San Diego, CA—September 19, 2013.   Quadcopters. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Multi-rotors. Unmanned Aerial Systems. Even drones (although technically that name only applies to a target that is used by naval aviators for aerial combat training). If there is one thing we have learned in the past few months, it is that no matter what you call them or how many spinning parts these intriguing unmanned aircraft have, they inspire excitement and enthusiasm in those who believe that their potential has only begun to be explored. Join us for UAV Day at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Sunday, October 6, from 10AM-4PM, and meet a few of the local experts in this new and ever-diversifying field of technology.


In conjunction with our new exhibition, On the Fly: Technology Takes Off, the Fleet is celebrating San Diego’s innovative UAV and multi-rotor community by inviting local organizations to join us for UAV Day. They will join us in the galleries of the Fleet to display small multi-rotor aircraft, custom & commercial UAVs  and autonomous RC planes and helicopters for hobbyists. Most will also bring videos with information about their creations, their organizations and UAV technology and the myriad applications they are capable of. 


There will be brief lectures for interested visitors on the history and development of unmanned aircraft history and its civil integration; current FAA restrictions on commercial usages for UAVs; and the positive applications being developed for UAVs & quadcopters.  Join in a workshop on unmanned technology, take a pilot lesson on a quad simulator, and see how they function in an interactive mini wind tunnel.


We will also screen a new documentary making the rounds of film festivals now titled Civilian Drones - Search and Rescue, based on a Texas man who has been doing recovery work with multi-rotors in the desert for the past ten years. The Air Law Institute is sponsoring a group of kids from an Old Town  engineering scholarship program, who plan on building a scale model of NASA’s Ikhana unmanned aircraft!


Participants thus far include AUVSI San Diego, Air Law institute, Innovative Designs, 3D Robotics, San Diego Wind Tunnel, Isis Copter and San Diego Drone User Group. Responses are still arriving, and we expect a broad-based representation of people in the multi-rotor industry, academic research, the military and the UAV community at large.  We have engineers and pilots, filmmakers and hobbyists, innovators of professional multirotors and custom camera gimbals for aerial photography; research and development experts, and representatives from major manufacturers and custom hobbyists alike. Don’t miss the ghost and clown quads – just in time for Halloween! Many of the multi-rotors will be available for sale as well.


On the Fly: Technology Takes Off features a fascinating display highlighting the unique characteristics of UAVs and how they fly, using magnetometers, pressure sensors, ultrasound sensors, gyroscopes, rotors and motors. Catch one of the multiple daily performances by small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which take flight in a temporary arena in the Main Gallery—hovering, moving, reassembling and reshaping the space. Then apply the principles of aerodynamics to create your own aircraft—the Fleet provides the supplies, you provide creativity. See how your creation takes flight by testing it in a wind tube or sending it into the sky with the motorized airplane launcher. Learn all about the constantly evolving uses of unmanned flight technology at our digital media kiosk highlighting current events in the field.


On the Fly: Technology Takes Off has been designed to utilize current knowledge on this new emerging technology, research its future potential and make that information about UAVs accessible and memorable to the general public. As advances have been made in unmanned aerial vehicle technology, their usage has expanded. Faster, lighter hardware and more sophisticated software have increased their ease of use and maneuverability. Multi-rotor design has become a popular consumer hobby, and their appeal is widespread with local clubs, blogs, websites, competitions, off-the-shelf consumer products and even phone apps for controls.  With UAV Day, we bring the experts together in one room to learn more!


Whether through the air, on the ground or in the water, the use of UAV technology holds enormous potential to make individuals safer, more secure and more productive. The existing uses range from agricultural applications, military uses, ease of filming for commercials and sports, search and rescue, wildlife management, hurricane tracking and mapping archeological ruins.  These systems allow police, fire and other first responders to locate missing children and others in disaster-stricken areas, help fight wildfires and respond to natural disasters. They assist the Coast Guard in rescue missions and help the Border Patrol keep our borders secure. They boost agricultural production and efficiency and allow us to better protect the environment. And they create high-quality, well-paying jobs across the country in a variety of fields.


Since we know how hard it is to get camera crews out on a Sunday, many of our participants have made themselves available for advance press—for a UAV Day media morning at the Fleet on Wednesday, October 2; or an interview in-studio if you prefer. Although safety precautions will not allow the UAVs to fly in the open galleries for UAV Day, we will happily arrange an in-flight demo for you in advance as well.


On the Fly: Technology Takes Off made its debut at the Fleet on August 2, and will remain through the end of December 2013. UAV Day will take place on Sunday, October 6, from 10AM–4PM. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. Gallery admission, which includes access to all eight exhibit galleries: Members free; Nonmembers: Adults $13, Seniors $12, Children $11. The Fleet’s hours are Monday–Thursday, 10AM–5PM; Friday–Sunday, 10AM–6PM. For more information, call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at


On the Fly: Technology Takes Off is Made Possible Through the Generosity of the Following Sponsors:


Charles Bergan and Lisa Kanetake

Beyster Family Foundation Fund IV


Qualcomm Incorporated



Brain Corporation

Matt and Dawn Grob


General Atomics

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Celebrate the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s 40th Anniversary Year!

Forty years ago, a spark ignited our imaginations!  March 9, 2013, kicked off a year-long celebration of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and its 40 years of success in bringing hands-on science to our San Diego community. Forty years ago, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center opened its doors and brought interactive exhibits and the world’s first IMAX® Dome Theater to San Diego. Today, the Fleet inspires minds and connects individuals to science and technology through more than 100 “do touch” exhibits for all ages and amazing IMAX films and planetarium shows in the recently renovated Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. Enjoy our year-long celebration, featuring a blockbuster exhibition, incredible events and dynamic educational experiences.