The People of Las Vegas Underground Drone Racing
All too often, I focus on the hardware, forgetting that the pilot is what’s most important- more important than PID tuning or proper setup–The pilots are really the key to making drone racing successful.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Las Vegas Underground Drone Race on September 12th, 2015 in the Neonopolios Parking structure off of Freemont street to witness once again, a new sport, fueled by new age thinkers.
The feel of the Underground race was different than the others that I have attended. There weren’t any big money spenders, or large corporate sponsors in attendance. This race had a feeling of something better. This race was about the pilots and straight up racing. It wasn’t a publicity stunt, it was about doing something new, different and fun. It was Drone Racing at it’s finest.
The best part about this new emerging sport is the people behind it.
There are so many different characters that show up to these events, and each and every one of them is a pioneer.
FPV Pilots are new age “Rock Stars”, some even rolling with an entourage, sporting their customized FPV drones in the most interesting ways.
This was a hardcore race though. There was no glamour here, just the fastest quads and thumbs around. Most of the people at this race were flying custom frames, custom hardware, and reinventing the wheel to get that extra nano-second of speed, or the extra bit of resolution needed to precisely fly amongst the concrete pillars. The frames, parts and configurations here were pushing the envelope of what is possible, proving that the craftiest innovation is in the hands of the pilots, not the corporations trying to commercialize the sport.
QAV250s which used to be very popular were few and far between at this race. I did see more custom cut carbon & 3d printed innovation than ever before. The new racing frame style is light, x and concrete resistant.
These people are not only creating a a new sport, they are inventing a new age of electrical & mechanical engineering that meets the real world. Soldering is cool again, Command line interface (CLI) is a common language amongst this crowd. They are using their uncanny gamer/computer programming/ electrical & mechanical engineering skills to shave seconds of their lap times while piloting their avatars around the track in first person. It is akin to what Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen did for Skateboarding after it’s introduction.
These pilots and these events will soon be written into the history books as the roots, beginnings, or the Underground of Drone Racing.
My time at the Las Vegas Drone Underground race was oriented towards meeting old friends and having fun with the people of this underground racing sport. Without these innovators, there would be no sport of drone racing.
Underground Drone Race Las Vegas people-Innovators and Pioneers at their finest.