How drones can enhance the extreme sports experience as both a competitor and a spectator

By Leigh Marcos

Up until recently, drone racing was considering little more than a hobby. Now it is considered one of the fastest growing extreme sports in the world with races even soon to be shown on TV.

The first-person viewpoint creates a sensation of hurtling through the air yourself. Small drones can be fitted with cameras that beam video from the drone’s perspective directly into the pilot’s and spectator’s headsets. The spectators wince along with the competitors as drones speedily travel through the narrowest of gaps.

Drones travel at a phenomenal speed which was previously unimaginable to us. Are there any other sports in the world where the competitor hurtles through the air at speeds of up to 115 miles per hour?

It is the only sport where the spectator has the same viewpoint as the competitor. Sportsmen and women are idolised and sometimes aspired to. It is very easy to place ourselves in their shoes when we are seeing an event from literally the same perspective.

It's the only sport you risk destroying everything you have built to pull off risky acrobatic manoeuvres. But imagine the feel of euphoria when you hurtle towards the ground at 80 miles per hour and then pull off the trickiest and dynamic move to get ahead of the competition?

The crowds are getting bigger. The first ever organised drone event only took place last year. Now it is a sport in its own right, complete with sponsorships, leagues and international competitions. During the US championships in California, thousands of spectators turned up to watch over a hundred competitors compete for a cash prize. Much more people watched the events live online. Adrenalin surges when you know you are being watched by a bigger audience.

Anyone can aspire to be a drone racer. The majority of competitors were spectators a few months ago and are not professionals. You can buy your own drone for around $180 or even put one together yourself if you are looking to save money. Is there any greater feeling than watching a sport and realistically believing one day you could be taking part yourself?

The incredible rate drone racing has popularised itself through social media is a testament to how fun an experience it is, both to watch and compete. There is a great drone racing community out there which anyone can take part in.
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