Hannibal News

Drone racing competition slated for Saturday and Sunday on HLG campus

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 18, 2019 12:01 am

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Drones flying close to 90 mph will be featured at the inaugural Bill Lear Innovator's Cup Drone Racing Finals this Saturday and Sunday in Hannibal.

The event is part of the city's yearlong slate of activities celebrating the 200th anniversary of Hannibal's founding.

A press release from the Hannibal Bicentennial Committee said the drone racing will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday outside the Mabee Sports Complex on the campus of Hannibal LaGrange University.

The finals are slated to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The event is free for spectators. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and watch expert drone racers compete for a chance to win part of a $6,000 prize purse.

The Bicentennial Committee said Paul Nurkkala of Indianapolis, the reigning Drone Racing League (DRL) world champion, is scheduled to take part in the competition.

Nurkkala -- or Nurk as he is known in the racing field -- will be joined in the event by Patrick White, the reigning 2019 collegiate drone racing champion.

"With over 2 million fans of DRL on social media, this event is an opportunity for the Hannibal community to see why drone racing has become such a phenomenon," the committee said in its press release.

"Blending the real and the digital, racers use first person view (FPV) as they race their drones upwards of 90 mph through special gates and courses set up to challenge the racer's talents."

The Bill Lear Innovator's Cup Drone Racing Finals is named for Hannibal native William "Bill" Lear, an automotive and aviation inventor and innovator.

Lear, who was born in Hannibal in 1902, received international acclaim for a series of inventions, including aircraft radio, navigation and autopilot systems. But his best-known product was the Learjet -- one of the world's most successful corporate jets.

Lear was known for patenting more than 150 inventions during his career, including the 8-track tape player.

The airstrip at Hannibal Regional Airport was named William P. Lear Field in his honor in 2003.

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