Gentlemen…Start Your Drones


Drones are another hot item on most Christmas lists this year and there is a sport created for these futuristic flying machines.  The Drone Racing League (DRL) was created for these devices to be much like NASCAR or Formula 1 racing.

Sounds and looks a lot like something from a Star Wars movie.

drlThe DRL uses custom-built drones that have standard-definition cameras that send feeds to the pilots as well as high-definition cameras which allow producers to cut together videos of drones soaring through their courses.   A DRL race is scored based on a combination of completion time and checkpoints.  The DRL has multiple qualifying heats per race so that a racers’ best time can be used.  If something goes wrong on an individual run of the course, the pilot will have another chance to complete the course.  After qualifying races, winners advance to the semifinal and final races.

The first official race was held in Miami at Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium with ESPN televising 10 episodes this past season.   The season culminated with the World Championship race in Detroit in November.

The current leader in the DRL standings according to the DRL website is Zach Thayer who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sport of the future?  Maybe.  But honestly, I watched a few of the race videos and it is about as much fun as watching someone fly remote control airplanes.  It just isn’t as exciting unless you are the one doing it.  ESPN tried to make their productions into one-hour reality shows but it just didn’t work for me.  If I had a drone, I might be more interested but I don’t think they would let me race them around my residential area.



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