Scoring Autographs, Handmade Antennae at the Drone Nationals

By Jeremy Wyckoff

I had a tough decision this past Saturday: Head out to the field to spend the day flying with my friend Bob, “BaveronaFVP” Averona , or attend the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships (Drone Nationals) on Governor’s Island—the first nationally televised drone racing event in history.

I’ve been to drone events like this, with amazing tracks setup for top pilots and race teams. But I find I spend the day separated from the real action, and am left wanting to go home and fly FPV (first-person view) drones myself.

Sponsored by ESPN, the Drone Nationals was different—fun for non-hobbyists, as well as those pilots who aren’t quite as skilled as this level (read: just one-quarter as fast). For just $10, I snagged a trackside ticket, with access to the pits, trackside viewing, drone racing computer simulators, free and discounted swag and equipment. But more importantly? I got up close with the organizers, the pioneering technology companies behind drone racing, and the pilots I follow so I can progress with my own racing skills.

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