Hannah’s drone design scoops ‘best in UK’ prize

Av Raichura from Amazon, Amazon Design a Drone competition winner Hannah McFarland and her teacher Alison McKelvey from Fourtowns Primary School, Ahoghill with Henry Kilworth from the Civil Aviation Authority. Photo by Aaron McCracken UNP
Av Raichura from Amazon, Amazon Design a Drone competition winner Hannah McFarland and her teacher Alison McKelvey from Fourtowns Primary School, Ahoghill with Henry Kilworth from the Civil Aviation Authority. Photo by Aaron McCracken UNP

A pupil at Fourtowns Primary in Ahoghill has scooped the top UK prize in a ‘design a drone’ competition!

Amazon, in partnership with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), was behind the competition in which over 1,700 students participated from across the UK.

Hannah McFarland of Fourtowns Primary School in Ballymena was awarded the top spot for designing her ‘Flying Cheetah ‘drone, which would be used by forest rangers to protect cheetahs and other wildlife.

Second place went to Olivia of Kells and Connor Primary School for the Skysaver drone, which would be used to deliver first aid supplies during mountaineering emergencies, and third place to Rachel from Landhead Primary School in Ballymoney for her Pencil drone.

Hannah’s design will be on display at the Amazon Prime Air Lab in Cambridge, UK, wfor a year.

The successful young engineers were awarded their prizes in a special ceremony during a school assembly.

Winning students took home gift baskets of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) prizes.

Hanna also earned a cash donation of £1,000 for her school, to be spent on in-school STEM resources.

The competition helped raise awareness of the CAA’s Drone Code, a simple set of rules and guidelines which outline how to fly drones safely and within the law in the UK.

All primary school students in Years Two to Five in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were eligible to enter the competition. Students were asked to design their interpretation of a delivery drone to serve a humanitarian purpose or improve society, such as first-response medical aid, sending flowers to a loved one who is unwell or delivering toys to children in need.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the CAA, said: “All the entries were absolutely amazing and it was great to see so many students showing an interest in drones. By the time they are adults, drones could well be playing key roles in everyday life. But for that to happen we need everyone who flies a drone now to do so safely.”

Lauren Kisser, Operations Director at Amazon Prime Air, commented: “I’m delighted that the Design a Drone competition encouraged these students to unleash their creative thinking on how drones can be used to improve society. The entries we received were full of innovative and thoughtful ideas that could very well change the world one day.”

The full Drone Code can be seen at www.dronesafe.uk

Amazon has a Development Centre in Cambridge working on a range of projects including Prime Air, the company’s delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.