Call them fighter jet pilots on a miniature level.
First Person View or FPV for those in the know, are drone racing events held around the world. For Christopher Webb, opening the competition at Wasaga Beach was one of his dreams.
“I’m tired of driving to Toronto and Niagara Falls for competitions,” Webb said.
As a new member of MultiGP, an international professional drone racing league, Webb’s Chapter 705 Multirotor Racing will host competitions at Klondike Sports Park in Wasaga Beach for approximately six Sundays this summer.
He said the drones, roughly the size of a dinner plate and weighing about a pound, can fly from zero to 100 km/h in seconds.
It’s not for the faint of heart or stomach.
Each drone is equipped with a camera that the user or pilot – wearing goggles with a small screen inside – can view from the drone’s flickering perspective.
Webb says the 705 Multirotor group will need more adherents, but advises those who want to spend around 100 hours in a simulator to practice before attempting to race.
“It’s not easy to get into it, and we don’t want people to try it once and get discouraged,” said Webb, who also has his private pilot’s license.
Each track will consist of 10 gates – similar to obstacles – and several flags through which the drone will have to be maneuvered.
Although the cost isn’t prohibitively expensive, around $500, Webb said many club members purchase the parts and assemble them personally.
“Part of the hobby is building them,” he said.
In Wasaga’s decision to allow the use of three-quarters of a mini soccer field for the events, Kevin Lalonde, Wasaga’s Director of Public Works, said he commends Webb for his ambition and passion for the creation of the local MultiGP chapter.
“We wish him much success as he grows his local membership and attracts local, national and perhaps international competitors to Wasaga Beach,” Lalonde wrote in his staff report to the council.
The first event will take place on Sunday, June 5 at Klondike Sports Park in Wasaga.