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Fly Around Hawaii’s Erupting Kilauea Volcano With This Up-Close Drone Footage

One of the Drone Racing League's best pilots goes on a mission to hell.

Drone Racing League pilot Gab707 is known for two things, his amazing skills and the jaw-dropping landscape footage he collects. In his latest work, he flies over the lava fields around the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, showing off both his abilities as an acrobatic pilot and his cinematic style of filming. 

Getting close to spewing lava is no easy feat. Obviously a lot can go wrong in such an extreme environment, and a sudden loss of connection to the expensive drone would have sent it and the attached GoPro camera plummeting into thousand-degree molten rock. “The drastic winds, crazy turbulence and zero landmarks made it tough to fly there, but Gab got within four meters of flowing lava and captured this video,” a representative from the Drone Racing League told us.

The drone in question isn’t a typical cinema-ready filming drone; instead, Gab707 opts for a custom acrobatic racing drone that allows for a much wider range of control on each axis. These drones can also be adapted to long-range situations, which allows the pilot to remain a safe distance away while filming a dangerous subject like an active volcano. Kilauea has been actively erupting since May 3, and dozens of homes have already been destroyed by advancing lava.

But since the drone is designed for racing, it doesn’t have any stabilizing gimbals to steady the camera. It’s up to the pilot’s skill to manually achieve these silky-smooth shot. Seeing as how Gab707 is one of the best drone pilots in the world, though – he’ll be competing in the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season, premiering September 6 on ESPN – that’s no problem at all. Check out his YouTube channel for more impressive flying.