Learning > Inspiration

When age is just a number: Teaching others how to fly drones

Chelsea Kiew on 02 Feb 2020

The Straits Times


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In an auditorium in Bishan one weekday afternoon, two drones bob up and down, zipping left and right and even doing "flips" in the air.


The two men behind these stunts are old hands at flying drones.


Mr Han Cheng Kwang, 63, and Mr Ong Han Min, 64, conduct drone-flying classes at RSVP Singapore, a non-profit organisation that encourages volunteerism among seniors.


Mr Han, a retired civil engineer, and Mr Ong, a retired IT executive, started as cyber guides with RSVP to help other seniors navigate the digital world.


They went on to take up Micro:bit coding at the Institute of Technical Education College West and, upon becoming interested in drones, took another course that taught them to use the MicroPython programming software.


Soon, they were able to program and fly drones using computer software as well as with a smartphone app.


Once they mastered the app, they began conducting classes in drone flying for other seniors at RSVP.


"The seniors were quite impressed. It was a good response," says Mr Han, a father of three and grandfather of one.


Mr Ong, a father of four and grandfather of two, says: "The new generation of retirees is more tech-savvy, though there's an impression that we know nothing at all about IT."


Learning more about drones has widened Mr Ong and Mr Han's social circle.


They now hang out with a group of 10 other seniors from the MicroPython course at frequent gatherings and practices.


The duo's new-found hobby of drone flying and programming has also served them well in bonding with their grandchildren, allowing them to play with drones together. "It's like kite-flying," Mr Han says.


And the two men do not plan to stop there. "We hope to learn artificial intelligence (AI) this year, and link AI and drone programming," Mr Han adds.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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