By Heather Janssen, Multimedia Journalist
Drone races garnered quite the audience at the Biosphere 2 in Oracle on Saturday night, March 24. It’s only fitting as the draw of drones continues to soar in southern Arizona.
Shane Barga, who attended the races explained, “They’re really neat. They’re really fast. They’re relatively cheap to buy.”
The latest numbers from the FAA show more than 1,300 drone licenses have been issued in Tucson alone. Those numbers were last recorded in 2016.
Barga is just one of many taking interest in the hobby and sport. It’s why he showed up to the Biosphere 2 for the Drone Racing League races.
“I love watching the races on TV. I thought it would be a real kick to go and check it out in real life,” Barga explained.
The Drone Racing League took over the dome, inside and out. Pilots raced their drones through different areas at 90 miles per hour, enjoying the beauty.
Nicholas Horbaczewski, the CEO and Founder of the Drone Racing League told Tucson News Now, “It’s just a magical place to bring drones and fly them around.”
With extensive planning, DRL and the Biosphere have been collaborating on the project for months.
Joaquin Ruiz, Biosphere 2 director asked, “Why not connect the high technology that was needed to build the Biosphere to the high technology of today?”
The combination of the two drew pilots like Nick Willard, known as ‘Wild Willy’ to fly through the course.
“It’s the most aesthetically pleasing course DRL has ever created,” Willard said.
Willard and the other dozen pilots enjoy drone racing for the thrill.
Willard described to TNN, “As fast as you want, anywhere you want – absolutely no fear of your personal safety. I mean you can just do anything. There’s literally no limits.”
All of this action wrapped up overnight, but anyone who missed it can catch it on TV.
The 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season will air this fall on 75+ countries on top sports programs, including ESPN in the US.