RotorJackets Win Collegiate Drone Racing Championship

The RotorJackets, a Georgia Tech student drone racing team, recently placed first in the Collegiate Drone Racing Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The competition was hosted by the University of North Dakota. The team took three students to the championship, fielding a team for the first time since 2017.

“We practice for big races like this every weekend in the Burger Bowl, and put in countless hours in our simulator,” said Tanner Beard, a mechanical engineering major and vice president of racing for RotorJackets. The simulator, called Velocidrone, is run on participants’ personal computers with their controllers.

Beard was joined at the Drone Racing Championship by teammates Matt Kelsey, a computer science major; and Luke Lawver, an aerospace engineering major; with contributions from teammate Jordan Moss, an electrical engineering major. Beard also recently competed in the International Open drone race, representing RotorJackets and finishing 17th in the world.

During the academic year, RotorJackets host weekly events both in person and online and have weekend signup times for students to practice flying drones. Once a month they meet in the Invention Studio to build, repair, and troubleshoot their devices. The group also works with local schools to teach K-12 students about drones, drone racing, and drone applications.

Though the group isn’t meeting during the summer, students can still learn more about the club at or by joining the group’s discord.

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Kristen Bailey

Institute Communications