Battle In The Skies: Drone Racing Takes Off
In the quiet countryside outside Brighton, a screaming battle in the skies is under way.
This derelict farm "in the middle of nowhere" doesn't usually see much action, save for the odd bit of sheep shearing.
But, this weekend, dozens of Aviation enthusiasts from Sussex's drone club have come to take part in a sport that's
rapidly grown in popularity competitive Drone Racing.
The idea originates from the US and to the uninitiated competitors look strange, to say the least.
Those taking part wear virtual-reality style glasses with alien-like antennae poking from the top. It allows footage to be
relayed to them in real-time giving the user the effect that they're actually flying on board with their drones.
Using these first person view controllers, competitors go head-to-head in a thrilling race around the pre-laid course.
Speeds can reach up to 60mph. Competitors Gabriel Robson and Alex Howell say it's enough to make your heart race.
Gabriel told Sky News: "When you put the goggles on you're in a completely different zone, when you're flying you don't
feel like you're on the ground."
"It’s scary because you're avoiding things like brick walls," Alex explained. "You almost wince when you hit it."
Simon Dale, one of the event's organisers, says special race-meets like these are becoming increasingly popular.
"The last six months is when it's really boomed, it's really taken off, excuse the pun!
"We expected to have 10 to 15 people here today and we've got probably 70 people, all flying. The struggle now is to make
sure everyone gets time on the sticks."
Volunteers help co-ordinate race safety. It's taken particularly seriously given increasing concerns from the Aviation
Industry about the use of drones. Some Commercial Pilots have reported near-misses in the skies with sales soaring.
Simon explained: "It's not about height at all, actually flying a drone as far away as you can is pretty boring.
"Flying in and out of trees with other people is far more interesting and we’re definitely trying to promote that this
stuff is very safe in term of other Aviation."
Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor