BREAKING NEWS One person injured in Columbus shooting Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Drone Racing League Finals in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is looking to the future and with that comes a sport from the future. The Drone Racing League held the finals in the Middle Eastern country.

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 6:55 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 7:07 AM

With a flash of lights, the whirr of propellers and the odd crash, the race is over in the blink of an eye.

These are machines that travel from 0-80 miles per hour in under a second, their pilots requiring laser-sharp focus and rapid reflexes to navigate complex courses.

This is drone racing, a craze attracting pilots who want to be crowned Drone Racing League (DRL) world champion.

That title currently belongs to Jordan "Jet" Temkin, winner of the first two editions held in 2016 and 2017.

After winning the inaugural championship, the 26-year-old Colorado native earned a $100,000 contract to become the world's first professional drone pilot.

"It's just about being able to keep your act together," he explains matter-of-factly. "Be calm, relaxed, as well as just having fast reactions."

That is easier said than done with the added pressure of 3,000 screaming fans packed into the arena in the King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia for the 2018 Drone Racing League grand finale.

Millions more will have tuned in on television with this year's edition being broadcast in 90 countries around the world, on channels such as ESPN, Sky Sports and FOX Sports Asia.

The DRL estimate they reached more than 50 million global broadcast viewers in their first two seasons, but it's online where the league is really taking off.

Now with more than 115 million online views, it's there that Saudi Arabia's budding hopefuls were first captivated.

"I used to watch a lot of YouTube videos and I saw a lot of these drones being put into racing styles," Saudi pilot Abdulhadi Azouz tells CNN Sport. "And I said: 'Man, I need to get into this!'"

The pilots steer using joysticks while wearing specialized headsets which allow them to view the course from the cameras mounted on the drones.

Maneuvering through several colorfully lit gates on the course at over 80 miles per hour is hard enough in itself, but it's even more challenging with four other drones flying in close proximity. Crashes, unsurprisingly, happen.

The hope now is that the spectacle of the grand finale can inspire Saudi prospects to take the step up and become world champions.

"In Saudi Arabia it's a growing sport," says Nouf Al-Rakan, the CEO of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.

"To help increase the demand and at the same time teach our Saudi pilots, we thought of bringing this championship to Saudi Arabia."

With $100,000 up for grabs again in 2018, the pressure is on.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128097

Reported Deaths: 2264
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Starkville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather