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North American Drone Masters to be held at Erie County Fair

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Wed, May 15th 2019 05:50 pm

International sanctioned races, 1 of 3 ‘master’-level competitions in world during 2019

The Erie County Agricultural Society and No Limit FPV have reached an agreement with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and MultiGP to hold the first North American Drone Masters on Aug. 10-11. The event will take place during the Erie County Fair inside the Gusto Grandstand and will be a free event with paid admission to the Erie County Fair.

“Since the 1840s, the ‘need for speed’ has been part of the Erie County Fair experience,” said Fair Marketing Manager Marty Biniasz. “In the 1800s, it was harness racing that entertained fairgoers with days filled with trotters and pacers. Starting in the 1920s, the roar of gasoline-powered engines filled the grandstand as auto racing attracted tens of thousands to the ‘Hamburg Oval.’ Today, the ‘need for speed’ has returned to the Fairgrounds with the North American Drone Masters.”

This FAI-sanctioned race will be the first ever “masters”-level drone competition to be held in the region. It is part of the 2019 Masters Series of drone races. As an FAI-sanctioned event, this exclusive race is expected to attract drone teams from across the world. This prestigious, world-class event will be one of only three “masters”-level races held in the world during 2019. Other races will be held in Barcelona and Seoul.

In addition to $10,000 in purse money, the top three pilots from the races held at the Erie County Fair will gain a spot at the 2019 FAI World Championship Grand Final in China at the end of November.

“This is the future of high-tech, motorized spectator sports,” said Erie County Fair Manager and CEO Jessica Underberg. “Staging an event of this class and complexity has yet to be accomplished in the fair industry. With the inaugural North American Drone Masters, we take great pride in being innovators in technology infused, drone-based entertainment.”

The race course track, to be constructed in-front of the grandstand seating, is being designed to included tight, hairpin curves and straightaways that will facilitate speeds of up to 80 mph. The track will be contained behind safety nets designed to keep drones in, and spectators at a safe distance. Pilots flying will be staged in front of the spectators with live video feeds from each of their drones so the crowd may follow along and experience the race with them. The excitement of the race will include commentary by Joe Scully, a globally known announcer of drone races and rodeos.

The North American Drone Masters will be held over two days with qualifying heats taking place between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. inside the County Fair’s infield area on Saturday, Aug. 10. The grand final is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, in the Gusto Grandstand.

Fairgoers looking to learn more about drones and the thrill of flying a model airplane will be able to explore the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ simulation simulator. The display will be located at I-Hub “STEM technology” center Aug. 7-9.

The 180th Erie County Fair will be held Aug. 7-18. Visit www.ECFair.org.

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