Mars Helicopter Model Demonstration: Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology

AeroVironment Engineer Matt Keennon pilots Ingenuity, a replica of the helicopter flown on Mars, for students at Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology during an assembly on Tuesday, April 23.

All photos courtesy of Moorpark Unified School District

Students at Moorpark STEM School Flory Academy enjoyed a rare treat on April 23. Engineers from AeroVironment demonstrated a working replica of the autonomous helicopter Ingenuity, developed by AeroVironment, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ingenuity was carried by the Mars rover Perseverance and used to conduct experimental flight tests. Perseverance landed in March 2021, and Ingenuity completed 72 flights before its rotor blades were damaged on Jan. 18, 2024, ending its flight capabilities. According to AeroVironment, Ingenuity was the first flight of a rotorcraft on another celestial body.

The demonstration was given during a school assembly as part of AeroVironment’s partnership with Flory. The aerospace and defense company, headquartered in Virginia with locations in Moorpark and Simi Valley, employs more than 1,000 people in the surrounding area. Through this partnership, the company will donate classroom equipment, new school artwork and other resources in order to advance STEM education and empower the next generation of engineers and scientists.

James Dearborn, head of talent acquisition at AeroVironment, highlighted the company’s longstanding dedication to supporting education initiatives, saying, “AeroVironment has been donating and supporting events to different schools throughout our history…As an engineering company, we love to partner with STEM schools to support and further a love of learning for science, technology, engineering and math.”

“We are thrilled to partner with AeroVironment,” said Moorpark Unified Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hays. “Their generous support will enhance our students’ learning experience and further ignite their passion for STEM.”