31 Aug 2018

A marathon in 56 minutes - Copterproject team wins Dronathon

A unique marathon event took place in Berlin on 26 August 2018 – not for runners, but drones.

Teams from across Europe came together to participate in the third DroneMasters Dronathon, the only marathon for industrial drones. 

The pilots navigated the drones – which had to be built for applications in industry – around a horseracing track in Berlin-Karlshorst 30 times in order to achieve the classic marathon distance of 42.195km.

Officials from the FAI were present.

The winners were a team from Hamburg (GER) from Copterproject, a company that specialises in drones for professional photography. Haydar Biyik was the team's pilot who flew the drone around the course in 56:41 minutes, beating seven other teams to get to the top spot. 

Biyik was presented with a special award recognising the flight by FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel at the FAI International Drones Conference and Expo on Friday 31 August.

Accepting the exceptional air sports performance award Biyik said: “The Dronathon motivates me as an engineer to push the limits to show that drones can do more - they can fly longer, further and faster. That is why I did this competition. Thank you!”

Susanne Schödel said: “The Dronathon shows what drone competition can be all about. The FAI has been keeping air sports records for a century and we are just embarking on this journey with drones. I can give you an exceptional air sports performance award for flying the marathon distance with a multicopter. Congratulations!”

The timing of the Dronathon was organised by the German Aero Club, using a traffic management system for unmanned aircraft, a cellular HookOnDevice provided by German air traffic control and Deutsche Telekom AG, in which the drones’ positions were transmitted via the mobile network and displayed on the dashboard for referees.

The Dronathon took place at the Dronemasters Convention on Sunday 26th August and included a Junior Cup, in which youngsters raced drones that they had built during the Dronemasters Junior Academy summer programme.

Other demonstrations during the event included air displays, drone rescue systems, a tracking challenge and FPV Freestyle and Racing, with an unusual highlight: a flying bathtub! The bizarre interpretation of a passenger drone was the result of a project by German youtubers ‘The Real Life Guys’.

Thomas Jarzombek, Coordinator for Aerospace of the Federal Government honoured all winners of the Dronathon in Berlin, commenting: "The Dronathon stands for fair sporting competition, but also for the courage to innovate. Innovation is the foundation of our economic success.”

Credit: FAI/Marcus King; Dronemasters