'It's challenging': Professional drone racing set for Milwaukee return, kids get the chance to fly

’It’s challenging’: Professional drone racing set for Milwaukee return, kids get the chance to fly

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Professional drone racing will be making its return to the Pettit National Ice Center April 29 and 30 for the second annual Ice Storm Drone Racing Competition.

"We are partnering with the largest drone racing league on the planet, MultiGP," explained Monica Van Aken, head of the Milwaukee Montessori School, co-organizers of the event with MultiGP. "This year is a bigger event. It's a better event. We have 70 drone pilots coming from all over the world, including multiple states here in the United States."

Some of the professional pilots competing at the event in 2023 will be 19-year-old Minchan Kim. From South Korea, Kim is recognized as the fasted drone pilot on the world. 2019 Drone Racing League World Champion Alex Vanover will also be competing, as will pilots Armando Gallegos, Mason Lively and Christian VanSloun.

"I love this race. It draws all the major pilots globally," explained professional pilot and Waukesha native Brian Melton. "It's going to be a spectacle."

Racing will start Saturday, April 29 at 9 a.m., featuring amateur and school team races. Open Class qualifying will last from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. As for Sunday, the amateur and school racing will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Open Class races starting at 2:30 p.m. Tickets to the competition are $10 per day or $18 for a two-day pass. Kids 5 and under are free.

Saif Gillani is an 8th grader at Milwaukee Montessori School and will be one of the student pilots competing in this year's event. He's excited to show the skills he and his classmates have practicing.

"It's challenging, but you kind of have to push through it," Gillani said, explaining drone racing. "Sometimes when we're working for two hours straight on one problem, it angers you a big you get triggered. It's fun though, at the end, because then you get to fly and that's a nice reward."

Melton says he's happy to see kids getting the opportunities to build and fly drones at such a young age.

"I really like what the school is doing here because this program combines engineering, 3-D printing, electronics software, science, the science of racing," Melton said. "I really think it's great for kids to learn things that can be applied in the real world in a really fun way."

Tickets to the 2nd annual Ice Storm Drone Racing Competition can be purchased in advance online HERE or at the door.

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