Interest in drones has taken off in Eastern Europe, prompting the FAI to hold a leg of the Drone Racing World Cup in Dnipro, Ukraine for the first time. Thanks to Association Noosphere and Max Polyakov, 40 pilots gathered from 4 countries in the region to compete for the prestigious Noosphere Race Cup as part of BestRoboFest 2017.
The FAI first certified drone racing as an official air sport in 2016. Because it is so new, they are still working to solidify the rules and regulations surrounding the sport. This year, the FAI World Cup took place in 16 cities around the world. The event in Dnipro was overseen by two FAI-certified judges from Italy and Ukraine.
Regional interest in drone racing picked up in 2015, when Max Polyakov’s Noosphere hosted the first drone racing event of its kind in Ukraine. Since then, Association Noosphere has hosted four more events that include races, workshops and festivities for pilots and families to enjoy.
The first day of the event, competitors had to prove their metal before they were able to officially compete in the event. Bad weather and technical issues threatened to delay the contest, but with some ingenuity and patience, judges and pilots were able to finish the preliminary heats.
In the evening, the weather cleared up and, much to the delight of the spectators, the pilots gave a show that tested the limits of their drones and wowed the audience. To get everyone involved, Max Polyakov arranged for another competition for amateurs to show their stuff to onlookers in the Copter League. And, just in case anyone else wanted to try their hands at flying, drones were provided for spectators to have a chance to get behind the wheel as well.
The second day of the competition saw several heats of races that eventually brought the best pilots to the top. The winning pilot was Andy Khan, a professional racer that came all the way from German to take the gold. Just behind him was Dario Noenschwander from Switzerland. And representing the home team, Victor Dzenzel from Ukraine took third place. Along with bragging rights, Victor was awarded a cash prize of $1000 from the aeromodelling association KAMA Korea to attend the 2017 FAI DAEGU Drone Race World Cup.
Organizers used the new CupNavigator system that Max Polyakov designed through Association Noosphere. The tool helps organizers do everything from plan the event and communicate with participants, to record scores and display them on customized websites for the event.
Although the event, sponsored by Max Polyakov, was focused on the races, it was also planned from the beginning as an event that the whole family could enjoy. Parents and kids enjoyed building their own models at the various workshops, learning about technology at the exhibits and eating their fill at the food court.
One thing that everyone could agree on, is that they were all excited to see what Max Polyakov has planned for next year’s event!