Drone racing lifts off in Mandurah

Madora Bay’s Dorothy Coote Reserve has been turned into an air-field over the past four months with the take off of drone racing.

The reserve has recently become home to the West Coast Multirotor Club, which races drones known more popularly as quads.

The small aircrafts, equipped with cameras and tracking technology, race circuits around the park reaching speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour.

Racing at the field began in December but the club faced a number of legal hurdles before it was able to get off the ground.

“We joined the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia and the Aeronautical Western Australia, but we also had to get permission from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the City of Mandurah as well,” club president Terry Johnson said.

“I also went and knocked on the doors of neighbours close to the ground just to make sure they were aware of it.

“People can get a bit of a negative view on drones so these are just the sort of things you need to do.”

But despite having to fly through hoops for permits, the club is now in full swing with almost 30 racers having signed up across both A and B-grade.

Johnson, who along with vice president Lucas Burnett has been racing drones for almost three years, said the club was open to pilots of all levels of experience.

“Some other clubs only allow people to race if they’re professionals, because beginners might crash out or mess up their circuits, but we’re happy for anyone to come have a go as long as they have the right gear,” he said.

“It’s a young club but the people make it great.”

Drone racing has made its way to Mandurah. Photo: Justin Rake.

Drone racing has made its way to Mandurah. Photo: Justin Rake.

The races pit four pilots against each other as they take on the circuit. Each dons a pair of goggles that allow them to view the flight path of their quad.

“It’s pretty intricate and there’s a lot of gear involved, but once you have your first few goes it’s actually really easy to get the hang of,” Johnson said.

The West Coast Multirotor Club is also home to Australia’s best pilot.

James Basell finished with the number one ranking at last year’s national titles, and is currently leading the club’s Buzz Hobbies Cup.

Madora Bay will also host the state qualifier set to be held in May this year.

For more information or to join the club, call Terry Johnson on 0412 428 273 or visit the West Coast Multirotor Club Facebook page.