Racing Drone Pilot Captures Dizzying Footage Over the Swiss Alps

Witness the work of Gabriel “Gab707” Kocher.

YouTube/ Gab707

It turns out the best possible use for a high-tech racing drone is flying it all the way up a mountain, because if you manage to get the thing back down, you can get some truly breathtaking footage.

Canadian drone pilot Gabriel “Gab707” Kocher — who also runs a popular racing drone YouTube account — recently risked one of his homemade high-speed racing drones (specs in the YouTube description) to get some dizzying daredevil footage over the Hübschhorn East ridge of Switzerland’s Simplon pass. Kocher was taking a substantial risk, because racing drones aren’t cheap, and his model was definitely on the more expensive side. It clearly has a high-definition camera mounted on it, and the racing speed means it can capture cinematic-quality footage racing over the ridge line. Racing drones are usually flown in first-person with a tiny camera in the front of the drone beaming back the drone’s view to a pilot wearing goggles. They use an analog antenna to send back the video feed, because digital transmission often lags, which is bad when you’re flying at more than 80 miles per hour.

In this photo posted on his Flickr account, Kocher appears at work flying his drone in the mountains.


The incredible part here is that Kocher was willing to risk his drone flying over some completely inaccessible terrain — if he went down or his feed cut out over the ridge line, he’d have to say goodbye to all that footage and a pricey drone.

The result is an amazing, sweeping shot that one redditor points out was pretty much identical to the opening shots of Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers. The drone’s speed lets him get aerial footage that’s totally different from most drone footage, like the shots of Apple’s new campus, which is relatively sedated. Instead, it looks almost cinematic, like the aerial shots filmed from planes and helicopters in many films.

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