A member of the CSU Drone Center operates the “Dragonfish” from Autel Robotics at Christman Airfield in September 2022.
(Photo by John Cline | Office of Vice President for Research)
Colorado State University is set to host a first-of-its-kind drone airshow at Christman Airfield in Fort Collins this coming fall.
The Colorado Drone Airshow is scheduled to launch as an inaugural event Oct. 6-7. Over the course of the two-day event, attendees will be treated to a host of activities.
The first day of the airshow, deemed “industry day,” will highlight new technologies created by manufacturers and researchers who are developing unmanned aircraft systems. The second day of the airshow is “community day,” where the public is invited to enjoy drone racing, demonstrations, food trucks, and check out drone technology vendors. CSU research utilizing unpiloted aerial vehicles will also be featured.
Registration for the Colorado Drone Airshow is now open and can be found at coloradodroneshow.colostate.edu. Community day is free to attend, and the public is requested to pre-register to help organizers better plan. All drone industry researchers, first responders, and educators are invited to become part of or attend the drone airshow on Industry day; pricing varies depending on level of involvement.
The idea for the airshow stemmed from a flyover hosted in January 2022 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the passing and life of Bert Christman, a World War II pilot and namesake of the Christman Airfield, said Christopher Roberston, director of the CSU Drone Center and the organizer behind the airshow.
“We put (an announcement about the flyover) out into the public through SOURCE and The Coloradoan, and we had about 300 people show up,” Robertson said. The public’s reaction to a small-scale event at the airfield led Robertson down the path to the idea of a larger, national, event around drones at the airfield.
In hosting the airshow at CSU, the university gains an opportunity to highlight the unique space of the airfield and the technology of the Drone Center. The airstrip is located at 3985 Laporte Ave., Fort Collins.
“This first-of-its-kind event follows our support of a new core research facility to explore the science and application of drones,” said Alan Rudolph, CSU’s vice president for research. “It will be an exciting way to engage the public on our work and the potential for broad applications in agriculture, climate and autonomous navigation.”
The CSU Drone Center was established in 2018 and is supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Walter Scott Jr., College of Engineering. The center serves the university’s research efforts by providing access and training to drone equipment for use in internal and external research.
“We’ve been very pleased with the extraordinary growth of the CSU Drone Center’s activities, including on-campus research support and educational activities, government and industry collaborations that have created exciting student opportunities, and outreach to the public and to K-12 audiences,” said University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis, who helped establish the drone center to benefit researchers across campus.
Kreidenweis said Roberston has established CSU as a Colorado leader in unmanned aircraft systems education and applications by leveraging the unique asset of CSU’s Christman Field.
“The airshow will be a wonderful opportunity for an even broader audience to learn about the many creative ways that drone technologies are being applied, including contributing to sustainability goals in many sectors,” Kreidenweis said.
Robertson said he hopes the airshow will return every year and will put CSU on the map within the aerospace industry.
The Colorado Drone Airshow is currently seeking sponsors to collaborate with CSU and be recognized at the Colorado Drone Airshow. Details are available here.