(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Bill Schuette started by flying RC planes, then he got into flying first-person view. When he started getting into drones, he found he could use the same skills. About three months ago, he decided to add some competition.
“I thought, ‘Why am I not racing?'” the Vienna, Va., resident said.
On Saturday, he and other racers brought their quadcopters to Baltimore for the first time, as Global Air Media and Open Works held the Baltimore Drone Prix.
Throughout the afternoon, racers navigated a course set up at the edge of the Station North makerspace’s parking lot, where racers made laps by navigating around flags and through obstacles.
Racers were perched on a balcony above, where they put on goggles that showed the view of the drone’s camera and piloted the drones.
When they put on the goggles, racers take names like Dinosaur and Warthog. Some showed off freestyle skills, piloting tricks in between races.
Racers broke in the new course throughout the afternoon, as a crash into the net or an obstacle could quickly end a race. “Sometimes the key is just to finish the race,” the emcee said. “It’s not to go fast.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh gave her support, stopping by to announce the first race.
Global Air Media’s Eno Umoh said the company and Open Works are ramping up a drone racing league, where racers have the opportunity to build their own quadcopters at the makerspace.