A drone show with a festive theme earned itself a couple Guinness World Records just recently.
In the show put on by Dallas-based Sky Elements, well over a thousand multi-rotor copters took to the skies over North Richland Hills, Texas, entertaining a crowd of around 2,000 people.
Records achieved during the event included the largest aerial display of a fictional character formed by drones (inspired by the the holiday ballet The Nutcracker), and the largest aerial image formed by drones, in this case a 700-foot-tall Christmas tree in front of a window with snow falling outside.
Guinness World Records officials put the number of drones for both achievements at 1,499. The event was supposed to feature 1,500 drones, but one of them failed to launch.
The drones are equipped with LED lights and are preprogrammed to fly specific routes to create all of the different images in the sky. The footage in the video at the top of this page shows a broad view of the display, but also includes some neat cutaways where a camera-equipped drone flies straight through the animations.
Preston Ward, chief pilot of Sky Elements, said after the show: “It was so amazing to break two Guinness World Records in my hometown once again. There’s nothing better than bringing the holiday spirit to families, and I think this show did just that.”
With quadcopter technology constantly improving, and increasingly complex software able to program the drones’ movements, light shows like this have been growing in popularity.
But such displays can occasionally go awry. A performance by a different drone company last year, for example, saw 50 of the 500 drones simply drop out of the sky after some kind of malfunction, possibly linked to the GPS signal.
Still, a growing number of companies are getting into drone displays, presenting increasingly imaginative shows that offer an alternative to fireworks, which can pollute the air and even risk starting wildfires.