If you’re a (law abiding) drone hobbyist, it can be tough finding places to fly. Here’s some good news for those near Central Ohio.

Walnut Street Park is a small neighborhood park located near Hoover Dam in Westerville, OH. It’s a small park surrounded by a ring a mature trees and a great spot to practice flying. Open from dawn to dusk, the park tolerates drone enthusiasts and dog lovers.

Walnut Street Park has a unique layout and is essentially a giant field surrounded by wooded sections. Walking trails are dispersed throughout the wooded sections. While the walking trails are fine for a summertime stroll with the family dog, it’s the field that really stands out. The field’s around 900 ft long by 475 ft wide at its broadest points. With no airports within a 5 mile radius and sparse population nearby, it’s quiet and safe.

When I first got my drone, I practiced using drills.

Drilling is a boring, but effective way to understand the nuances of your drone’s controls. Flying backwards or making smooth turns can be challenging at first. Walnut Street Park is the perfect place to drill these exercises. The treeline around the field establishes natural boundaries, and the park is generally empty except certain weeknights. On those weeknights, the park transforms into a high speed mechanized race field.

Need For Speed

First person view (FPV) drone racing has exploded in popularity. ESPN even covers races with pots over a million bucks. For those who must go fast, FPV racing is a high tech (and safer)  alternative to street racing. Drone racing community enthusiasts often build racing drones that can exceed 100 MPH. These drones are paired with goggles worn by the pilot to “see” what the drone’s camera sees.

After a few outings at Walnut Street Park, I stumbled upon a race in progress.

If you’ve never seen drone racing in person, it’s a fun and novel event to watch. Many of the drones are built which results in a slew of crazy looking drones and DIY tech near the race field. It’s a lively scene with gas generators humming, tables filled with custom laptops, and the incessant buzzing of drones whizzing by at breakneck speeds.

If you’re looking for a chapter to join, check out MultiGP to find events at Walnut Street Park.