An invitation only drone race took place in an East Bay Warehouse, bringing more than 60 pilots together for a blisteringly fast competition with a prize of a chance to compete at the National Drone Racing Championships in Washington D.C.
Each of the pilots brought their own custom-built 250 gram drone to the event. Small but powerful, each of the drones will run the users upwards of $1300 to even begin racing. Specialized FPV goggles that transmit a video feed from the drone to the user are required for every pilot to race both properly and safely.
Due to the on board camera, racers can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, if the course allows it. Speed is obviously a key factor to succeeding in drone racing, but safety and rules matter more. Judges watch every second of each pilot’s race through their own FPV goggles to ensure that each pilot is following the course and the rules laid out. Large nets are strewn across the warehouse to protect spectators and pilots alike, setup as a precautionary measure for pilots that lose control of their nimble hardware.
Many of these FPV pilots don’t have more than a year’s worth of experience at their belts. The community is still small, especially when compared to the larger, mainstream sports. However, the racer’s don’t let that hold them back from enjoying their time competing with each other for first place. When all is said and done, pilots will often help each other with drone repairs
At the end of the day, a racer named Colby Curtola won the small tournament with a heat that lasted just over nineteen seconds. While excited for his achievment, he maintains his enthusiasm for the growing sport.
“It’s just a really tight community. And you really learn a lot, from building and from tuning and you can fly! You’re like a super hero,” said Curtola.
More from the original story at CBS Local