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Drones Take Flight

Hobbyists showed off their maneuvers ahead of Japan's first drone-flying competition next month. Operators conducted test flights at a race site near Tokyo.

The coming event is aimed at promoting the safe use of drones after a series of public disturbances involving the unmanned aircraft, including the landing of a drone on the roof of the Prime Minister's office in April.

Operators steered their little flying machines through an obstacle course using monitors receiving images from the drones' cameras. The tiny craft reached speeds near 60 kilometers per hour.

Organizer Akihiro Takahashi said "I want people to know how much fun and how useful drones are. At the same time, I hope people become more skillful at operating them and more knowledgeable about the risks."

Contenders in the race have to be licensed amateur radio operators, but audience members will also get a chance to try their hand.

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