'100 per cent mental sport': Drone racing growing in popularity
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, February 19, 2017 10:00PM EST
Drones may be known for taking photos and videos from high above, but a group of drone pilots is looking to popularize the latest trend in Canada: racing.
Competitive drone racing started roughly four years ago, but its popularity recently exploded around the world. One of the biggest competitions even offered $1-million cash prizes in Dubai last year.
"I've been to places like Dubai, Korea, the U.K., just for flying drones," drone pilot Andrew Meyer said.
The sport has even led to the creation of a world championship, broadcast live on television.
There are a variety of rules based on what kind of race the drone owner is competing in, but they are similar to race car driving regulations.
In some leagues, pilots are given points for flying their drones past checkpoints and finishing within a certain amount of time.
Drones can reach speeds of 120 kilometres an hour, with race courses ranging from the mundane circuits, to tracks that feature several levels.
The pilots stay seated, using a remote to control their drone. The drones are equipped with a camera that provides a real-time view of the course to the pilot's goggles.
"It is highly competitive," said Paul Baur, a drone pilot in Vancouver, B.C. "I think the biggest thing is that it is a 100 per cent mental sport."
Despite the hefty cash prizes, the sport can set the average racer back hundreds of dollars in repairs.
"It's all of the excitement without the danger, the only danger is to your pocket book," said Chris D'Aoust.
But the price of crashes doesn't deter drone owners, merely adding to the thrill of the race.
With a report from CTV News' B.C. Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy