CNY Drones announced a major milestone for the 2019 Forest Fury Team Drone Challenge. The annual indoor competition, for students age 11 to 18, will host a record 17 high school teams from New York state and Connecticut April 7, 2019, in the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Wildcat Field House; registration for the event is now by wait-list only.

This year’s competition has nearly tripled in size from the 2018 Rig Rescue Challenge. Growth has led to the need for expansion to two 30-by-60-foot netted fields.

Public schools participating this year include Carthage, Cazenovia, Cortland, Hannibal, Oneida, Syracuse, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Stockbridge. They’ll be joined by four teams from the Engineering and Science University Magnet School in West Haven, Conn., and a New York Police Department-led Explorer team.

Plans are in the works to offer additional event locations and a college division. The second annual competition has gained interest from groups as far away as Washington State.

Teams will be on the SUNY Utica campus, thanks to sister aeronautics organization and event host, SUNY Academy of Model Aeronautics Student Club along with the SUNY Poly Fabrication Club and 3D Printing & Design Club.

“All three clubs pitch-in to run the event from set-up to take-down,” said CNY Drones Administrator Lisa Marie Payne. “SUNY students have played a major role in the growth of our annual challenge, workshops, races and tech meets. They’ve worked with us year-round, planning events, designing field elements, volunteering and mentoring.”

CNY Drones and SUNY AMA promote science, technology, engineering and math, as well as safe flying as Model Aviation Student Clubs under the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Volunteers work together to provide interactive exhibits, introductory flying sessions, workshops, races, tech meets and the annual low-cost student competition. CNY Drones exists fiscally under the Griffiss Institute’s 501c3 as a community-based organization. The group’s annual fundraising offsets costs of equipment used at community events, schools, libraries, camps and park programs. To learn more about CNY Drones, visit or email

By martha

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