Drone racing takes flight in Picton

The sport of drone racing is taking off – literally.

Mowbray Park Farmstay will play host to the first drone racing competition in Picton next weekend, April 20 to 22.

Drone racing, also called first-person view racing, is a sport that involves flying specialist lightweight and often homemade quadcopters around a course at speeds of up to 140 km/h.

Drone Racing Australia chairman Dave Purebred said he was excited to hold the Aussie Open competition in Picton.

“The event is open to everyone,” he said.

“If you have any interest in drones then come down to watch a race or fly.”

Pilots will remotely fly a drone around a course. First-person view racing uses a high speed security camera and sends video transmission to the pilot’s video googles. 

“The drones allow the pilot to see what the drone directly sees and makes flying the drone around the course more effective,” Mr Purebred said.

“The drones can flip, turn, do power loops and all other types of manoeuvers, which were never before possible with other aircraft.”

Ingleburn resident Noel Harris, who will compete at the Aussie Open, said he first started racing drones three years ago after flying remote-controlled helicopters.

Mr Harris said he attends most of the major racing events and has travelled overseas for competitions.

“When I flew helicopters, I would just watch it go around the course but flying the drone feels like I’m inside it,” he said.

Mr Harris said he “was no chance of winning” at the major events but still enjoyed competing and catching up with other pilots.

“Pilots are scattered across the country and I watch their videos and then they come to the events and I see how they race in person,” he said.

Mr Purebred said there had been a lot of interest in the Aussie Open this year.

He said the pilot who won last year’s inaugural open received entry into an American international open and then went on to win the world cup.

“The Aussie Open can open doors for pilots,” Mr Purebred said. “Since winning the Aussie Open, the pilot has gone on to win more championships around the world.

“He is considered the undisputed champion of drone racing and he will be at Picton’s event to defend his title.”

Mr Purebred said he was keen to hold the event at Picton because Mowbray Park Farmstay provided a great course and authentic Australian experience for international competitors.

He said Drone Racing Australia actively encouraged and would help someone start a club in their area. There are 10 chapters in Australia.