Flight of the Year

One of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen! From the world of First Person View (FPV) drones. This is what virtual reality can be!

Like many people, Paul “Nurk” Nurkkala spent his first few years of adulthood at a sensible job—he was a computer programmer living in Indianapolis. But in December 2015, his parents-in-law gifted him a Hubsan X4 toy drone. Initially, Nurkkala, who had long been an avid gamer, just used the drone as a distraction. Then, one day, it broke. Given his engineering background, he decided to try to fix it, and dived into YouTube. There he discovered a world of first-person-view drones and competitive drone racing. He was quickly hooked.

Nurkkala spent the following few years learning the basics of FPV drone racing, wearing goggles to see a real-time feed from his drone—as though he were a miniature pilot standing on its deck—and racing around obstacle courses and through gates at 90 miles per hour. He practiced 10 hours per day, flying a custom-built DRL Racer3 outside, and practicing on the Drone Racing League’s simulator inside.

At the age of 27, with just two years of racing experience, Nurkkala stood atop the podium at the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship finale, having beaten out two-time winning world champion, Jordan “Jet” Temkin.

(From Sporttechie April 2019)


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