Ian Hemphill Heading To Europe For Int'l Drone Racing League 
Ian Hemphill

Ian Hemphill’s drone-flying skills are taking him places.

Perkins High School students are well aware of the sophomore’s abilities as a member of the Perkins drone team. Later this month, he will put those skills to the test against some of the best drone pilots in the world when he touches down in Cannes, France.

The Drone Champions League has invited the 200 highest ranked pilots to show off their skills at a draft event on Feb. 24-25. Currently, Ian – aka, SkyFall FPV, his call name – is ranked 32nd in the world. (The rankings change daily; click to see his current ranking.)

The international league's eight teams will evaluate Ian and other drone pilots on their flying skills and their personalities to compete in the Drone Champions League’s 2019 season.

“If they like me, they’ll make an offer,” Ian said. If a team wants him on their squad, they likely will offer money and benefits to land him, he explained. “It’s just like pro sports.”

Also, if Ian joins one of the teams, he will be going back and forth to Europe for races throughout the spring and summer with an opportunity to win prizes of 25,000 euros (that’s roughly $28,450) or more. His travel expenses also will be covered.

He already has enjoyed some of the perks of being "a pro" athlete, including apparel from sponsors and free equipment.

“At first, this didn’t seem like a big deal,” Ian says. “We’re finding out that it’s a lot bigger than we thought. … I’m getting pretty excited.”


And, rightfully so. Ian is on the brink of going pro with something he’s passionate about.


The Drone Champions League is the world’s first live, high-speed race series for drone pilot. The pilots race the high-speed drones through courses at speeds up to 160 kilometers per hour. For the draft event, Ian says he will will be flying both on simulators and in actual races against other pilots.

Ian Hemphill

(Photos courtesy of Ian Hemphill)
Posted by j_stacklin On 07 February, 2019 at 10:49 AM