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Robert Lutgen – Honorable Mention Virtual Southwestern Energy Arkansas Science and Engineering Fair

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Robert Lutgen, Homeschooled, Cabot, AR
Mentor: Ms. Mary Lutgen

Category: Environmental Science

Project Title: How Drones Can Help Manage Tailwater on Farms


The purpose of this experiment is trying to answer the question “Can the Use of Drones Improve the Management of Tail Waters on Farms?” The student believes that the drone will help see how much the volume of the water changes and detect any problems that may occur. Method: The student called his county’s extension office to help him get in contact with a farmer. Once the information had been collected, the student contacted the farmer and asked for his permission to fly a drone over his tailwater ditch. After the student got permission, he flew the drone lengthwise over the ditch and flew the drone once a month for a three-month period. With a measuring software, the student accurately measured the surface area of the ditch so that he could calculate by how much the water had changed. Data: The length of the ditch on Day 1 was 463 ft, the depth was 2ft, and 10.5 ft wide. The total volume of the water was 9723ft2. On Day 2, the length and depth remained the same while the width had increased to 10.75 ft, causing the volume to become 9954.5 ft2. On Day 3, the length and depth once again held constant, but the width had increased to 11.33 ft, making the volume 10491.56 ft2. Conclusion: Drones can help farmers better manage their tailwater and save them time and money in the process. The data of this experiment shows that the student’s hypothesis is correct.

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