Kenmore State High School Student First Ever FAI World Drone Racing Champion

A teen from Kenmore State High School was proclaimed as the first-ever FAI World Drone Racing champion in Shenzhen, China.

Fifteen-year-old Rudi Browning bested 127 other drone racers from 34 countries after four days of fast-paced competition. The FAI World Drone Racing Championship, the first-of-its-kind competition, was designed to showcase the drone pilots’ racing skills as thousands of fans watch the competition that was streamed online.

The first FAI World Drone Racing Championship ran from 1-4 November at the Shenzhen Universiade Stadium. Apart from the general individual and national team classifications, it also included female and junior pilots classifications.

The FAI World Drone Racing Championships 2018 involved three stages:

  • Qualification: competitors race to determine the placing for the first round of the elimination stage
  • Elimination: successive rounds that lead up to the semi-finals.
  • Final: the ultimate and final race to determine the eventual Champions and Vice-Champions.

Video Credit: MERCADRONE/YouTube

The drones used in the competitions are multi-rotor aircraft with at least three motors or propellers. Each drone weighs no more than 1 kg (including batteries). For real-time flight video images, the drones were fitted with an on-board video camera that transmitted images to the headset worn by the pilots. This allowed the competitors to steer the tiny aircraft around the circuit.

The track in China is considered as one of the best ever built for a drone racing competition. The 650-metre long track was created in the shape of a Chinese knot. There were three levels with obstacles and gates that the drone pilots had to fly up, down, over, and through. The drone race course was lit up at night with 7,000 metres of LED lights that created a stunning visual experience to everyone watching.

For winning the drone racing championship and placing third in the junior competition, as well as for being part of Team Australia that won the national classification, Rudi took home more than $US 24,000 in prize winnings.