South Korea

South Korea

Top flight: South Korea's 18-year-old world drone champion

Top flight: South Korea's 18-year-old world drone champion

30/3/2021 10:51:00 AM

Top flight: South Korea 's 18-year-old world drone champion

HWASEONG, South Korea : In a South Korea n rice field, the teenage world drone-racing champion is preparing to defend his title in one of the ...

SportDrone pilots wear virtual-reality goggles that give them a drone's-eye view of the route. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)30 Mar 2021 03:42PMShare this contentBookmarkHWASEONG, South Korea: In a South Korean rice field, the teenage world drone-racing champion is preparing to defend his title in one of the planet's fastest and highest-tech sports.

Tighter COVID-19 measures important as Singapore is on a 'knife’s edge': Lawrence Wong 13 new community COVID-19 cases, including 7 linked to Changi Airport cluster Alleged racist attack: Racism, xenophobia will become normalised if Singapore is not careful, warns Shanmugam

But at all of 18 years old, Kang Chang-hyeon fears he is quickly passing his prime to compete at top flight levels.AdvertisementAdvertisementOn the starting signal, Kang and his three teammates send their craft buzzing furiously into the air and hurtling around an obstacle course set up on the bare earth in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.

The only human movement was the twitches of fingers on handsets, which the pilots use to control the aircraft while wearing virtual-reality goggles that give them a drone's-eye view of the route.Three laps and around one minute later, the race was over and the technical analysis began in a dedicated tent, with pilots, coaches, technicians and parents poring over flight data. headtopics.com

Like Formula One, drone-flying depends both on precision engineering and pilot skill.AdvertisementAdvertisementSouth Korean Kang Chang-hyeon, at age 16, took the world title at a 2019 championship in China. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)Racing drones are custom-built by competitors and their teams, and reach speeds of up to 170kmh. But races are so close, with timings measured in thousandth of a second.

And it is a young flyer's game.Lightning-fast reflexes, visual sharpness and hours of training are the key to success, according to Kang.AdvertisementHe says he is already facing physical decline as a new generation of younger rivals arrive, some of them still in primary school.

"Those qualities are the best in your early- to mid-teenage years," said the still pimply-faced pilot.Kang said his reflexes were"inevitably" slowing with each passing year, and he was not ruling out retirement before turning 20.South Korean Kang Chang-hyeon, 18, is a world drone-racing champion. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)

It will be"pretty tough to compete against them in my adult years," he said."I think I may not make it past this year."One 12-year-old girl already has him in her sights."When I first met Kang Chang-hyeon, I was in awe of him and it felt like a dream," said Jeong Ryeo-won, after taking part in a league round in the southern county of Hadong. headtopics.com

13 new community COVID-19 cases, including operating theatre technician at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital 25 new Covid-19 infections in Singapore, including 7 linked to Changi Airport T3 cleaner Covid-19: Infectious person spent 8 hours a day at MacPherson coffee shop from May 3 to 7

But now she"really wants" to beat him:"He is my role model, so I hope to compete against him at the world championships, but win."SPLIT SECONDOnly three years after first flying a toy drone, Kang, at age 16, took the world title at a 2019 championship in China, where South Korean pilots dominated.

"Maintaining composure is key to winning because a split-second decision can determine the outcome of a race," he said."Minimising your mistakes while staying calm regardless of who's ahead of you is critical."Racing drones reach speeds of up to 170mkh. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)

Kang's high school in rural Hongseong county has sought to capitalise on his success by promoting itself as a specialist drone school - with Kang as its ambassador - offering lessons in piloting to attract more pupils.But the COVID-19 pandemic deprived him of the chance to defend his crown at the peak of his abilities, when the Swiss-based Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world governing body for air sports, was forced to cancel the 2020 world championships.

"I could have competed really well last year," he said.MILITARY MISSIONLike other young South Korean men achieving global success, from pop stars BTS to Spurs striker Son Heung-min,compulsory military serviceweighs on his path.South Korea remains technically at war with nuclear-armed North Korea, and all able-bodied South Korean males must spend around 18 months in the forces before they turn 30. headtopics.com

Racing drones are custom-built by competitors and their teams. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)The only exceptions are for Olympic medallists and Asian Games champions, along with the winners of some international classical music competitions.But Kang's skills could be of"great value" for the armed forces, said his coach Kim Jae-hong, who led the national team at the 2019 world championships.

South Korea's 555,000-strong military is heavily outnumbered by North Korea's 1.28 million troops.But the South enjoys technological superiority including, according to the defence ministry, a fleet of about 800 drones for training and experimental combat purposes.

Food bloggers now banned from livestreaming binge eating in China, fines for those who waste food Police arrest man who allegedly used racial slurs, kicked woman in Choa Chu Kang KFC S’pore Launching Fried Chicken ‘Popsicles’ In Mala & BBQ Cheese Flavours

"The drone units' monitoring mission is basically based on controlling a drone with a camera live feed, which is the same for drone racing," the coach said."Kang and other racers can contribute greatly to its mission while maintaining their drone-control skills."

Read more: CNA »

Singapore sees ‘several important lessons’ from Tan Tock Seng Hospital COVID-19 cluster

SINGAPORE: Singapore has learnt 'several important lessons' from the COVID-19 cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), among them - that the ...

I first had doubts when I registered and invested money in forex trade with marydamron142 but finally I find it real and legit after i was able to withdraw my profit into my bitcoin wallet in just 7 days after my trade expiration. Thank you Ms marydamron142

China, South Korea vow cooperation on North Korea after top diplomat meeting: ReportSEOUL: China and South Korea vowed to work together to address problems on the Korean Peninsula, the Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday (Apr 3). We hated you Mr china (covid maker) ,get out from our nation ,and also don't disturb our revolution ,if you still support evil janta ,we will break out your property pipe line or business PRC been extremely worried about their pipeline in Myanmar. Let me tell you on behalf of our people. We rather let our country a failed state and destroy all your interests. We have nothing to lose anymore! ASEAN UN Reuters CNN BBCBreaking CrphMyanmar

South Korea proposes co-hosting 2032 Olympics with North Korea - Seoul authorities South Korea n capital Seoul said on Thursday that it has sent a proposal for co-hosting the 2032 Olympics with the North's Pyongyang to the ... Will North Korea still suffer from poverty 10 years from now..?🧐 Fantastic idea Nuclear Olympics ?

Biden aide to meet Japan, South Korea on next steps on North KoreaTop security officials of the United States, Japan and South Korea will meet on Friday (Apr 2) to discuss next steps on North Korea as President ...

North Korea drops out of Tokyo Olympics citing COVID-19, dashing South Korea hopesSEOUL: North Korea will not join the Tokyo Olympics this year due to COVID-19 concerns, the country's sports ministry said on Tuesday (Apr 6), ...

US, Japan, South Korea pledge cooperation on North KoreaThe United States, South Korea and Japan pledged Wednesday to cooperate on North Korea as their top diplomats met in London, coming together ...