How a fantastic sport became real

Since the heroes of comics and computer games appeared on the big screen and actors from flesh and blood began to play these characters, it became clear that a new era had come. The line between the drawn and the real began to slowly blur. Now, the tangible can easily go into the virtual, and from there return in a new look. These were all semi-philosophical considerations, and here is an interesting example.

Since the mid-2010s, the so-called drones have become popular in the world. Representatives of the teams compete, wearing electronic glasses, which make it possible to see the flight of the drone “in the first person.” Management is carried out using the remote control, reminiscent of the control post from the game console.

Flew into the mine

For such competitions, special sections are being prepared, equipped with various objects (gates, corridors, towers and other fantasy gizmos) through which the pilot must fly his drone, or which must fly around at high speed – you still have to keep up with the times. There are a lot of federations conducting such championships in the world. One of them, the Drone Champions League (DCL), was formed in the Principality of Liechtenstein by the co-founder of the sports marketing agency Herbert Wairater. DCL championships are held according to a system reminiscent of Formula 1: this is a series of annual Grand Prix, which are held in different cities of Europe (and China). The competition involves teams representing Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the UK, as well as several international teams. Racing places are sometimes chosen quite exotic – for example, the famous salt mine in Turda (Romania).

From beginner to pro
To popularize the races, the DCL leadership took an interesting step: the computer game DCL Game was developed, which went on sale this year. Unlike professional real-time races broadcast by sports channels, everyone can take part in the game. At the same time, control of the drone is very realistic and requires almost the same skills that a real pilot-rider needs. Moreover, in the game with high detail reproduced sites on which the Grand Prix has already been held. In fact, the player who managed to achieve high results in the DCL Game becomes a 100% candidate for leaving the virtual to real and is ready to try himself as a professional racer. Moreover, the game is designed to certify pilots before admission to the Grand Prix. It must be said that DCL is not the only drone racing league that has created a virtual counterpart to its competition. However, the federation from Liechtenstein took another step, which became a small sensation in 2020.

“We started with very small drones … and then we made them more and more, but people still said that they were too small. now we have made a really big drone, and this means that in principle we can one day arrange manned races. ” Herbert Wairater

Passenger, but not a pilot?

Last February, the audience was presented with Big Drone – a twelve-rotor all-electric unmanned aerial vehicle, very similar to the drones that drive in the Grand Prix, and those that can fly in the virtual space of the DCL Game. Only the sizes were different. The new car has a passenger seat and with a length of about 5 m and a net weight of 98 kg is capable of lifting a person weighing up to 69 kg into the air! Which was done. On the flight site near the Croatian city of Vrsar, the president and founder of DCL, Herbert Vairaiter, boarded Big Drone. From the ground, the car was driven (as usual, with the help of electronic glasses and a remote control) by a former DCL racer and world champion in several disciplines Mirko Cesena.

Nevertheless, the VIPs did not risk life and health, and the drone with the passenger only briefly took off from the ground, and then landed softly. But then a mannequin was loaded into the cockpit, and then Big Drone showed everything that he was capable of. Flying around Vrsar, the car turned barrels, loops and other figures, developing a speed of up to 140 km / h. What’s next? Given that one of the sponsors of DCL is the well-known patron of technical sports – the company Red Bull, and the series of air races on aerobatic airplanes Red Bull Air Race is one of the most popular competitions in the world, we can assume that in some foreseeable future (when the technology Big Drone will be brought to perfection) we will be able to witness a similar series of races with aerobatics, where electric multicopter with a person on board will participate. There is only a legitimate question: can this person drive such a machine independently or will the real pilot be on the ground (as it was during the Big Drone tests in Vrsar)? In the latter case, there are unlikely to be many who want to occupy the passenger seat.

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