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Written by Matt Ruddick
The Deal With Drones
As seen in the June 2019 issue of
Model Aviation.

although the competition was tough
Although the competition was tough, the excitement at the 2018 IO was contagious among all of the pilots.


2018 MultiGP International Open - Model Aviation magazine

WITH SUMMER IN FULL swing, the world of drone racing is gearing up for its biggest event of the year. The International Aeromodeling Center (IAC) in Muncie, Indiana, will again play host to the third annual MultiGP International Open (IO).

More than 300 registered pilots are expected to gather at the Team Blacksheep-sponsored event on June 26-30, where they will be able to compete at nine different courses throughout five days. All of the pilots’ favorite courses will be returning this year, including the rookie and intermediate courses, the freestyle area, and the FPV wing track. Additionally, the people from Tiny Whoop will be on hand with their creative track layout for pilots to once again navigate each night and well into the wee hours of the morning.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games when it comes to the IO. The competition is tough at the World Cup track. The World Cup course will again have a twin track on-site so that pilots have even more opportunities to get some practice time in and be prepared for Saturday night’s World Cup Finals.

The fastest 64 pilots to qualify will battle it out under the lights to take home the IO’s top prize. Last year, Evan Turner was able to hold off the competition and take home the first-place trophy, which was a precursor to his eventual win at the MultiGP National Championship, held February 7-10 in Las Vegas.

As I write this, much of the IO schedule is still yet to be released; however, one announcement that has been made is the return of giant drones. Last year, one of the most popular attractions was the inclusion of X-Class drone racing. This year, MultiGP has introduced its Mega Class with new specifications in which racers can compete. These 800 mm- to 1,050 mm-size drones will be sure to draw a crowd again because it’s hard to not be in awe of them screaming through the air.

the 2018 multigp io brought top pilots from across
The 2018 MultiGP IO brought top pilots from across the country to compete for four days at the IAC in Muncie IN.

evan headsupfpv turner took home the top
Evan "HeadsUpFPV" Turner took home the top prize in last year’s World Cup and SPEC Class events.

its not all about racing the freestyle course
It’s not all about racing. The Freestyle course was set up for those who were looking to relax and fly without the burden of needing a good finish.

kele stanley watches as a tiny whoop racer flies
Kele Stanley watches as a Tiny Whoop racer flies by during the late-night Tiny Whoop races.

the world cup finals lasted well into the night in 2018
The World Cup finals lasted well into the night in 2018, but MultiGP founder, Chris Thomas, and executive vice president of race productions, Joe Scully, called the action until the end.

Team racing will also return this year. This is a high-energy endurance competition that features pilot changes and pit stops. Wing racing will return with a SPEC Class and an Open Class and will be competing on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Bringing wing racing back each year shows that MultiGP wants to offer something for everyone, even if you’re not a fan of drones.

The FAI team selection will take place on the final morning of the event. Building off of the success of last year’s team selection, it’s expected that even more top pilots will attempt to secure a place on Team USA for the 2019 FAI Drone Racing World Cup championship, currently scheduled for late November.

Having seen the previous IO events, it’s easy for me to discuss how much excitement and fun can be had when you get this group of pilots in one place. Even the most serious of competitors walk off of the flightline with smiles after every heat because they know they’re competing with their friends, and their friends are the best in the world.

Day after day, everyone in attendance puts everything they have into each flight, yet they still find the strength to charge up and fly again, knowing that they can’t miss out on being a part of one of the greatest events in FPV.



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