Article Thumbnail

Author: Flite Test STEM

Article Type: design-brief

Level: High School

Summary: Senior student project creating a solution for a robust reconnaissance vehicle to save lives.

This exemplar shows a high school student executing the Middle School FT EDM Design Brief. 


Identify and justify the need for a solution to the problem.

Problem: Northern Colorado bomb squad needs eyes on the ground in a remote area for recon.

Justify: Keeping officers safe when pursuing an unknown area of extreme danger possibilities.


Present 2 or more Existing/Similar solutions to this problem.

Solution 1

Solution 2


Show Research that supports your understanding of related content in correlation with the solution.

Quadcopter: An aircraft using four motors for pitch, yaw and roll maneuverability.

What power system can hold the most amount of weight using just 4 motors:


Basic Connections

Maybe these props, if not, just APC 14"

Control board, something more reliable than a KK2 board along with GPS capabilities.

Flight Controller

Flight Controller 2

Flight Controller 3

Going with this one, Marshall approved costs!



Carbon Fiber Tubing

Lowes Aluminum Members

With what we have in the shop, it will more than likely be an MDF style body that will be screwed to the bottom or top of the frame.

FPV Gear: We have two at the shop that will be used, one for the quad and another for the car. 

Click Link

Truck chassis: After researching the different models, the best chassis I was able to find for a reasonable price was the traxxas rustler. The other option would be to use the bandit, however, its suspension along with tires makes it too low to the ground, I need to be able to clear my servo release.

Click Link


Northern Colorado Training Facilities: Most training facilities are in schools, warehouses, and hospitals. This is key in the size development of the drone, making sure that it can still fit in standard doors and that the gear works. Below is my research on how far my truck will take me within the walls of Erwin Middle School. This will give me a baseline data to use when I demo my design.


This concludes my research, I will probably be heading back to this stage while I am designing and creating the drone.



State or Develop the Design Specifications below.

  • Must stay within budget of around 500 to 700 dollars.
  • Must be able to Recon with two platforms, ground and air, and record on-board footage for playback.
  • Must be able to fit through standard size door frames.
  • Drone must be able to carry vehicle for over 4 minutes.
  • Both platforms must be durable enough to withstand some beating.


Develop 2 or more possible thumbnail solutions.




Generate your final solution.

Final Solution: (Could not find final CAD files, this picture shows my final solution built).



Based on the generated solution, develop a design plan that organizes the creation approach.

  1. Acquire a workable truck and strip it to make as light as possible, gather specs on weight for equipment.
  2. Purchase all necessary equipment listed above in Research.
  3. Construct Fuselage that will house all measured equipment
  4. Construct frame to house fuselage
  5. Install electronics
  6. Test
  7. Create basket for truck with release mech
  8. Test
  9. Make changes
  10. Demonstrate in front of officials.




Daily Reflection on the progress of your solution: what is going well and what are any needs of the solution?

Week 1: Was able to acquire a Rustler to fix up, it runs great and handles the FPV gear great outside, ran tests with it inside again with different antennas and same result. I was able to go roughly 100 feet. 

Week 2: Got my electronics in today, it is time to start laser cutting the fuselage to see if my measurements worked out for all my parts.

Week 3: Fuselage works out great, it houses everything I need, would love to have it in carbon fiber, being this is my prototype, it will work fine. It is time to start working on the frame, must stay inline with door dimensions and the 14 inch props I bought to go with it.

Week 4: Constructing frame, having issues with wobbling, fixed it though with a cool plastic bridge piece.

Week 5: Frame construction, should be able to get motors on it next week.

Week 6: Motors installed today, next week I test.

Week 7: Test flew today!


Week 8: Developing the basket.

Week 9: Finishing up the basket and test flew the quad strapped underneath.


Week 10: Lighten up craft as much as possible and get ready for the big presentation.


Note changes here of any modifications done to your solution that were not part of the original design.

Changes were made constantly at the beginning because we didn't know what we could afford. Once we got the funds for the project it all worked out pretty smooth from there, I was able to stay pretty close to the design I had planned for. The only minor change was structural, I had to create a bridge that locked the frame together. This modification allowed the frame to not move anymore, which is key!




Prior to testing, construct 2 to 3 testing scenarios for your solution.

Testing Scenario 1: (In line of sight) Can the drone hold the truck for 4 minutes

Testing Scenario 2: (In line of sight) Once landed, can the truck drone drive off platform and survey.

Testing Scenario 3: FPV the two testing scenarios above.

Final Test: Perform product in front of Northern Colorado Bomb squad officials.

It's testing time. How did your solution do? How did your solution meet the Design Specifications?

My solution did great, as seen in this video I was able to accomplish everything I needed to accomplish given my design specifications. The only downfall was that I only got around 3 and a half minutes.

If you had to create another solution to this problem, what would you do differently?

If I had to create another solution to this problem, I think I would try and infuse both platforms together.  Make it so that the arms swing out via servos for flying application and swing in for driving applications.

Flite Test Takeaway! What is one skill learned in this design process that you will be able to take away to use in everyday life?

My take away, "Communicating my idea" to a target audience. Public speaking is not my strong suit, creating this project has forced me out of my comfort zone to not only speak, but to do it effectively. By doing this project I feel that I have gained the confidence needed for the next stage in my educational career. I will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder this Fall to study aerospace engineering, I am going to use these skills to be a leader among my cohorts as well as in the future. Ideas don't move anywhere if you can't communicate them!