Drone racing is growing rapidly around the world. Both its popularity and its prize pools are growing rapidly. Countries around the world, including the U.S. have seen explosive growth of interest in the sport.
The race is very similar to an obstacle course, with objects like gates and flags to fly through and around. Pilots do as many laps as they can in the designated time.
“Like two, three years ago, we didn’t have this technology,” Neil Rivera said. “People were making their own stuff with a small tablet, enclosed with cardboard, whatever. That’s how everything started.” Rivera is a member of a drone racing club, one of several in Houston.
Now, drone racing is up and coming in over 30 countries. Hundreds of individuals in teams participated in the most recent World Drone Prix in Dubai, where a 15 year old boy from England brought in the first place prize of a quarter of a million dollars.
Steve “Zoomas” Zoumas from Wading River is currently one of the best drone-racing pilots to participate in the sport. He is a pilot in the Drone Racing League (DRL), and dominated the league’s first event at the Miami Dolphin’s stadium in Miami.
“This is the sport of the future,” says Zoumas. “So sit tight and keep watching.”
He has competed in many events, including the aforementioned World Drone Prix in Dubai. He is currently aiming to win the U.S. National Drone Racing Championship this August, to be viewed on ESPN.
“You can get a quad, ready to fly with goggles and everything, radio — it’s about $1,000,” Rivera said. After picking up their own quad, the next step is usually to find a club that will help train pilots how to fly, build, and tune their unit. More importantly, a club will teach the safety of the sport.
There are quad racing clubs all over the U.S. and in many other countries. For anyone interested in taking their drone to the races, take a look at our article: A State-by-State Guide to Getting Started in Drone Racing.