Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2019/January 2020 issue
China is getting ready to welcome more than 100 of the world’s best drone racers in December for the 2019 FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final.
The prestigious competition, which is a highlight in the fast-paced international drone-racing calendar, will be held in Xiangshan Ningbo, December 11-14, 2019.
At a press conference held November 4 in Xiangshan Ningbo, competition organizers said they were ready to welcome the world!
“Drone racing is a fast-growing sport and the FAI is right there at the forefront of this exciting sport,” said FAI President Robert Henderson.
The 2019 FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final will be held at a dedicated drone-racing track, built especially for the competition in Xiangshan Ningbo, a coastal city in the southeast of China about 300km from Shanghai.
At 630m long and 4m wide, the track will be divided into three layers. With the ground as baseline, the second layer will be 3.5m high and the third layer at 6m. There will be 14 different kinds of obstacles and 25 flags, including bridges and tunnels.
Competitors will race their drones around the track at up to 180km/h in a series of heats, navigating the course and flying their drones using a first-person-view video headset.
Some 108 drone-racing pilots from 27 nations are expected to take part – including 23 juniors and 13 women.
As well as the pilots, 125 other team members will also take part. Each competitor is also allowed one supporter, and national teams are allowed a team manager.
FAI medals and prize money will be awarded in Overall, Women, Junior and Nation categories. The total prize pot is $125,000.
China has hosted the FAI World Drone Racing Championship three years in a row. The location of the 2020 edition will be announced soon.
Drone pilots can qualify for the 2019 FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final 2019 in four ways.
1. Placing in the top 16 of the 2019 FAI Drone Racing World Cup rankings.
2. Winning a 2019 Drone Racing Challenger World Cup Series event, held throughout the year.
3. Winning a podium place at the FAI Jeonju World Drone Masters in South Korea, held November 1-3, 2019
4. Through selection as part of their national team. A national team can include a maximum of five pilots (faidroneworld.aero).
FAI, the World Air Sports Federation is the world governing body for air sports and for certifying world aviation and space records. The FAI was founded in 1905 and is a non-governmental and non-profit-making organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
FAI activities include aerobatics, aeromodelling, airships, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, balloons, drones, gliding, hang gliding, helicopters, manpowered flying, microlights, parachuting, paragliding, paramotors, power flying and all other aeronautic activities and space records (www.fai.org).