Age: 30 Location: Texas, US Background: Aerial construction worker
In my day job I work as a drone operator for a construction company. I use drones to inspect roofs that are too dangerous to climb and create videos of different phases of building projects to present to future clients.
The drones I use at work are very different from my racing drones. My work drones are designed to be incredibly stable and intelligent enough to fly themselves while taking highquality pictures. In comparison, my racing drones are much smaller, faster and more unstable, making them ideal for high-speed manoeuvres. I compare my work drones to airliners and my racing drones to fighter jets.
I started playing with remote control toys when I was about five-years-old. My dad used to fly remote control airplanes competitively in Europe.
In college I was very passionate about flying airplanes, but I missed the social and competitive aspect of the hobby, so I switched to remote control cars which I raced at local get-togethers with hobbyists. Then, one day I came across a video of drone racing on YouTube – and it blew my mind.
As soon as I was able to fly a drone half-decently I wanted to start racing. At first it was just two guys flying in the park with homemade gates [obstacles]. As we got better, and drone racing became more popular, more people started showing up to our races. That was about two years ago and I had no idea how huge this sport would become.
I fly six days a week after work and at lunchtime. I’m lucky to have friends that are equally passionate about drone racing as myself, so we get together on weekends and put pressure on each other. My day job definitely helps when I’m designing my own tracks. I always try to use the features of the environment that we’re practising in, whether it’s a park, abandoned warehouse or a garage.
In Dallas there’s an abandoned warehouse that we’ve converted into a permanent drone racing track. The warehouse has very post-apocalyptic scenery with many opportunities [for] crashing and smashing our drones into pieces. But, part of the thrill is the sense of consequence of flying in a place that risky. Completing a full battery on a track like that without a crash is very satisfying.
I’m originally from Poland, where drone racing is very popular. I’m confident the sport will become a worldwide phenomenon. There are kids that are only 10-years-old who are progressing so quickly they’ll soon be much better than me. You watch! >