By Julie Johansen
In connection with Emery County Airport Wings and Wheels, there will be drone demonstrations and races on Friday and Saturday. However, drone pilots prefer to call them quads. Quads, short for quadcopters, are named such because they have four rotors. The drone racing association is excited and happy to demonstrate the sport of drone racing and quiet the austere notion that drones spy. Public misunderstanding of drones seems to be disappearing as the sport grows. While there are cameras on these drones, their purpose has nothing to do with spying as you soon learn when watching them race.
Those pilots that will be racing have built their own quads so spectators will be able to view differences in frames, motors, camera mounts and color of props. Pilots are able to put on goggles, sit in a chair and remotely view in first person as though they were actually in the drone. Special techniques and styles of build make them able to fly at 70-80 miles per hour. Quad pilots will be coming from Utah and Idaho for this special event in Emery County. All who come will be happy to answer questions of onlookers.
Quad racing is a relatively new sport, only coming together in the last two years. ESPN2 has started broadcasting drone races in just the last year. Spokesperson KanaMarie Poulson recently attended a national promotional in Muncie, Indiana.
There will be two divisions of performances for the audience. Friday evening, September 23, will be a freestyle exhibition, a concept similar to freestyle skiing. The second demonstration will be a timed race following a course through gates and flags. More information about the drones and competition can be found on their Facebook page: Utah Drone Racing.