RAD Signature Event

Welcome to the West Virginia REC Foundation Aerial Drone (RAD) Signature Event, February 25-26th, 2022 at Fairmont State University's Falcon Center.

Come attend the largest and most exciting aerial drone tournament, NASA educator training, and aviation career expo in the nation!

The excitement begins Friday evening with a workshop on NASA's Advanced Air Mobility Academy (5-7pm) in the conference center. NASA’s vision for Advanced Air Mobility is to develop a safe, accessible, automated, and affordable air transportation system allowing passengers and cargo to travel on-demand in innovative aircraft across town, between neighboring cities, or to other locations typically only accessible by cars, trains, or other land-based vehicles. The first ever in-person AAM Academy will be hosted by a NASA Subject Matter Expert alongside NASA STEM Education Specialists and is designed to teach AAM principles through hands-on STEM activities that can be taken back to the classroom. Formal and informal educators who work with with students in grades 6th – 12th are invited to attend. Space is limited. Participation in RAD is not required.


Our tournament will kick off at 7:30pm on Friday with a welcome from NASA's IV&V Director Wes Deadrick, REC Foundation Drone Coordinator Louann Cormier, For The Win Robotics President Ennio Verderese, and a keynote presentation on the future of air travel and experimental aircraft at NASA's Langley Research Center. Sign up to attend and get a ticket for free pizza and a soft drink (Pizza served in Gym 2 from 6-7 PM)!


Doors open Saturday at 7:30 am (as does Starbucks!) and each team will have their own pit space (8' table and 4 chairs) in Gym 2, along with a full practice field. Gym 1 will host our competition and a skills field, along with seating for 250 spectators. If you are not yet registered to have a team or for the event, you can do both at RobotEvents.com


In addition to the RADC tournament, we will be hosting an in-person Virtual RAD competition (separate team and event registration required). Our computer lab has 20 work stations with super fast Internet, so you can compete at your highest level. In the afternoon (1-3 pm), we will be offering free demos of the VRAD platform in the 3rd floor computer lab.


NASA and local aerospace companies will be exhibiting on the second floor from 9 am - 3 pm Saturday, overlooking the tournament and pits to share cutting edge research, career opportunities, and hands on activities. Exhibitors include: NASA IV&V, NASA LARC, EASW, Fairmont State Aviation Program, FTW-Robotics (Drone Help Desk), Pratt & Whitney, Starbase, and more!


Friday, February 25

4:00 PM - AAM Educator and Student Workshop (Conference Center 3rd floor)

6:00 PM - Free Pizza Party (ONLY for pre-registrered guests with ticket - REGISTER HERE)

7:30 PM - Tournament Kick Off, Welcome, and NASA Keynote Presentation

Saturday, February 26

7:30 AM – Doors open, Inspection begins

8:30 AM – Opening Ceremony & Pilots' Meeting

9:00 AM – Qualification Matches & Judging Begin; Skills Fields Open

9:00 AM – Aerospace Expo (2nd floor)

10:30 AM – VRAD Tournament (3rd floor computer lab & online)

12:00 PM – Lunch Break

1:00 PM – Qualification Matches Resume

1:00 PM – VRAD Demo (3rd floor computer lab)

3:00 PM – Alliance Selection; Skills Fields Close

3:15 PM – Elimination Tournament Begins

4:00 PM – Closing Ceremony and Awards

Where to Eat

Starbucks (2nd floor): One of the largest Starbucks in West Virgina is located inside the Falcon Center ensuring your coffee and cafe needs are well taken care of, and they are opening at 7:30 AM Saturday just for our event.

Chick-fil-A (2nd floor): This popular option will be open Friday evening for dinner (till 8 PM), and again Saturday for lunch (11 AM - 6 PM).

Dining Hall (3rd floor): Our dining hall features a wide range of dishes, beverages, and deserts. This all-you-can-eat option for $7/person is the easiest and most efficient approach to feeding your team. They will be open for dinner on Friday (4 - 6 PM) , Brunch (11 AM - 1 PM), and dinner (4 - 6 PM). Their menu is located here.

NOTE: Outside food is not permitted in the Falcon Center due to the university's contracts with our food vendors.

Directions and Parking

Address: 1201 Locust Ave., Fairmont, WV 26554

From Interstate I-79, take exit 136 onto the Fairmont Gateway Connector toward Fairmont. Note: this is easier even if coming from the South.

Go straight for 2.6 miles through 2 traffic circles, stay in the left lane.

Turn Left onto Merchant St. / 3rd Ave. at the light. Note: Do NOT go over the bridge immediately in front of you into downtown Fairmont.

Follow 3rd St. across Fairmont Ave (Rt. 250) and continue straight. Note: 3rd. St. turns into Nuzum Pl.

Turn Left onto Locust Ave and go .4 miles to the first entrance of Fairmont State.

Turn Right onto Bryant St., and enter the parking garage. You may park on any level except the top for free.

  • Take the elevator to the highest floor to access the bridge so you can more easily roll your equipment across campus.

  • Once you cross the bridge you will be in the main plaza in front of the Falcon Center. We will have signs posted to help guide you to the correct door.

Where to Stay?

There are numerous hotels located within 15 minutes of campus:

Fairmont Hotels


Contact: Todd.Ensign@FairmontState.edu or call/text 304-685-3146.