RACING NSW ARTICLE IN SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Racing NSW stewards are hoping to use a drone to provide overhead video footage, usually only available during carnival time, at every meeting within a year. Racing NSW deputy chairman of stewards Marc Van Gestel has been working on the project for several months and a drone, operated by Uaviation, was used at a recent set of Rosehill barrier trials, delivering incredible results. Approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the main sticking point before the system can be introduced.
The helicopter shot used at carnivals gives a great indication where horses are in running and has sunk many jockeys’ defence of careless riding charges. It has been too expensive to use at all meetings, however the drone makes it feasible to be introduced at every event.
“The camera in the drone is highest HD quality and can be time-coded like all the vision of races,” Van Gestel said. “It is very clear and because it only flies 30 or 40 metres above the field it is actually a better shot than the chopper.
“The drone follows the field and the riders didn’t even know it was there when we trialled it. The [overhead] shot is a great tool for stewards and if this works it could be used at country as well as city tracks and add to the safety of those meetings.
“We have to work with CASA and put in flight plans, which is the main part of the detail. We will continue to use it at barrier trials to make sure we are getting the right footage before using it on raceday.”