Drone combat pro Kyle Ettinger went undefeated in his last tournament, knocking down the other teams’ drones one after another. He’s a drone fight club champion—and he’s only 15.
Kyle picked up his first drone about two years ago while working at a hobby shop, and quickly became hooked. Now his drone-building workspace dominates his family’s garage, where he and his engineer father tinker with making drones more formidable and better designed for aerial combat.
Kyle’s latest customized drone, the Carbon Crusher, is surrounded by a sphere of carbon fiber rods to cushion the drone’s propellers from blows. Kyle and his dad took the Crusher to this year’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, where he went undefeated.
This video from Re/code captures the Carbon Crusher in combat at Maker Faire, and shows Kyle and his dad working on the drone in their garage together. It’s like the old father-son tradition of building boxcars, thrown fifty years into the future. “Being an engineer myself, it’s pretty easy for me to get hooked into what he’s trying to do,” says the elder Ettinger. “I do whatever I can to support him.”