how quads are built, and how they fly – with a much-loved deep dive into control logic and fine tuning of a race quad.

Our AHS got to experience a little bit of FPV racing when Bob showed us some video he took of his recent races on the MultiGP circuit.


After Bob took questions from our members, he had the honorable job of drawing our 50-50 raffle winner.  A special thank you to Glenn Davis for running the 50-50 raffle, which helps us to raise funds for our chapter to put on events like Drone Night.

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 7

After the raffle, Mr. Spillman took the stage for the final time to announce the much-anticipated Trivia Challenge winners.

Once the winners claimed their Blackhawks, AHS ENE Chapter President Harry Nahatis closed the event by thanking our speakers one last time, thanking Top Flight Technologies again for their sponsorship, and announcing our next upcoming event on April 11th featuring CH-53K test pilots.   We hope to see you there!

AHS Boston Drone Night and Trivia Challenge 3

Drone Night and Trivial Challenge guest speakers. From left to right: Michael Clatworthy, AHS ENE Chapter President Harry Nahatis, Adam Sanford, Bob Gettler, Nick Brusco.