drl drone event organizer racing league

DRL gets FAA approval as official drone event organizer

When it comes to government approvals to fly drones, you can get apply for waivers to fly drones beyond line of sight. You can get a drone pilot’s license. And now, there’s a precedent to get approved as a drone event organizer.

Today, the Drone Racing League announced that it has been accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration as the nation’s first unmanned aircraft systems event organizer.

In addition to being named the U.S.’s first drone event organizer, DRL also announced that it would participate in the FAA’s Partnership for Safety Plan Program, in which it will help to establish a set of standardized safety protocols for future organizations that want to use drones for demonstrations, air shows, exhibitions and other live events. DRL is among the biggest event organizers in the world, and with its experience running drone races worldwide in high-profile places like museums, arenas and historical landmarks, will help weigh in on the process of developing and implementing drone event safety guidelines. 

The news comes less than a month out from what could be among the biggest drone races we’ve seen yet. DRL is set to host its DRL Algorand World Championship Season 2021-22 finale on Jan. 5, 2022 at a massive location: the Las Vegas Strip. More specifically, it’ll be an outdoor race course at the T-Mobile Arena, which is adjacent to the newly opened Park MGM Hotel. Since the event is free and open to the public (though you must register in advance) in a wide-open, easily accessible location, it could potentially draw massive crowds.

This is not the first time that drone event organizer DRL has worked with the FAA. Back in 2016, the racing organization worked with the White House Office of Science and Technology in a similar capacity to help develop standardized drone racing safety protocols, though that was specific to drone racing. It also participates in the Commercial Drone Alliance, which is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization led by key members of the commercial drone industry working on policy and advocacy to advance the drone industry.

DRL FPV drone racers
DRL racers at the 2019 DRL Allianz World Championship event at Chase Field. Image courtesy of DRL.

The Drone Racing League came onto the drone scene back in 2015 and has hosted races worldwide, including Allianz Field in Minnesota and the FedExForum in Tennessee. Since then, it has raised millions of investment dollars from investors including Hearst Ventures, Muse lead singer Matthew Bellamy and Miami Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross’s venture-capital firm RSE Ventures.

Also this year, DRL announced another big partnership with T-Mobile with the launch of its first-ever 5G DRL racing drone that allows the live streaming of high-definition racing footage. Shortly after, DRL released a drone racing mobile game that’s free for download in the iOS and Android app stores.

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