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Russian C-UAS Manufacturer JSC Vektor Unveils New Suppressor at World Defense Showt

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How to watch a drone light show in 2024

In 2023, I got the absolute privilege to see my first drone light show in person. In 2024, I hope to see many more — and I hope you do too. Drone light shows have become a thrilling phenomenon. And particularly as products like Verge Aero’s Composer software and the growth of companies making light show drones make drone light shows more ubiquitous, there’s a good chance you’ll see a drone light show in 2024.

Many drone light shows happen with little notice, but some are planned well in advance. I’ve been on the lookout for those ones that have been giving advance notice. With that, I’ve curated a list of some of the best, public drone light shows so you can make travel plans and see them for yourself.

This is hardly a comprehensive list of every drone light show happening in 2024. In fact, there are hundreds that take place in just a month. Instead, here I’ve specifically listed shows that are set to be either especially big, especially delightful, or especially easy to attend (e.g. they occur in a big tourism destination or as part of a broader festival that you’d likely want to head to).

So whether you’ve never seen a drone light show yet, or you’re ready to bask in another, here are some items to add to your calendar so you can witness your own, in-person drone light show in 2024:

Drone light shows in February 2024

Bradenton Area River Regatta

Date: Friday, February 16

Location: Green Bridge, Palmetto, Florida

How to watch: This drone show will kick off a weekend of powerboat racing and other festivities in a civic event that’s free to the public. The show will be put on by the folks at Sky Elements. Learn more about the Bradenton Area River Regatta drone show here.

New Baltimore Lions Winterfest

Date: Saturday, February 24

Location: New Baltimore, Maryland

How to watch: This drone show is set to be delightful because it’s centered around an entire festival — plus it’s for charity. The annual fundraising event will feature entertainment, food & beverage, merchandise, games, and activities, with proceeds supporting the New Baltimore Lions Club and its charities. The show is put on by Starlight Aerial Productions, which was founded in 2016 in southwestern Michigan.

Drone light shows in March 2024

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Date: Saturday and Sunday nights, from Friday, March 1 through Sunday, March 17

Location: Houston, Texas

How to watch: The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a massive, annual event that first launched in 1932. And 2024 marks the second time that drones are a part of it. Beyond drones, the event entails a massive number of festivities including a carnival, wine show, 5K and 10K race, downtown rodeo parade, trail ride and barbecue contest. Of course, the centerpiece is the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo.

The drone show will take place each Saturday and Sunday night during the Rodeo’s three-week event, scheduled for Feb. 27-March 17, 2024. The show will be put on by the folks at Sky Elements. Learn more about the rodeo’s drone show here.

Drone light shows in April 2024

Thunder Over Louisville

Date: Saturday, April 20

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

How to watch: This is a must-attend event for aviation enthusiasts, as it’s so much more than a drone show. Thunder Over Louisville is one of the top five air shows in the country, drawing an average of 625,000 people each year since 1997. The show is put on by Starlight Aerial Productions, which was founded in 2016 in southwestern Michigan.

Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville

Date: Saturday, April 25 through May 3

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

How to watch: Hang around Louisville even longer to participate in Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. The weeklong event is named for the supermarket chain and makes for a giant festival. Expect a week filled with concerts, food, a kids’ inflatable playground, midway rides and, yes, a nighty drone show. It’s put on once again by Starlight Aerial Productions, the same folks powering the Thunder Over Louisville show. Learn more about Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville here.

Drone light shows in May 2024

Port of Redwood City Drone Show

Date: Saturday, May 4

Location: Redwood City, California

How to watch: After a successful show last year where the Port of Redwood City and Open Sky Productions hosted a free maritime-themed drone show over the bay, there’s another event planned. There aren’t a ton of details yet, but last year’s version was a full community festival featuring a live band and food trucks.

Music Across America Drone & Light Show

Stone Mountain Park Music Across America Drone & Light Show
Photo courtesy of Stone Mountain Park

Date: Friday, May 24 (kickoff night), with shows on most nights through Aug. 24

Location: Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

How to watch: The Music Across America Drone & Light Show is a centerpiece of the theme park that’s located only minutes from downtown Atlanta. The 250 choreographed color-changing drones are synced to music and are accompanied by lasers, too.

Performances are held most nights between May 24 and August 24, though check the schedule to confirm a performance is scheduled on your intended day. Admission to see the drone show is included when you purchase an Attractions ticket, though you can also attend by purchasing a standalone ticket.  Learn more about the Stone Mountain Park drone show here.

Drone light shows in June 2024

Alameda County Fair

Photo courtesy of Alameda County Fairgrounds

Date: Friday, June 14 (kickoff night) through July 7 (most nights)

Location: Pleasanton, California

How to watch: The Alameda County Fair has used drones in past years, and the drone light show is set to return for the 2024 fair. The California fair features your usual classics like carnival rides, funnel cakes, horse racing and concerts. But the drone show is rather unique — and free with admission. It plays every night of the fair except July 4.

And though it’s visible all over the Fairgrounds, the best viewing is at the race track. If you’re not sure what days to visit, consider going on opening day (Friday, June 14) or Friday, July 28. On those two days, the drone show will be accompanied by fireworks. Learn more about the Alameda County Fair here.

Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration

Dollywood drone show 2024
Photo courtesy of Dollywood

Date: Saturday, June 15 (kickoff night) through Aug. 11

Location: Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

How to watch: Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration is a summer festival held at the Dollywood theme park. You’ll need a theme park ticket to enter, which grants you access to all the rides, plus bonus summer activities like a nighttime dance party beneath the Wildwood Grove tree and a bubble show. The highlight though, is a nightly drone show.

The celebration kicks off on June 15, but the drone show runs nightly through the duration of the festival, which runs through Aug. 11. Learn more about the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration here.

Drone light shows in July 2024

Luminous Long Sault Lumineux

Date: Saturday, July 6

Location: Long Sault, Ontario, Canada

How to watch: Long Sault is a community event that centers around a parade of kayaks, canoes, motor boats, and sailboats — all decorated with LED lights. But the lights aren’t contained to just the water. There’s also a drone light show involved.

Learn more about Long Sault here.

A’s Drone Light Show

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Date: Friday, July 19

Location: Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California

How to watch: You’ll need to purchase a ticket to the A’s game, which is being played against the Los Angeles Angels.  Following the baseball game, fans will be allowed to sit on the outfield grass to watch the drone show. The game begins at 6:40 p.m., but the drone show won’t start until the game is over.

If you’re really on a budget, you’ll be able to watch it from outside the stadium. If you park in the A’s lot, you’ll get hit with a $30 parking fee. Or, you could take BART (the region’s train system) in and walk over to the parking lot, where you’ll be able to see the show. Learn more about the A’s drone light show here.

Drone light shows in August 2024

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Date: Friday, August 2 

Location: Grand Haven, Michigan

How to watch: This massive event draws more than 350,000 people, ranging from people looking for a big picnic to high-ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington, D.C. 2024 marks 100 years of the annual event which began in 2024. To celebrate, Starlight Drone Shows will be putting on a drone light show. Learn more about the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival here.

A’s Drone Light Show

Date: Friday, August 23

Location: Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California

How to watch: You’ll need to purchase a ticket to the A’s game, which is being played against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Following the baseball game, fans will be allowed to sit on the outfield grass to watch the drone show. The game begins at 6:40 p.m., but the drone show won’t start until the game is over.

If you’re really on a budget, you’ll be able to watch this drone light show from outside the stadium. If you park in the A’s lot, you’ll get hit with a $30 parking fee. Or, you could take BART (the region’s train system) in and walk over to the parking lot, where you’ll be able to see the show. Learn more about the A’s drone light show here.

Drone light shows in September 2024

Disney Electrical Sky Parade (final night)

Disney Electrical Sky Parade

Date: Monday, September 30

Location: Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France

How to watch: You’ll need a Disney ticket to see this Disney drone show — and you’ll also have to head to France. The Disney Electrical Sky Parade is the latest in a series of drone shows that have occurred at Disneyland Park in France.

This one debuted in January 2024 and pays homage to the famous Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade — this time putting the iconic sparkling floats in drone form as they fly around the sky. Though I’ve noted this drone show in the September section, note that you can already see it as you’re reading this. It runs nightly through Sept. 30, 2024.

Drone light shows in October 2024

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival drone light show in 2024
Photo courtesy of Albuquerque International Balloon Festival

Date: Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

How to watch: While most drone shows happen at night to take advantage of the night time darkness, these drone shows will happen in the morning — albeit so early it’ll still be dark. The annual balloon fiesta is a site to see with all sorts of hot air balloons as well as entertainment like dancers and musicians. There are balloon races, balloon pin trading, and even other flight exhibitions like a kite show. And at 5:45 on both weekend mornings, there will be a drone light show.

Learn more about the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival here.

Other drone light shows in 2024

Keep in mind that the above list is not exhaustive, and new drone light shows are being announced all the time. I’ve also very likely overlooked the myriad of small drone shows that are becoming increasingly common. This list hones in on shows that someone might be more inclined to travel to, or that are otherwise quite easy to see, such as occurring in a big public place with free viewing.

And expect plenty of holiday time drone shows to be announced later this year. Since it’s so far out, I don’t expect to hear about those schedules for at least a few months. We’ll be updating this post with more shows as we learn of them.

By the way, if you’ve got a great drone light show recommendation that people should consider in 2024, do share it by leaving a comment below! And if you’re looking for 2024 drone events that aren’t just drone light shows (I’m talking conferences, expos and seminars), check out my guide to the best 2024 drone events to attend in the coming year.

The post How to watch a drone light show in 2024 appeared first on The Drone Girl.

BAE Systems Unveils T-650 Heavy Lift UAV for Rescue Operations at WDS 2024

BAE Systems has unveiled the T-650, an all-electric “heavy lift” Unmanned Air System (UAS), marking a breakthrough in rescue technology. This development represents a turning point in how casualties could be recovered and transported from the battlefield, providing a rapid and cost-effective response capability. BAE Systems’ Malloy Aeronautics team is working to explore opportunities to […]

Shift Robotics Unveiled Moonwalkers X at CES 2024

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Kim Jong Un Inspects Agricultural Drones at Farm Machine Expo

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These 2024 group vacations are bucket list trips for drone pilots

In 2024, you might book one (or more) drone group vacations. What are drone group vacations, exactly? In this context, it’s basically the ultimate travel experience for drone pilots. You show up (in a breathtaking location, of course) with your drone, and someone plans the rest — all the way down from where you’ll stay and how you get around. And yes, that even includes where you can safely and legally fly your drone.

Your drone group vacations planner is Johan Vandenhecke, a Belgium-based, award-winning aerial photographer. For the past few years, he’s made a career out of hosted guided tours with drone pilots in mind. That means you’re traveling the world with like-minded people (who are willing to stop on the side of the road and fly for the perfect aerial shot, and who are willing to wake up early to get that golden hour light).

2024 group vacations drone pilots
Photo courtesy of Johan Vandenhecke

Vandenhecke has just revealed his lineup of 2024 drone group vacations, and it’s got me ready to book airfare now. In fact, some of these drone photography trips are so popular, they’ve already sold out. Here’s the drone group vacation lineup for the next year:

  • March 2024 in South Africa: 5 days, 4 nights in a luxury safari camp (sold out)
  • April 2024 in Malta: 4 days, 3 nights in a luxury villa
  • May 2024 in Azores, Portugal: 7 days, 6 nights in a luxury villa
  • August 2024 in Iceland: 6 days, 5 nights in a 4×4 campervan
  • September 2024 in Mauritius: 7 days, 6 nights in a luxury villa
  • November 2024 in Socotra: 7 days, 6 nights in nomad tents

Some of the trips are basically replicas of trips Vandenhecke has hosted in year’s past. His trip to the island of Mauritius has been a perennial favorite, combining drone flying with outdoor adventures like sunset sailing, waterfall trail hiking and swimming with dolphins.

Photo courtesy of Johan Vandenhecke

Other highlights include a trip to the Azores, which is an archipelago  composed of nine volcanic islands in the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean. Like the Mauritius trip, that one’s a repeat of past years — perhaps unsurprising given how popular it’s been. In 2021, the group saw a pod of nine sperm whales, and in 2022 they saw a blue whale passing by and a big male sperm whale, who curiously meandered around the group’s boat for about 45 minutes.

Not all the trips are repeats though. For example, new this year is a drone safari trip in South Africa.

Photo courtesy of Johan Vandenhecke

Oh, and if you really want to plan ahead, Vandenhecke has one drone trip on the books so far for 2025. That’s a 6 day, 5 night journey in June 2025 to Madeira, an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean that’s considered an autonomous region of Portugal. And that one might just be the ultimate spot for drone pilots, given that in 2020 it was named ‘Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020’ at the World Travel Awards for its outdoor adventures.

Just know that these trips aren’t exactly great if you’re an ultra frugal traveler. For example, the Azores trip starts at 2,500 euros, and that doesn’t include airfare. But it’s certainly worth it for many. After all, that covers a 7-day, all-inclusive stay, including activities and luxury lodging. You’ll also get highly-personalized attention given that groups are intentionally small (for example, that Azores trip is capped at six attendees).

Photo courtesy of Johan Vandenhecke

What to know about group trip leader Johan Vandenhecke

Johan Vandenhecke is likely best known online for his digital drone class called Drone Adventurer Masterclass+ (which not coincidentally is The Drone Girl’s upcoming pick for the best drone photo courses of 2024). He’s also written a few free drone eBooks

Most of his teachings center around DJI drones. Vandenhecke himself first started flying drones on the DJI Mavic Air before upgrading to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro (and onwards and upwards from there).

Besides leading drone group vacations, Vandenhecke works as a freelance photographer. Given that entrepreneurial background, expect to use the trip to gain valuable business skills too. (Similarly, his Drone Adventurer Masterclass+ online course covers not just photography, but business advice like how to work with brands and how to negotiate payments).

Photo courtesy of Johan Vandenhecke

What other drone group vacations are out there?

Vandenhecke’s drone photo trips are the paradigm for drone vacations, but they’re certainly not the only ones.

Some have had mixed success. At one point, the New York Times offered a drone vacation to Norway through an offshoot of its newspaper business called Times Journeys, though the program ended in 2021.

It’s also possible to book drone flying adventures are part of a larger trip through offerings like Airbnb Experiences, which is affiliated with the vacation rental company and allows travelers to book customized experiences (like drone classes) with locals.

And then there are group vacations that aren’t necessarily centered around drones, but that welcome them. For example, Quark Expeditions, which is widely considered a leader in group tours of the North and South poles, wholeheartedly embraces drones.

In fact, I went on a Quark Expedition myself in 2018 to the Arctic Circle where, naturally, I brought my drone.

If you’re interested specifically in the drone group vacations through Johan Drone Adventures, check out Johan’s website here. Or if you’re interested in an excuse to have a drone affiliated vacation but the Johan Drone Adventures aren’t quite your thing, there are plenty of other 2024 drone events on the docket, including conferences all around the world.

The post These 2024 group vacations are bucket list trips for drone pilots appeared first on The Drone Girl.

International Drone Show 2024 May 29 at HCA Airport in Odense, Denmark

International Drone Show will once again gather drone experts from across the world for a day devoted to exploring the latest drone developments and the future of drone technology. Industry specialists will share insights on conference themes such as legislation & operational safety, defence, security & the Arctic, industry use cases & new technologies – […]