Drone Racing is an intense, budding sport with a rather unique ability to bridge demographics effortlessly. The adrenaline inducing speed that corresponds with traveling upwards of 70 miles an hour “inside” a drone appeals to broad segments of our population.
Matt Key got into drone racing after picking up his son a toy quadcopter for Christmas. Key, who worked on aircraft propulsion systems for the navy, was fascinated by the device, and quickly started custom designing drones in his home. “In my bedroom, in the front room, in the kitchen and pretty much everywhere,” his wife said.
Eventually, Key’s tinkering turned into his own drone designing venture at Drones, Etc., an onling business he works at with his older son and wife. On the weekends, however, he spends his time racing drones through outdoor courses with his friends.
Christian Peterson, also known by his moniker ‘Provo’, is a professional drone racer (Currently ranked 33rd in the world) who was turned onto the novel idea by the Youtuber Charpu, one of the first to really bring drones to the limits of what they can do.
Peterson races for the Drone Racing League (DRL), and has already competed in multiple events. He is hoping to qualify for the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, staged by the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) and to be broadcasted by ESPN. Recently, Peterson placed 6th in Dubai’ World Drone Prix as the navigator for his team. The event was won by a 15 year old from England, Luke Bannister.
However, even though sports are typically only considered a viable option for the younger generation, Drone racing is less about the condition of your body and more about your mental acuity.
Shane Conner is 43 years old, and can no longer play sports as he did in the past.
“I had to give up sports due to my knees, my joints,” he said. “And so this allows me to get that freedom, get that ability to explore and I almost feel like I’m exploring within my own body still and have that adrenaline rush.”
Drone Racing provides people like Shane a chance to compete again, even if this new sport isn’t as traditional as basketball or football. Anyone who can safely pilot a drone can join others on the frontier of something huge.
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