RotorJackets Finish Third at Drone Racing Championship

Georgia Tech’s drone racing team finished among the top pilots at this year’s Collegiate Drone Racing Championship.
RotorJackets pose in front of their drones at the Collegiate Drone Racing Championship

The RotorJackets pose in front of their drones at the Collegiate Drone Racing Championship.

For the third straight year, the RotorJackets — Georgia Tech's drone racing team — were on the podium after the Collegiate Drone Racing Championship (CDRC). The two-time defending champions finished third in the competition, which drew more than 60 pilots from 16 schools nationwide.  

Ian Boraks, club president, called it a banner year for the RotorJackets, which was founded in 2020. All of the club's original members have graduated, but with a strong performance at the CRDC, Boraks believes the club has shown its staying power.  

"We called this our rebuilding year," he said. "This was the year that proved this club could survive. Going from two years of winning to third place may sound like a step back, but this was a tough year for our club, so I'm proud we were on the podium." 

The two-day event took place at Purdue University, the site of the first CDRC in 2017. Both the event and the sport of drone racing have grown exponentially since then, and the RotorJackets are embracing that growth. Along with additional sponsors and funding, the club's membership tripled in the past year to 30 pilots, and the team traveled to races across the East Coast.  

Boraks credits a collaborative relationship between the club, the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, the Georgia Tech Police Department, and the Federal Aviation Administration for its continued success. By securing an FAA-Recognized Identification Area over Stamps Field — allowing drones to be flown without remote ID equipment — the team can practice for competitions and hold events for the campus community to get hands-on flying experience. In the fall, they hope to host public races and showcase drone racing on campus.  

"I like to think of it as 3D Formula 1 racing," Boraks explained. "F-1 racing is the fastest, most exciting racing — high braking, high G-forces. In drone racing, you can take that exhilaration and thrill and add multiple layers with 3D elements in the air, and the drones are flying 100 miles per hour. It's some of the fastest, wildest racing you'll ever see, and most people are surprised that we can even keep track of what we're doing at those speeds. But as soon as you put on those goggles and see the drones, you understand the thrill of the race." 

Outside of competition, the RotorJackets have supported Georgia Tech Athletics, the Ramblin' Reck Club, the Unicycling Club, GT Off-Road, and the Alumni Association with video production efforts.  

As he hands the reins to Dylan Wyckoff, the incoming president, Boraks anticipates another busy year for the RotorJackets, and their sights are set on reclaiming their place atop the podium at the 2025 CDRC.  

To learn more or to join the RotorJackets, visit their website

Additional Media

A RotorJackets's hands the CDRC Trophy over to its "sister team" at Virginia Tech. The two teams often hold virtual practices together.