London to host first indoor drone race tournament this weekend

Drone racing photo from iStock/Onfokus.

Could drone racing be the next great adrenaline sport? A group of enthusiasts are bringing the sport to central London this weekend.

There’s a new adrenaline sport booming in popularity in Britain, drone racing.

While consumer drones have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, there are a growing group of enthusiasts attempting to turn flying drones into a competitive sport.

Called FPV (first person view) drone racing, the sport links video from a flying drone to an Oculus Rift-like headset worn by the pilot, drones are then tasked with racing around intricate obstacle courses.
This weekend FPV drone racing is coming to central London for the first time, with an indoor race in Whitechapel organised by FPVLeague, a drone racing league in the South East of England.

“The sport of drone racing is taking off globally but it’s been difficult in London to find places that are easy to get to, and away from flight paths,” Simon Vans-Colina, who helped found the group which became FPVLeague and has been racing drones for two years and, told The Memo.

Vans-Colina, who will be racing on Sunday, said the 38 pilot positions in the race were filled in less than 24 hours with some of the best pilots including some British Model Flying Association finalists who will be flying indoors for the first time.

“Moving the race indoors means the pilots can compete regardless of weather, and flight path restrictions and means spectators can get much closer to the drones (we’ve got safety nets).”

Sunday’s race will take place at 22-36 Raven Row, Whitechapel, and is a qualifying round for the 2016 British FPV Racing Association national championship.

Organisers told The Memo that spectators are welcome to come along and watch (they advise bringing a camping chair).