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UAS Challenge latest addition to National Championship Air Races

RENO, Nev. -- In addition to drone displays, National Championship Air Race fans can now fly UAVs this coming September.

"Incorporating UAS into the National Championship Reno Air Races has been a huge push for us," said Vice Chair of Sponsorships Mary Beth Sewald.

A new UAS Challenge is the latest event at the air races, where just about anyone can fly drones through a series of obstacles. Air race officials are partnering with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the event. "It can be anything from a little something from Radio Shack that somebody brings in or it can be something serious that’s home built specifically for it," said Assistant Professor David Thirtyacre.

University officials will help administer the challenge inside of a netted area attached to a hanger. "As far as the FAA is concerned, they do not have jurisdiction over what we are doing," said Thirtyacre. "They say, 'Yes, as long as it is inside the net, you guys can do what you want to do.'"

Embry-Riddle officials are also using the event for education purposes.

For the air races, this is yet another addition to an already-growing event. "Make it something that will be quite an unusual experience for any fan that wants to come out," said Sewald. "From the P-51 and racing along the pylons all the way up to the newest in unmanned aerial technology, it will really be something to see."

Air race officials are now working with the FAA to fly drones amongst the pylons this year’s show as well.