MSOE to host first MultiGP drone racing event
MSOE’s Student Life will be hosting the Milwaukee Rotorcross in the university’s first MultiGP drone racing event from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Kern Center, 1245 N. Broadway. MultiGP is a global, professional, drone racing league with more than 1,000 chapters internationally. MSOE students are hoping to soon start their own team.
“This kind of club combines a sporting event’s excitement with the background knowledge gained while going to school here,” said Anthony Popowski, senior electrical engineering major. “Having something as exciting to watch as rotorcross with the added possibility of building your own drone brings a lot to the table.”
Popowski has been flying drones for about two years. He is currently piloting an Inductrix FPV, a ducted fan drone.
Milwaukee Rotorcross made its first visit to MSOE in December, when senior Matt Hughes, in his capacity as president of the MSOE Student Veterans Organization, invited the group to fly drones in the Kern Center for a veterans’ group event.
“It was a natural fit,” said Hughes. After the event he put out feelers to see if there was student interest in creating an MSOE team and the response was positive. “I already have over a dozen students who have signed up.”
Some, like Popowski, are seasoned pilots, but others are new to the sport. Senior electrical engineering major Jessica Bilskie piloted a drone for the first time at the team’s inaugural meeting.
“I showed up expecting to be covering logistics, but then the drones came out,” she said. “I was really not great at flying them at first but after a few hours of playing around and some help, I was able to control where I wanted it to go. I had so much fun.”
At the event Saturday MSOE students and seasoned professional drone pilots will be racing drones over the ice in the Kern Center. There will be two race classes: drones sized 2 inches or less and 5-inch drones, which can reach speeds over 100 mph in less than a second. MSOE students will be racing at 11:15 a.m. in the 2-inch class with Blade Inductrix FPV + drones that were donated to the team by Horizon Hobby.
“The drones will be flying through lighted gates and the drones themselves will have lights on them, making for quite the light show in the Kern Center,” Hughes said.
The first hour of the event will consist of practice rounds, allowing pilots to learn the track. Pilots will then race in heats of four in a bracket-style competition. Between heats, pilots will recharge batteries and repair drones if necessary. The first person view of each pilot will be streamed to monitors in the seating area of the Kern Center. The event will conclude with a medal ceremony. There will also be a raffle sponsored by the local MultiGP chapter Milwaukee Rotorcross.
Students interested in joining MSOE’s team are encouraged to come and learn more. For information, contact the Office of Student Life at (414) 277-7225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org