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. 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 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. 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, 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. 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 (10)
  • heatherb6828-
    8/10/2016 - 08:57 a.m.

    They would want to race to see which model is built better.Also see how fast the drones can go.They may race the drones to see how much force the drone can take.It maybe even just for fun.

  • allenm1-bla
    9/15/2016 - 08:20 a.m.

    People or enthusiasts maybe want to race because they might need the money. I see people play sports for their family or to pay off medical bills that they just don't have the money for. They might also play this as a hobby .

  • nathanielf-bla
    9/15/2016 - 09:33 a.m.

    Drone enthusiasts want to race because like what Brennan said "my first time flying, I got it and I was hooked." he is doing it as practice for the Air Force and drone racing is his side sport. But, some people may do this so they can earn money because they may have medical bills to pay of and or may be out of a job and they do this because it may be fun but also it pays a lot. I know this because in the text it says" Brennan was one of more than 100 competitors vying for a $50,000 prize."

  • wschl-wim4
    9/16/2016 - 12:11 p.m.

    They like to go verse other people and see if they are the best flyers. They also play for the $50,000 award if they win the National Drone Racing Championship.

  • hgray-wim5
    9/16/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    They might want to race because they have a passion for drone racing and its a good oppurtunuity to win some money for doing something you love or its a hobby.

  • jesusm-ver
    10/07/2016 - 10:20 a.m.

    They would like to race because it would be for the price or that they like the drones a lot and proof their skills.

  • noahh-sto
    10/13/2016 - 11:44 a.m.

    Because they want to see how well they work and racing is always fun.

  • arams-wim5
    10/21/2016 - 12:46 p.m.

    Drone enthusiasts should want to race because which model of a drone is better protection and speed. People might want to know this since one day it might become an official sport since how popular it has been coming to be. Also in the future drones could deliver packages instead of mailmen or do something different that can have a big difference in the world.

  • daphnec1-sch
    1/19/2017 - 03:01 p.m.

    Yes i do think that being Healthy makes you makes you happy because when you are sick you are most likely miserable. If you are not sick then you are happy you are not sick. i think flying drones is a healthy and happy pursuit because your doing something you love witch should make you happy. do i think that partaking in fling drones will contribute to your happiness because it is something that is very enjoyable.". "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."

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