Qualifications for the IDRA’s World Drone Racing Championship are underway; Canadian pilots swarmed to a local football stadium in Montreal to claim their spot. Approximately 50 hopefuls participated in the event, making it the biggest race held in Canada to date.
According to Jason Mainella, an organizer of the Montreal Drone Expo, although drones have been around for just about 4 years, racing has only recently begun being explored within the past 6 months. Big contributing factors include the rising popularity of drones and related products as well as the improvements of FPV cameras and goggles for the pilots.
Professional drone pilot Ryan Walker said he was instantly hooked on racing after winning his first beginner contest a year ago.
“When I click into the goggles, I’m the drone now,” he said. “I’m racing like an F1 pilot in the sky.”
A local FPV drone club in Montreal has been attracting 50 to 60 new members a day, and Mainella believes the Drone Expo held on Saturday could quadruple in size by next year.
Being a professional pilot, Walker builds his own drones, which he pits against 5-7 others in a battle of high pitched whirring and occasional crashes to complete laps around the track as quickly as possible.
“If you’re not crashing, you’re not going fast enough,” he said.