NEAR BRIGHTON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 6, 2017) (HUTC) – The sport has been dubbed the Formula One of the air, the drone racing championships returned to the United Kingdom on Saturday (May 6).
Drone racing, or first person view (FPV) racing started in America several years ago, but has become an established sport in its own right in Britain.
Teams of four pilots had to fly drones around a marked looping racecourse that included some tight hairpin curves while wearing goggles that show them a live feed from the drone’s camera. It’s like a real-life video game.
The sport appeals to aspiring pilots and computer gamers who enjoy all the adrenaline of flight and a sense of escapism.
The FPV controllers (the goggles) allow the drone pilots to see where they are flying. With speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour it certainly can get the heart pounding and takes a lot of skill to maneuver the circuit.
It is not only the controlling pilot that sees their round, but any of their team mates or spectators who have tuned their googles to that teams frequency for viewing via a screen console.
Safety is a big issue; each drone is inspected prior to racing in a “fail safe check” and every pilot had to show they were insured.
60 pilots made up the 15 teams; most of them had an engineer who could fix the drone, as crashes are inevitable.
Each heat comprised of four teams who race a drone each for eight minutes, each member of the team having to pilot for at least one lap.
On the day “Team NoobFTW” captained by Gary Evans took top honours with a score of 40 from their five rounds.