From a young age, sophomore Alex Zugazagoitia has enjoyed learning about how things work. He, like a lot of children, played with Legos. These Legos sparked what would be the beginning of Alex’s love for building things with his own hands.
Zugazagoitia is specifically fascinated by drones. He’s been playing with remote control planes since he was ten, and when he saw that the First Person View (FPV) drone with goggles was released in early 2015, he decided he wanted to fly drones.
“I always wanted to fly [an FPV drone],” Zugazagoitia said. “It’s like you’re in a plane.”
More and more people were getting involved in drone racing, and early in 2015, Zugazagoitia decided he wanted to jump into the mix. He began to buy drone parts from various online sites, and after a month, he had acquired all the parts he needed. Later, he got to do what he loved – put the drone together. Drones are also sold pre-assembled, but Zugazagoitia preferred to make it himself.
“All of the [drones] that you can buy really aren’t that good,” Zugazagoitia said. “It’s like building your own race car versus just buying a generic car and racing it,”
Zugazagoitia was ready. He had his handmade drone, and he was proud of it. He wanted to see how his drone sized up against the others; he was ready to show what he could do. The problem was that there wasn’t an organized way to race other people yet. He knew there had to be other people in Kansas City who were racing, but he didn’t know how many there were.
Allen Toumberlain, a friend of Zugazagoitia, who he used to race with, started a Facebook page called Kansas City FPV. Zugazagoitia posted information about the league, and people started joining rapidly. The league, which Zugazagoitia helped to create, now has over 40 members and is open to anyone. Zugazagoitia is the youngest in the club by a couple of years.
“I’d love to see more people join, and I’d love to see more young people get involved,” Zugazagoitia said. “I don’t feel left out, don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice to have some people around my age.”