300 drones create aerial light show at Balloon Fiesta

Dawn Patrol is normally the first event each morning of the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. New this year, a drone light show welcomed spectators to kick off the 50th anniversary. Balloon Fiesta organizers went all out to celebrate the golden anniversary of the largest hot air balloon event in the world — by bringing in hundreds of drones. Watch moments from the drone light show in the video player above. Sister station KOAT spoke exclusively with Owen Schnieder, the chief pilot of Verge Aero, the company that designed the drone light show.”It’s pretty awesome to fly hundreds of robots in the sky and make pretty pictures,” Schnieder said.He said designing the drone light show isn’t as complicated as it looks. “Our whole philosophy with drone shows is that you shouldn’t need to be some computer genius or some expert in technology to be able to fly or create a drone show,” Schnieder said.The show is created on a timeline, similar to video editing. Video below: Chief pilot talks about designing the drone light show”Each drone has a predetermined flight path. It’s just following the line through the sky going to point A, to point B, to point C as it flies along,” Schnieder said.Three hundred drones were brought to Balloon Fiesta by Verge Aero, including some backups if some fail. Each drone has LED lights, four propellors and motors, and a GPS antenna.While hot air balloons are sensitive to weather conditions, drones can handle mother nature better. Video below: Couple ties the knot at Balloon Fiesta”We’re still able to fly the shows in some inclement weather conditions, even though when other things couldn’t go on. People could still see an awesome show,” Schnieder said.Even if the hot air balloons stay grounded, the drones can still fill the sky with all shapes and colors if the wind is below 15 mph wind gusts.

Dawn Patrol is normally the first event each morning of the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. New this year, a drone light show welcomed spectators to kick off the 50th anniversary.

Balloon Fiesta organizers went all out to celebrate the golden anniversary of the largest hot air balloon event in the world — by bringing in hundreds of drones.

Watch moments from the drone light show in the video player above.

Sister station KOAT spoke exclusively with Owen Schnieder, the chief pilot of Verge Aero, the company that designed the drone light show.

“It’s pretty awesome to fly hundreds of robots in the sky and make pretty pictures,” Schnieder said.

He said designing the drone light show isn’t as complicated as it looks.

“Our whole philosophy with drone shows is that you shouldn’t need to be some computer genius or some expert in technology to be able to fly or create a drone show,” Schnieder said.

The show is created on a timeline, similar to video editing.

Video below: Chief pilot talks about designing the drone light show

“Each drone has a predetermined flight path. It’s just following the line through the sky going to point A, to point B, to point C as it flies along,” Schnieder said.

Three hundred drones were brought to Balloon Fiesta by Verge Aero, including some backups if some fail. Each drone has LED lights, four propellors and motors, and a GPS antenna.

While hot air balloons are sensitive to weather conditions, drones can handle mother nature better.

Video below: Couple ties the knot at Balloon Fiesta

“We’re still able to fly the shows in some inclement weather conditions, even though when other things couldn’t go on. People could still see an awesome show,” Schnieder said.

Even if the hot air balloons stay grounded, the drones can still fill the sky with all shapes and colors if the wind is below 15 mph wind gusts.

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