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. It was held 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. It is 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. They remotely directed their drones, most no larger than a paperback book, through an obstacle course of gates and flags. The drones flew at speeds up to 60 mph.
 
The competitors fly using first-person view headsets. These allow them to see as if they were inside the tiny drones, said Scot Refsland. He is 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 was broadcast on ESPN3. It drew competitors of all ages.
 
The youngest racer was 12-year-old Sorell Miller of Boise, Idaho. He 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. They 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 (43)
  • gavinc1768773949-
    8/10/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    The drone enthusiasts want to race a drone because there is a $50,000 prize. You can look drone racing up on youtube to see how fun it is. The drone enthusiasts say drone racing is fun. He was immediately hooked with seeing videos on youtube. The drone enthusiasts want to race drones because of the $50,000 prize and because its fun.

  • emmab12342625-
    8/10/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    I think drone enthusiastic wants to race their drones because that is something that they love to do. Also,they want to show people what they can do with drones. How they compete with them and other drones.

  • aidanh-sto
    8/24/2016 - 02:43 p.m.

    I think drone enthusiasts would want to race because they want to use drones for fun, and using it for the way its supposed to used for.

  • kenziel-sto
    8/24/2016 - 03:03 p.m.

    I think they would want to fly a drone so they can win the 50,000 dollar prize

  • opalb-rob
    8/25/2016 - 11:08 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts want to race because they love drones, and I think they really want to race because first of all, there's a $50,000 dollar prize. People who love drones would know this is a big opportunity to do what they love AND get a great prize. Second of all, there is probably nothing like this out there with drones. This sport is so unique and I can see why people who love drones want to race in this event!

  • chadm-orv
    8/30/2016 - 08:58 p.m.

    They want to show that drones can be fun and not what you sometimes see on tv.

  • elliota-orv
    8/31/2016 - 01:06 p.m.

    They probably want to see how good they are at flying drones compared to other experienced drone pilots.And there is a prize for the winner.

  • kevink-pav
    9/14/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts want to race because they love drones, and I think they really want to race because first of all, there's a $50,000 dollar prize. People who love drones would know this is a big opportunity to do what they love AND get a great prize. Second of all, there is probably nothing like this out there with drones. This sport is so unique and I can see why people who love drones want to race in this event!

  • hcoke-wime
    9/16/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    Brennan was fascinated when he saw the ad for the race of drones. It said in the story" I found it on YouTube and I was hooked immediately." Tyler Brennan wasn't a really good drone flier either. In the story it said that he crashed in the first few seconds."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. The event was held in New York City. Brennan was one of more than 100 pilots vying for a $50,000 prize. After the race Brennan was focused on flying better and bigger machines. "After this, he said he's going to focus on preparing to fly much bigger machines." also he is going to be flying for the Air force. In the story it said. "After this, I'm concentrating on flying for the Air Force and this will remain a side sport."

  • thomasgibbes-bak
    9/21/2016 - 09:20 p.m.

    I love how people make drones for a sport I didn`t even know about! I highly recommend to read this article. I can not believe that a 12 year old boy took part in the race! I would like to build and race a drone knowing that $50,000 is on the line. If you read this article you will get hooked.



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