A micro drone race will be held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Saturday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Micro-drones will take to the (indoor) skies at USAF Museum

Fast-flying micro-drones will take to the indoor skies at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Saturday, racing at high speeds within the museum’s second building for all to see.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see fast flying micro machines as 40 pilots maneuver their drones over, under, around and through C-124 and F-82 aircraft during a micro drone race, the museum said.

Registered drone pilots will begin practicing at 9 a.m. and then race in a series of two-minute heats with four drones in each heat from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spectators will be able to watch the race along the course, as well as from a large screen that will show the drones’ perspective as they are racing, the museum said in a statement.

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From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors will also be able to experience flying a drone with computer-based simulators from the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), the museum’s Education Division and the Drone Racing League, a global, professional drone racing circuit. Visitors can then fly a real drone in two designated areas, the museum said.

A map of the event area is available at: https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Portals/7/Course%20Map_1.pdf

In a release announcing the event, the museum emphasized that drone pilots in the race have pre-registered to participate and registration has closed. Also, the flying of small Unmanned Aerial Systems on museum grounds remains prohibited, the museum said. This includes drones and model remote control aircraft. Only pre-approved drones participating in this event are permitted to fly inside the museum’s second building, the museum said.

In addition, AFRL’s “SkyVision” air traffic control center for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will be parked near the museum’s entrance and will showcase its capability to fly drones in beyond-visual-line-of-sight mode.

Developed by AFRL and Ohio government, the system provides drone pilots with knowledge of where other aircraft are flying in nearby airspace so they can perform without the use of ground-based visual observers or chase aircraft.

The museum is the world’s largest military aviation museum. The museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles, missiles and thousands of artifacts on more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space, drawing more than 800,000 visitors from around the world yearly.

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