Drones ready for lift-off in Wasaga

Call them fighter jet pilots on a miniature level.

First Person View or FPV to those in the know, are drone racing events held across the globe. To Christopher Webb, opening up competition in Wasaga Beach has been a dream of his.

“I get tired of driving to Toronto and Niagara Falls for competitions,” Webb said.

As a new member of the MultiGP, a professional, international drone racing league, Webb’s 705 Multirotor Racing Chapter will host competitions at Klondike Sports Park in Wasaga Beach for approximately six Sundays this summer.

He said that the drones, approximately the size of a large encyclopedia and weighing about one pound, can fly from zero to 100 km/hr in seconds.

It’s not for the faint of heart or stomach.

Each drone has a camera that the user or pilot – wearing goggles with a small screen inside – can see from the drone’s wobbly perspective.

Webb says the 705 Multirotor group will need more adherents but advises those interested in spending approximately 100 hours in a simulator practicing before attempting to race.

“It’s not an easy thing to just walk into, and we don’t want people to try it once and get discouraged,” Webb said, who also has his private pilot’s license.

Each track will be comprised of 10 gates – similar to hurdles – and several flags the drone must be maneuvered through.

While the cost isn’t prohibitive, approximately $500, Webb said many of the club members buy the parts and assemble them personally.

“Part of the hobby is building them,” he said.

In Wasaga’s decision to allow three-quarters of a mini soccer pitch to be used for the events, Kevin Lalonde, Wasaga’s director of public works said he commends Webb for his ambition and passion for starting the local MultiGP chapter.

“We wish him much success as he grows the local membership and attracts local, national and possibly international competitors to Wasaga Beach,” Lalonde wrote in his staff report to council.

The first event will be held Sunday, June 5 at Wasaga’s Klondike Sports Park.

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