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Drone Racers Dream Big As Their Sport Gains Popularity

July 19,2016 04:15

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – It's not motorcross, a new craze called Rotorcross has piqued the interest of many drone owners in Colorado. A CBS4 photographer recently traveled to Aurora Sports Park to see what drone racing is all about. He found some ...



July 18, 2016 12:54 PM

Filed Under: Aurora, Aurora Sports Park, Drone Racing, Drones, Jesse Perkins, Zachry Thayer

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s not motorcross, a new craze called Rotorcross has piqued the interest of many drone owners in Colorado.
A CBS4 photographer recently traveled to Aurora Sports Park to see what drone racing is all about. He found some serious competitors among the entrants into the Regional 5A MultiGP Qualifiers.
(credit: CBS)
Each “pilot” was using a transmitter to control their drone remotely as it flew around a large course set up with cones and gates. Many of the hobbyists, like Jesse Perkins, were controlling their drone while wearing special goggles.
“These aren’t virtual reality, these are video display goggles. So each eye has a screen,” he told CBS4. “It lets me view the camera that’s in the quad (drone) in real time. And that’s what makes you feel like you’re really flying.”
(credit: CBS)
Also noticeable at the park was the loud buzz coming from the drones as they whipped around the course.
“We love the sounds of the props,” one pilot told CBS4. “It’s like a finely tuned engine in a sense.”
Many of the pilots present told CBS4 they are seeing an explosion in popularity in the sport. That has some dreaming of making big money in competitions.
(credit: CBS)
“I think I’m like a lot of other people — I really want to do this professionally. Some of my teammates are already there,” Perkins said. “I’m getting a lot closer. And we all want to turn this into an income somehow.”
Controlling the drones takes some getting used to, according to the racers.
“The same racing techniques are needed as in any other racing event,” said Zachry Thayer, whose goggles had BIG WHOOP printed on them. “You really need to be smooth, consistent and really push the edge, and find the edge of the track.”
Drones similar to the ones being used at the park can be purchased for approximately $500.
“I played video games growing up. I don’t know if that helped or if it didn’t. It’s completely different. It’s real world flying. Regardless of putting on the nerd goggles or grabbing a transmitter, you still are flying a real aircraft,” Thayer said.

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