In the last few years the hobby of drone flying has grown enormously, in the first 15 months of registration in the United States more than 750,000 people registered their drones to fly in US Airspace. With this increase in drone ownership, it was only natural for a more extreme version of the hobby to take the world of drone ownership by storm and that’s drone racing! In fact this even led to the creation of The Drone Racing League which offers racing opportunities all over the world.
Reaching over 75 million fans worldwide this year, The Drone Racing League appears to have gained popularity despite this being only its second season. The DRL offers events internationally where competitors can be watched by fans both in person and via broadcasts. The venues range from abandoned malls to NFL stadiums and everything in between. Each year the competitors are contending to become the “World’s Greatest Drone Pilot” and this year win a $100,000 prize. At the beginning of the season the field includes 16 pilots which narrows down to 6 facing off in the championship. All of the pilots operate the league’s official drone, the Racer3 capable of reaching speeds up to 80mph.
Pilots hailing from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom competed this year after being recruited and scouted in amateur racing leagues around the world with one pilot having completed a virtual assessment online to join the tour. (More on how you can complete the assessment for your chance to join the tour later.) All 16 pilots on the world tour are young men, which should come as no surprise given the popularity of drone piloting among the video game generation.
The Drone Racing League just recently wrapped up its 2017 season with the World Championship which was broadcasted on ESPN on July 28th. The World Championships took place at the Alexandra Palace in London, with the champion being crowned after a round robin tournament to narrow the field to six final competitors. Jordan “Jet” Temkin of Fort Collins, Colorado was named the “World’s Greatest Drone Pilot” for the second year in a row. The Drone Racing League was only formed in 2016 and for Jet to win the honor two years in a row speaks to his experience as a pilot, not to mention he’s only 25 years old. “We’re so proud of Jet, a two-time DRL winner, who consistently navigated hairpin, razor sharp turns with precision and speed,” said DRL CEO & founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski. “He has proven himself to be the best drone pilot on the planet, and we can’t wait for him to return for the 2018 Season.” Drone racing is a new hobby and it seems clear that being young is not a disadvantage for Jet. It would seem that he’s the man to beat in 2018, so start your drone engines now and get plenty of practice in before the next season.
If you’re interested in drone racing, check to see if there are any amateur leagues in your area to join. Or if you prefer to just attempt to be a pilot for the DRL right away, you can apply on The DRL official website as well by competing in a virtual assessment via a video game. This past year the pilot “Jawz” was the first video game pilot to get an official tour contract for $75,000 and compete internationally. Check out https://thedroneracingleague.com/ for the assessment and any information on upcoming events in your area!