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Droning on through lockdown

Archie Milligan
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Seth Moore uses Velocidrone at an event Last month  Redzone Drone Racing inc.

Canterbury drone racing club moves online to meet lockdown-inspired demand.

Drone racing has steadily grown in popularity in recent years, but local clubs say they've noticed a spike in interest since New Zealand plunged into another Covid lockdown. 

In Christchurch, a Crown-owned section of the Red Zone at Burwood has been home base for local club, Redzone Drone Racing. It hosts regular get togethers and race days, where drone pilots use first-person view (FPV) drones to navigate through purpose-built courses.

FPV drones can travel up to 160km/h, and are fitted with little cameras that feed to special goggles worn by pilots. The goggles give them the first-person view, as if they were sitting in or on the flying drone. 

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Redzone Drone Racing pilots racing with the FPV goggles 

 

Like every business, social or sporting group, Redzone Drone Racing has had to adjust to the new-normal that comes with the changing alert levels as a result of the Delta outbreak of Covid-19.

While in-person events and activities were cancelled, Redzone Drone Racing club members refused to take off their goggles, and put down their controls, instead deciding to push forward in the virtual space.

Redzone Drone Racing Committee member Seth Moore says the club's run additional digital races to keep up with demand, which has spread nationally. Moore says about half of the participants coming from the Wellington Drone racing club.

Digital racetrack

An example of a Velocidrone racetrack 

Moore, who flies under the name Krypto, said “Digital racing is a huge leap in technology that’s constantly becoming more popular. Not only does it provide a method for people to get into flying. It provides a way for people all over the world to connect.”

Moore thinks going back to the track post-lockdown might feel a bit foreign, but with the help of the online racing that he has been doing, he should get back into the swing of things without too many crashes.

Drones