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This how Huntsville, Alabama – home to the longest running chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International celebrated International Drone Day Saturday May 6th at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
Drone Races – 22 drone racing pilots from around the southeast had their miniature high tech flying machines zipping around a course of obstacles at 60 mph. With five drones racing in each heat, the goal was to see how many laps could be completed in three minutes without crashing the drone and doing the “Walk of Shame” (returning with a downed drone).
Check out this GoPro video from drone racing pilot John Ball. While this is a higher resolution view of flying from the drone’s perspective, pilots wearing goggles get a similar view to guide their drones but with a much lower resolution black & white image because of the need for real time transmission of the images.
Spectators could also view the drone view images on large screen TVs or on their own screens or goggles by tuning in to the live stream video radio frequency similar to what you might do at a NASCAR race.
The new netted drone flight space at the Space & Rocket Center The 150 x 150 x 30 foot high permanent enclosure will be used for drone training by the Aviation Challenge and Robotics programs run by the Space & Rocket Center. It will also be used by UAH as a drone research facility and by other organizations such as first responders to learn safe flying techniques. The area will eventually be open to individuals to improve their drone flying skills but access will need to be scheduled with the Space & Rocket Center.
Displays of both military, commercial and hobbyist drones – Companies such as Dynetics and Redstone Arsenal’s Project Management Office for Unmanned Aircaft Systems were on hand as well as Avion Unmanned Solutions to show both the military and commercial uses for drones including inspections, search & rescue, mapping, surveying, security and real-estate uses.
Drone Forum – FAA personnel were on hand to to talk about regulations as well as answer questions from drone pilots. Dave Arterburn, director of the Rotocraft Systems Engineering & Simulation Center at UAH was on hand to discuss their research into drone safety standards.
Food trucks – After all what could be better than combining I Love Drones with the I Love Bacon food truck.
As drone technology improves and the community of drone users expands, it is helpful for individuals and organizations to come together at events such as International Drone Day to exchange information, promote education, training and the safe operations of this ever changing high tech industry.