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Drone racing returns to SUNY Poly

14 drone pilots compete to see who's the top dog.

Posted: Sep 15, 2018 11:06 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2018 11:22 PM

UTICA, NY – They were racing under the lights at SUNY POLY’s Wildcat Field in Utica Saturday evening.

Drone racing.

It’s a relatively new, but rapidly growing sport where drone enthusiasts race their drones through a set course.

The pilots use special point-of-view goggles linked to cameras in the drones to assist them in flying.

14 pilots from around the state competed in the competition.

And the pilot to beat?

“Neon. Neon FPV. Jonny, the 12-year-old” says Sal Gentile, one of the competing pilots.

“It’s been amazing to watch his progression over the last 7 months. He went from a top pilot in the local scene to one of the top competing pilots in the whole United States.”

So how did 12-year-old Jonny Exner get into drone racing?

“My mom got me a drone or Christmas and it grew into drone racing. In about May or June I started flying the FPV racing drones, but I didn’t do my first race until September of 2017.”

As expected, Jonny was one of the top pilots, finishing 3rd in the competition.

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