Attentive readers (as well as those who have identified the scroll bar to the right of the screen on their web browsers) will recall than when last we left off, Techinstein and I were waiting patiently at Gate C8 for our flight to depart for Los Angeles.
We nearly waited a very long time. You see, C8 had more to do with my seating assignment than it did with our departure gate. With only moments to spare, I discovered my error and we were off to Gate C15, where the terminal crew was waiting anxiously for us to appear.
After landing in LA and checking to see that our birds survived the trip, we rode the shuttle bus over to the rental car agency – then struggled for over an hour to find a mid-sized car big enough to fit our gigantic, oversized multirotor travel case.
After trying nearly every make and model on the lot, the Chevy Impala came out on top. The case didn't quite fit in its cavernous trunk, but we managed to improvise a tie-down using a Turnigy neck strap. Then, it was off to the First Annual Multirotor Challenge.
When I was just beginning my career as a newspaperman, an editor explained to me that there is no such thing as a “first annual” event – because, after all, you don't actually know for sure that there is going to be a “second annual” event and recurrence is a necessary prerequisite before anything can be called “annual.”
I don't think we've got anything to worry about in this case. In fact, I think next year's event is going to be huge by comparison – and this one already exceeded expectations. More than 50 pilots attended and participated in the various games and activities, there was a line of vendors that stretched the length of the Palomar RC Flyers' runway, and everywhere you turned someone was doing something innovative and exciting.
Also, this was a great group of folks – it felt like we were coming home to a place and a family that we had never known. There was an instant camaraderie that I think everyone experienced – a sort of unspoken understanding that we had all met and overcome the same obstacles and we all understood that we are on the cutting edge of something that will change the world.
People helped each other without ever being asked. One kind soul loaned us his generator to keep our batteries charged. Our new friends at DIYCopters.com gave us a cool new microquad frame as well as some MOLLE gear for Techinstein's sparsely populated vest, and the guys at Parallax gave us this sweet light control board which will fit in perfectly with another project we've got going.
In fact, there was so much good stuff that I couldn't pack it all into one video. My plan is to put together two more videos about this event: one focused on all the cool products and technology we saw, and the other one looking at the different competitions held over the weekend.
Thank you to everybody who made this event great and made us feel so welcome, and especially to Lucien Miller and his team at Innov8tive Designs and the wonderful members of the Palomar RC Flyers, who really went above and beyond to host this event.
We'll see you next year!