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“We got to see [a drone race] firsthand, and we fell in love with it,” Geraghty said. “We’d had some experience with them, we’d seen them built, and we’d seen them flown, but it wasn’t until we saw them racing that we really took an interest in it.”

Scheduled to take place from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. Apr. 2 at the Dulles SportsPlex in Sterling, Va., the event will feature two open registration races, one for individuals and one for teams, as well as a floor show with companies and retailers offering their products or services, a demonstration area where attendees can look at drones up close, and a viewing experience for people who want to see what it’s like to be a drone racer.

Racers, or pilots, wear goggles that use virtual reality technology to allow them to see what their drones see. They then use remote controls to navigate their drones, which can reach up to 80 miles per hour, through courses with obstacles and sharp turns.

July 2015 marked the launch of the Drone Racing League (DRL), which “combines world-class pilots, iconic locations, and proprietary technology to create engaging drone racing content with mass appeal”, according to the organization’s website. DRL has planned a race series that started with a preseason in Yonkers, N.Y., and qualifying rounds in Miami, Fla., at the end of February before culminating in a world championship later this year.

The winners of Drone Racers and Rugged Sky Media’s Race X on Apr. 2 will qualify for a spot in the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, which take place in early August in New York City and offers $50,000 in cash and prizes. The national championship winner will then compete for $200,000 at the world championships in Hawaii.

The U.S. is only just starting to explore civilian usage of drones, according to Geraghty, but they have a wide range of potential applications, from delivering pizza or monitoring agricultural crops to conducting medical operations and assisting in rescue efforts during natural disasters.

“The truth is the technology to really do those things that people are talking about, it’s not there,” Geraghty said. “There’s a potential for bad use with drones, but the same potential exists in any technology that we have today. In the right hands, they can be used for really good things.”

Organizations like the D.C. Drone Users Group, a local community for both amateur and professional users, will be on hand to answer questions, and visitors can learn about the technology behind drones and how to build them from experts in the field.

“We wanted to open this up to the public and really get them involved with it so they can see firsthand exactly what goes on,” Geraghty said. “We’re hoping that this will spawn not only an interest in, but also a more open mind towards drones and drone racing.”

Drone Racers and Rugged Sky Media are taking all possible safety precautions for the race and show, Geraghty says. Nets will separate spectators from the races and demonstrations, and security guards will be posted around the arena to stop people from coming onto the racing field.

Ultimately, everyone involved wants the FPV Race and Floor Show to be the best possible showcase of drone racing and technology. They even invited FAA, local government and Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) to attend, though they don’t know whether any of them will show up yet.