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Fourth of July Drone Light Show Above Travis AFB Postponed Because of Wind

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TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE -- Intel is putting on a drone light show at Travis Air Force Base on July 5, after the Fourth of July show was canceled due to wind.

The entire event and activities at the base have been canceled for July Fourth.

The show will be for military ID holders only. The public may find a vantage point outside, to the west of the base.

Weather troubles aside, the technology is impressive.

"It might be fireworks, but people don't realize they're digital fireworks," said Natalie Cheung.

Cheung is the general manager of drone lights shows at Intel, a company that's been pioneering the way for a new visual art that uses lights on hundreds of drones.

"When you merge art and technology together, you can really create a different experience," Cheung said.

Originally unveiled by Intel on the cover of Time magazine, it's an experience that the public will now be able to enjoy for free for the first time in Northern California this Fourth of July.

"Something this cool we didn't want to just do ourselves, we wanted to invite the public in for," said Air Force Col. Mat Leard.

The first 2,500 people to show up at the Forbs Gate Wednesday night will get a front-row seat. But Intel says the show can be seen up to three miles away.

"It's the only drone that's designed for light shows. We've taken out everything that's not needed," Cheung said. "So there's no cameras on here. Everything is made out of plastic and foam and it's really something that is lightweight."

The drones individually communicate with the pilot's computer, making shapes, like the American flag, through GPS and precision flying so that they don't hit each other. Wednesday night's show will use around 500 drones.

"Five hundred drones controlled by one pilot, that's something that's never been done outside of Intel," Cheung said.

Tuesday night, engineers were testing the wind conditions at Travis, admitting that if they're too powerful Wednesday they will have to reschedule to Thursday night.

Cheung believes one day, drone light shows could be just as common as firework shows and far better for the environment.

"And it's something that with a lot of wildfires going, with fireworks happening and with high winds, it's something that could equate to a disaster. But, you know, with drone light shows, it's something that's green, it's repeatable, you can use the same drones again," Cheung said.

The drone show will be around five minutes long and will feature images unique to the Air Force base and to the Solano County area.

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