Drone Racing Takes Flight With Olympic-Size Ambitions

By Paul Blake

Almost 3,000 miles from home and standing on an island that was once the site of a military installation, Ken Loo stared intently into a set of goggles, his fingers twitching over controls as he reacted to the scratchy drone video beaming directly into his eyes.

Hurtling through the air overhead at speeds as high as 60 miles per hour, his and other drones transmitted the images to pilots who were competing in the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships last weekend on New York’s Governors Island.

Behind safety netting, a small audience gathered to sip beer and watch the devices fly around the course, weaving in and out of obstacles. Some put on orange spectator goggles, which allowed them to toggle between feeds from the drones’ onboard cameras.

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