“When you put the googles on, it feels like you’re in the cockpit of the drone”, says Steve Zoumas, a top ranked FPV drone pilot from the United States.
With a GoPro camera mounted below the four propellers, we get a breathtaking peak into the speed at which these remote controlled drones fly. Coming in infinite designs, the most complex ones are built by the pilots themselves and feature a lower-quality DVR camera on board that streams via radio antenna to the googles pilots wear as they navigate their machines through an obstacle course. Races are decided by which pilots manage to circle the course the fastest, rather than racing as a big group.
Zoumas is a contractor in his time off drone racing. He says that the construction business helps him financially while he pursues his drone racing ambitions. For him, it all started as a hobby, but once he was hit by the drone bug he was hooked. The same goes for Rafael Paiva, a video producer who came to NYC all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to compete in the Liberty Cup and the National Drone Racing Championship.
The Liberty Cup is the first drone racing competition event to take place against the New York City skyline at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. It is also one of the regional qualifying events if you want to compete in the first ever National Drone Racing Championship on Governors Island. The massive event was organized by the Drone Sports Association, and sponsored by GoPro and live streamed by ESPN, so… yeah… If you haven’t heard about this, you will soon!
The winners of the national championship will go to compete in the world championship taking place later this year in Hawaii. Last year, Dubai hosted the lavish event in a set up reminiscent of the Formula One’s swankier, more excessive days.
Check out the full video above.