People stared and pointed as the red and white drone circled overhead.
At the helm was Alva Shell, human resources supervisor for the C-130 squad at Robins Air Force Base, perched on the second floor of the Century of Flight hangar as his $1,300 piece of equipment flew over the crowd.
Shell’s demonstration was part of the 40th annual Dixie Crows Symposium held March 24-26 at the Museum of Aviation.
The Dixie Crows, a chapter of the American Old Crows, held technical classes, both classified and unclassified. Classes focused on topics such as electronic warfare trends and cyber threats.
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About 1,500 people had been expected to attend the event, said Karen Brigance, president of the Dixie Crows and chief engineer for electronic warfare division at Robins.
At the Crows N.E.S.T. (novel experiments with science and technology), students from several Houston County schools learned about explosive ordnance devices (EODs), drones and robotics.
Vendors from contracting companies such as BAE and L-3, along with representatives from Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and the Air Force Reserve, were there giving out brochures and networking with attendees.
Sixth- through eighth-graders from Sacred Heart Catholic School gathered around the 116th EOD flight to watch demonstrations of the vehicles.
“They were telling us about the reconnaissance robot. I’m one of those science kids in school,” said Marcus Cyr, 12.
Underneath the SR-71 airplane, Huntington Middle School sixth-grader Ishaaq Dunlap was watching a video on unmanned intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance systems of the Air Force.
“It told us about an air- strike where these guys tried to run but (the cameras) kept following them until they found them,” Ishaaq said.
William Smith, engineering teacher at Houston County Career Academy, was with several students as they demonstrated their competition robot, which took six weeks to complete. The robotic vehicle placed seventh out of 45 teams at a competition in Perry.
Georgia Institute of Technology had a booth explaining how lasers worked.
“I like it. It is just a lot of mirrors. This seems really cool,” said 11-year-old Creed Bone, a fifth-grader at Sacred Heart. Bone added that he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.