Catching Fire: Drone Racing

Drone racing is catching fire across the world. Other than the well-known major league players, like the Drone Racing League and the International Drone Racing League Association to name but two, smaller local drone racing leagues and races are rapidly springing up into the air. Yesterday (Saturday May 6, 2017), for instance, 515FPV and Midwest Motor Sports, with the assistance of race coordinator Will Dobbins, put on the 2nd annual Midwest Drone race in Cedar Rapids. The event gathered some forty (40) pilots from across the United States, who competed using their own racing drones in 2 minutes heats of 8 in the outdoor race track, for the grand prize of $1,000. The aim for the race was for each pilot to last as many laps as possible, the winning pilot being the one with the most number of laps.

International Drone Day in Huntsville

Meanwhile that same day, in Huntsville Alabama, the Associated for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International celebrated "International Drone Day" at the United States Space and Rocket Centre. The event gathered 22 drone racing pilots, who raced their own personal mini FPV racing drones around the outdoor race track at speeds toping 60 mp/h (96 km/h). With five drones and their pilots competing per heat, the end goal of the race was to see which one pilot could complete the most number of laps within 3 minutes, without crashing. A view of the race was captured by drone racing pilot John Ball with a GoPro camera. 

NASCAR & the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) Racing Series

The biggest drone races are yet to come. While the Drone Racing League is saddling up with its partner Allianz for season 2 of the Drone Racing League, commencing this coming June 2017, the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) and its partner NASCAR are prepping for their first of the 2017 IDRA Drone Racing Series, a free event that will take place between June 2-4 during the Dover NASCAR races at the Dover International Speedway. 

The drones taking part in the IDRA race are said to be approximately the size of a laptop, and will be racing around the track at top speeds ranging from between 60 to 80mp/h. The race will feature 16 professional teams, with four pilots on each team, and a pit crew. All drones taking part in the race must be battery powered, rotary propelled, and piloted by a pilot. 

The June 2-4 drone race is one of a series of six professional, international drone racing events, with the final event taking place in Amsterdam. The winner of the IDRA series will be the drone racing pilot with the largest number of points accumulated throughout the six events. Other events will take place in Portugal, South Korea, Russia, and China. Big prize money attaches to the winner of the IDRA drone racing series. Last year, $1,000,000.00 in prize money was collected by the 15 year old champion drone racing pilot. The schedule for the IDRA drone racing series is available on their website.

Meanwhile, other IDRA sanctioned races are taking place around the globe. Just this past April 29 and 30th, the Drone RacingBA, sanctioned by the IDRA, hosted the LED cup drone race, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One month prior, Episode 2 of the DYL Turkey race at the Volkswagen area in Istanbul, Turkey, was taking place, once more sanctioned by the IDRA. 

Drone Racing Catching Fire

According to some sources, there are nearly 1,000 drone racing chapters, with 17,000 registered drone pilots around the world. With big prize money attaching to drone races (e.g. $1,000,000.00 in the Drone Racing League), and considering that racing drones are readily available to anyone wishing to get into this increasingly popular hobby and sport, these numbers continue to growth rapidly. To say the least, drone racing is catching fire around the world.