Written by Katie
Good morning from Governors Island New York and welcome to practice day at the US drone nationals 2016. The excitement of arriving to a drone race on the first day is just like the first day of school. You’re excited and happy to see all your friends and nervous about what is in store for you this year!
As the race track is still being set up we have a chance to talk to pilots Austin Gossard from Riverside, CA and Richard Howarth and Serigo Marachilian both from Los Angeles, California, who are waiting for practice to start. When asked what makes this race so special? Sergio replied, “It’s the biggest event of the year, and it’s a much higher level of competition because everyone had to qualify to get here.” Austin told us he was a professional RC car driver for 8 years and can see this sport heading in the same direction “this is the next big thing, and with the technology from company’s like Immersion RC and Spektrum, it’s gonna move leaps and bounds (faster than the RC car sport)”.
All 3 pilots agreed when asked who was their biggest competition – Shaun Tayler (Nytfury) and Brian Morris (Braindrain). None of them have raced against Shaun or Brian, but Richard said the reason they are the ones to beat is “due to their online rep” which plays a big role with this race community because pilots post their flight videos on social media for all to see.
When asked why do they do this FPV racing, Sergio replied “it’s like scuba diving, once you put on the googles and go down there, it’s another world”. I couldn’t agree more!
As day one is coming to an end here at the 2016 US Drone Nationals we are about to board the last ferry back to New York. We are standing amongst a community of pilots who just endured the heat and long wait times in order to get a turn practicing on the track today.
We asked Race Organizer Scot Refsland how this event was going as compared to last year. “(This year) The length of time to get to the sonic boom was faster” he explained that at every drone race it takes a while after “take off” for things to get going smoothly and hit the “sonic boom”. “Last year we hit it 24-36 hours into the show, this year we hit it in 4 hours”.
So according to Scot they are off to a strong start.
The practice sessions all went fairly smoothly today with a recorded fastest lap of 31 seconds set by Shaun Taylor also known as Nytfury (captain of Team Multistar). Individual practice sessions were done in 10 heats, with the Team practice and freestyle practice happening shortly there after. Unfortunately, they were not able to get to the Wing practice session today. They will start with that in the morning.
So for now, with the day 1 Practice under our belts, the 2016 US Drone Nationals are officially underway and we are excited to bring you up to the minute news as it happens this weekend.