Drone pilots gather for racing championship Pilots fly their small racing drones through an obstacle course on Governors Island, a former military installation in New York Harbor, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. Drone pilots gathered in New York City to compete in the National Drone Racing Championship. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Drone pilots gather for racing championship
Lexile

Tyler Brennan is training to be a pilot in the Air Force, yet he was vying to be top gun at the National Drone Racing Championship held August 5-7.
 
The 22-year-old Air Force lieutenant traveled from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to compete in the tournament in New York City. Brennan was one of more than 100 pilots vying for a $50,000 prize.
 
"I found it on YouTube and I was hooked immediately," Brennan said of the sport. "My first time, I was like, 'I got it. I am hooked here' and I crashed almost immediately. But that split second that you get has you hooked for life."
 
Dozens of pilots gathered for a practice event on Governors Island, a former military installation in New York Harbor.
 
With spectators watching from a viewing stand, the pilots donned headsets that gave them a cockpit view as they remotely directed their drones, most no larger than a paperback book, through an obstacle course of gates and flags at speeds up to 60 mph.
 
The competitors fly using first-person view headsets, which allow them to see as if they were inside the tiny drones, said Scot Refsland, the founder and chairman of the Drone Sports Association.
 
A small mesh net is the only thing that separates the spectators from the action. Spectators stood on the sidelines, their smartphones in hand, capturing video of the small crafts whizzing by. Participants needed to pass through qualifying competitions in order to race.
 
The tournament, which was broadcast on ESPN3, drew competitors of all ages.
 
The youngest racer, 12-year-old Sorell Miller, of Boise, Idaho, faced off against dozens of other racers, including his father, Conrad.
 
Brennan said he hopes the competition persuades people that they shouldn't be afraid of the craft, which tend to make news headlines only when someone is using one improperly.
 
"Nobody here will you see flying in airspace they aren't supposed to be, flying near a wildfire or doing anything they aren't supposed to do," he said. "I hope this introduces drone racing and can show people that drones aren't something that sits outside your window and spies on you - not at all in any way, shape or form. This is a sport."
 
After this, he said he's going to focus on preparing to fly much bigger machines.
 
"This is my real hurrah," Brennan said. "After this, I'm concentrating on flying for the Air Force and this will remain a side sport."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why would drone enthusiasts want to race?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (22)
  • parkerz-cel
    8/10/2016 - 08:01 a.m.

    A few reasons why drone enthusiast want to race drones is so that it " persuades people that they shouldn't be afraid of the craft, which tend to make news headlines only when someone is using one improperly." Another reason they would want to race is for the pure rush of adrenaline. As a competitor you will find the littlest things the compete about to have the chance to come out victorious. And last but not least, if you have a drone why not race? lol

  • jareds-cel
    8/10/2016 - 08:06 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts find drone racing to give them a rush in the heat of the moment. In the article it states that when you crash for the first you're hooked for life. Also there is a 50 thousand dollar reward for the flyer that comes in first place. "Brennan said he hopes the competition persuades people that they shouldn't be afraid of the craft, which tend to make news headlines only when someone is using one improperly."

  • daytonb-pel
    8/11/2016 - 10:48 a.m.

    to show people drones aren't bad unless you use them in a bad way like spying or flying over wild fires but they can be used in a drone racing sport

  • allent-pel
    8/11/2016 - 10:57 a.m.

    because its fun to do and people llike the excitement and its fun for most people.

  • haileyc-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:01 a.m.

    The would want to race because they get to race with what they love. It also makes it a competition with the thing they enjoy doing.

  • rodolfoc-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:01 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts would want to race, because it's their passion. They view it as a sport. It takes skill and a lot of practice. They also, try to shows drone are a good thing when used properly. Also, its a good way to spend family time, as said in the article, a son was competing and so was the father, and also, ESPN3 was broadcasting the event.

  • jazminb-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:11 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts would want to race because they are kind of like a drone specialist and they want to see how a drone does in a race or competitive event with more than a few drones in one place.

  • peytonc-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:12 a.m.

    This is a sport that you don't have to put much of a physical effort into and the adrenaline rush of controlling is heavily appealing.

  • corindai-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:17 a.m.

    They might would like to race to see how it is to race and of course to try to win. I have never flown one before but it does say you are hooked after you fly it one time. Also these drone enthusiasts must be enthusiastic about these drones and has got to be dying to try the drone out.

  • annag-pel
    8/11/2016 - 11:28 a.m.

    So they could see who could build the better drone.

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