Drone race win flies Australia to top of new sport
An Australian man has smashed his international drone racing competition to take home $15,000 in prizes.
Brisbane man Chad Nowak won the freestyle, team and individual champion races at the first ever US National Drone Racing Championships in California last week, wearing FPV (first person view) racing goggles to get a drones-eye perspective of the high-tech race run at over 60 kilometres per hour.
On the first day of the competition, Mr Nowak was lagging at sixth place in time trials, but quickly leapt up the leader board to win the semi-finals and eventually take out the championships.
“I'm still in a bit of disbelief. I went there to have fun so to win everything, I'm gobsmacked,” he told reporters after the win.
The victory is an important step in legitimising the sport of drone racing, fellow enthusiasts say.
“[Chad] will go down in history as the world's first champion drone racer,” the Quadcopter Aerial Racing, Promotion & Organisation (QAROP) said.
“His time on the final race was 20 seconds ahead of second place, about one full lap ahead.
“Chad will be one to watch as this sport continues to grow.”
The following footage gives an idea of what Mr Nowak sees when he races, from a segment for the ABC show Lateline.