While many high school students are focused on the next social event, Luke Stacey’s focus lies elsewhere. Luke, a senior home school student, frequently took advantage of programs offered by the local Wahkiakum High School. Luke made contact with Jeff Rooklidge, the science and engineering/robotics teacher at Wahkiakum High School and for a final project, proposed researching and building a quadcopter. (When I was in high school, I don’t remember robotics being an available course.) Efforts like this get rewarded, this among other works, Luke is a National Merit Scholar and he recently received a full ride to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where he plans to study Electrical Engineering.
“This was an extremely challenging project for a high school student,” Rooklidge said. “Luke has a strong curiosity which enables him to excel in all areas of his academics. He loves to challenge himself to solve difficult, complex problems and he has a great ability to ask the right questions and think outside the box in science and math.”
A quadcopter, according to Rooklidge, is a multi-rotor copter with four arms. Each arm has a motor and propellor at their ends. Though similar to helicopters, their lift and thrust comes from four propellers instead of one. Unlike helicopters, they do not have a tail rotor to stabilize the craft. Two propellers spin clockwise while the other two spin counter clockwise, which allows the machine to hover steadily.
Quadcopter kits are readily available, but Stacey opted to build his from scratch, assembling the electrical circuits, building the framework and writing all the computer language in order to code the rotors and control flight.