Reno Air Races to feature drone racing for first time
STEAD, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) —
At the 2016 Reno Air Races, the drone of jets is giving way to the buzz of drones.
For the first time, the University of Nevada, Reno Drone Zone will feature micro drone racing.
"It's a really high action sport. There's a lot of carnage, drones crashing into each other and breaking," drone pilot Steven Gard, who has flown drones for about a year, said. " My strategy for the course is to fly low, be really steady and smooth and try to win."
The Drone Zone will have a few three-minute long qualifying races on Thursday and Friday, followed by a five-minute final race on Saturday.
Director Warren Rapp said he doesn't expect too many entries because the competition is in its first year. Instead, he said the main goal is introducing the over eight thousand expected attendees to new drone technologies.
"Being able to take a drone or robot and be able to put it in a place where a human might not be able to go and virtually, through goggles, be able to guide it to whatever your objective is," Rapp said.
Rapp hopes to interest young people in new possibilities that might not have considered.
"Instead of their parents just saying 'Hey, I want you to go to UNR and get a degree' the (kids) are going to say 'I want to go to UNR and get an engineering degree because I was at the Drone Zone today and I talked to some computer programming folks, I talked to some of the drone pilots ... That's amazing stuff and that's what I want to do," Rapp said.
If you are interested in starting to fly drones, Gard said beginner drones usually run about $50 dollars.