An Australian man has blitzed an international drone racing competition taking out first prize in three events to bring home more than $15,000 in prize money.
Chad Nowak from Brisbane won the freestyle, team and individual champion races at the inaugural US National Drone Racing Championships in California last week.
The competition featured FPV racing (first person view), in which competitors wear goggles to give them a drones-eye perspective, as they clock speeds of more than 60 kilometres per hour.
Nowak told Lateline he is still in shock over his victory.
“I’m still in a bit of disbelief. I went there to have fun so to win everything, I’m gobsmacked,” he said.
On day one of the American competition, he lagged at sixth place during the time trials but quickly caught up to win the semi-finals and take out the championships.
Last month Lateline caught up with Nowak at a race meet in an abandoned warehouse on Melbourne’s outskirts.
He said entering the competition was an experience of a lifetime.
“Do I think I’m fast? Yes. Do I think I’m the underdog? Yes,” he said.
“I’m going over there to have fun, to meet lots of friends that I know on forums and if I do well then it’s a bonus.”
Nowak’s supporters have hailed his win as an important victory in recognising drone racing as a sport.
“[Chad] will go down in history as the world’s first champion drone racer,” Quadcopter Aerial Racing, Promotion & Organisation (QAROP) said.
“His time on the final race was 20 seconds ahead of second place, about one full lap ahead.
“Chad will be one to watch as this sport continues to grow.”