Chicago, IL USA February 1, 2016 –
Throughout the summer drone racers gather all over the world to see who is the fastest drone racer. But what makes this sport unique is they never leave their chair. Experience the world of extreme drone racing where pilots fly their drones by wearing goggles that receive a video feed from small cameras mounted at the front of the aircraft. This first-person view (FPV) puts the racers and spectators in the pilot seat as they dart through complex courses that are meant to let only the strong survive.
In fact, drone racing is the perfect spectator sport. Monitors are setup for fans to see what their favorite racer is seeing. "Bring your Dramamine. There are more twists and turns than a fighter pilot typically experiences" states Gregg Novosad, founder of GoDroneX, an extreme drone sporting organization.
Racing drones can reach speeds in excess of 70 mph but running through a challenging course drops the speed down significantly. "The drones are fast, but we prefer tracks that test pilot skill rather than those who built the most expensive machine. We like Formula One style more than Nascar courses" says Gregg.
Courses vary from forests where trees serve as obstacles to man-made tracks consisting of gates for more public events like fairs and festivals.
GoDroneX holds larger events called the X1 Cup where pilots from the region drive from different states to determine who the most extreme pilot is. Courses are larger and more complex. "Great pilots want great courses" say Gregg. Timing systems track lap times down to hundredths of a second. The X1 events have a family friendly festival atmosphere with high energy music pulsing through the air. In fact, GoDroneX has a mascot named Rotor that keeps children engaged. Between rounds, Rotor has the "running of the arrows" where kids run a foot race around the track. "Those yellow course markers are like a kid magnet, so we find that it is best to let them get out and pretend they are a drone. It's all good fun."
But is it safe? "No one has ever been concussed, broken any bones or sprained any ankles but we do have a lot of bruised egos at the end of the day" Gregg jokes. Spotters make sure that track is safe and clear of any pedestrians. "As a parent of two middle school kids, I always think about what can go wrong and put preventative measures to maximize safety".
Drone racing is the perfect gateway for video game culture of today’s youth.
"It's the perfect gateway sport. Schools have STEM programs. Well this is a real world STEM activity; a perfect combination of hardware, software, building and competing".
Anyone interested in having a GoDroneX race at their festival or fair, go to GoDroneX.com and on Facebook at GoDronex and FPV Tree Racers.
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