Need a break from work? Do you love watching flying things? The Pacific Northwest Drone National Qualifier Race is happening this Saturday (7/16) right here in Bend. Sixty drone pilots are traveling from all over the West to compete for five spots at the National Drone Racing Championship in New York City in August.
The pilots will race in 20 small heats, on a windy, one-kilometer track that has gates and flags. To win, the pilots have to complete the course without missing a gate, and put in one of the five fastest times. If this is your jam, then head on out to Camp Fraley to watch. Is there cheering? Are there vuvuzelas? I can’t say, but I’m going to find out.
In the meantime, the news release says that the event is family friendly and free. You can bring chairs, umbrellas and picnic fixings and hang out with your kids, who will undoubtedly love it (there’s also roughly a 1,000 percent chance your kids will ask you buy them a drone).
The doors open at 8 a.m. for competitors and set-up and the races begin at 10 a.m.
The chance for these experienced drone pilots to advance to the 2016 National Drone Racing Championship is a big deal. That race will crown the fastest drone pilot in the country, and will be televised on ESPN.
Oregon startup Drone Complier is the presenting sponsor of the event, which is also supported by the Roswell Flight Test Crew, the Cascade Chapter of AUVSI, Drone Eclipse, Quadrysteria, and SOAR Oregon, the Bend-based statewide non-profit dedicated to the emerging drone industry.
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].