As we know all know, the hobby community is constantly evolving and each day a new trend infiltrates the hobby. For the past few years, drone racing was tipped to be the next big thing, with many comparing and likening the sport to the phenomenon of skateboarding or car racing. However, while drone racing had become insanely popular for a couple of years, particularly in 2014/15, interest in the sport today is slowly decreasing. This begs the question – what’s next? This has me wondering about a sport that is known as drone diving.
The idea took off in May 2017, when the world’s first human jump from a drone was accomplished. Yes, you read that correctly – someone did indeed successfully jump from a drone at high altitude. This began with a European company named Aerones. Aerones describe their company as developing ‘high-performance multi-rotor aircrafts’ that are dedicated to using drone technology to fight fires and save lives. To accomplish this, the company built multirotor drones capable of carrying over 100 kg. Jānis Putrāms, a chief engineer of Aerones and a pilot of the drone stated that this technology is will benefit society in many ways, saying “Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work. With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defence and sports.”
The 28-propeller drone, which lifted skydiver Ingus Augstkalns over 330 metres above the ground before he jumped and landed using a parachute, was an important development for this technology. As previously stated by the company, the purpose of this experiment was not only to showcase their life-saving technology but it is also to highlight the reliability of the technology in lifting weight in flight. Additionally, the success of this jump reinforced the “unlimited possibilities for its use in saving people, fire-fighting, sports and entertainment.”
The man behind the idea, Ingus Augstkalns, who is both an experienced skydiver and a wind tunnel flyer, as well as the co-founder of Aerodium Technologies, said of the jump “Emotions are fantastic. Both feeling how easily and quickly the drone lifted me, and because Latvia proves itself in innovations of technology. It is obvious that we will experience an increasingly important use of the drone in our everyday life. Definitely, also my friends’ skydivers all over the world will be excited about these new opportunities. We live in an exciting time.”
While the event was a success, it is important to note that leading up to this day there was at least six months preparation prior to the jump, and many tests were attempted before the big leap. Additionally, potential risks were reduced by lifting from a 120m platform, as opposed to the ground, to 330m (the intended height for the dive), before jumping. So please, don’t try this at home!
Personally, I think drone diving still has much more to develop before becoming a viable sporting option. With that said, drone technology is improving quite rapidly. So drone diving could very well be the next big thing. What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.
Written by Rebecca
*Photos supplied by Aerones