If you’re ever driving through Laporte on a Sunday afternoon you may hear on odd buzzing sound. Like a swarm of bees has descended upon the small town just north west of Fort Collins. Drew Oconnell will be quick to assure you that the noise is not killer bees, but the sound of racing quadcopters.
“They’re five-inch drones,” Drew said, referring to the diameter of the blades.
Drew is a member of the Fort Collins Drones Enthusiast Club, and Sunday, July 23, they held their first drone race.
“We race them around this course at pretty high speeds,” Drew said.
High speeds indeed. These little machines get up to ninety miles an hour as their pilots fly them over, around, and sometimes into gates as they try and get the most laps around this course in two minutes.
They are totally immersed as they operate their crafts. “It’s called FPV racing,” or First Person View, explained Drew.
The drones are mounted with a small light weight camera that sends a signal to the operator who views it on a screen through a special set of goggles which blocks out the rest of their field of vision creating a, “totally immersive experience.”
Amidst the whirring of blades, and wandering heads of pilots you’ll be sure to notice one other thing in the small field behind the Me Oh My Coffee and Pie shop: the sound of laughter.
“Everyone’s always dreamed of flying like a bird,” Drew said, “and this is right there with it.”