Action-packed Drone Expo Day set to take off in Carrickfergus

Fly drones, strap yourself into a helicopter simulator and race remote-controlled cars at an action-packed day of family fun in Carrickfergus.

The Drone Expo Day will showcase the very latest eye-in-the-sky crafts and promises to create a real buzz around the Co Antrim town.
The drones will touch down as some of the stars of the fun day organised by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Chairman of the council’s Economic Growth and Tourism Committee, Councillor Billy Ashe, said residents and visitors are set for a brilliant day of free entertainment on Saturday 1 April.

He said: “The events planned include everything from flying drones indoors to racing model cars.

“The helicopter simulator is another superb attraction and should prove hugely popular.There will be something for everyone to enjoy and we invite people from throughout the borough and across Northern Ireland to take part.”

Drone enthusiasts and complete novices alike are welcome to Carrickfergus Civic Centre to pit their skills against those of their peers. A special indoor flying zone will be set up and the opportunity offered to compete to win a microdrone.The time trial will test drone pilots’ abilities to the limit, challenging competitors to race their crafts around and through obstacles without crashing.
Members of the public will also be invited to get behind the controls of a helicopter simulator.

All aspects of flying a helicopter will be covered, with visitors given the choice of four models to experience. Mid Ulster Models, specialists in radio-controlled crafts, will be displaying a selection of fixed-wing model aircraft and advising on how people can get involved in the hobby. Outside, a purpose-built racetrack will host smaller carts for younger children and nitro-fuelled remote-controlled racing cars for the adults.

Visitors are invited to bring along their own model cars and race against others for a prize for the fastest lap of the day. A treasure hunt, radio broadcast, face painting, giveaways and retailers’ discounts are also planned.

The packed programme of free events will take place at Carrickfergus Civic Centre and town centre on Saturday 1 April from 1 pm to 5 pm. Kevin Howllete and James Baker of Island Remote Imaging Solutions (IRIS) will deliver a brief presentation on the advancements in drone usage including photography, safety, thermal imaging, medical use and search and rescue.

The popularity of drones — also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs — has soared in recent years, with many pilots using the equipment to see their cities, towns, and villages from a different perspective.Drones are also widely used by the emergency services, government bodies, photographers, and videographers.

The event is organised in conjunction with Shop Carrickfergus and the Department for Communities.