What is Drone Racing
Drone racing is a sport where drone pilots attempt to build very quickly and agile multi-rotors (also known as drones) to fly around a predetermined course as quickly as possible. Just about all drone races today are done using FPV (First Person View) systems.
FPV is a form of a drone flying where pilots use cameras to fly drones as if they were sitting in the cockpit. Some pilots fly using FPV monitors, while others use specialised FPV goggles to give them a far more immersive experience.
FPV flying was originally done using RC Planes, however, in the past few years, multi-rotor drones have become highly sought after, much more stable, simpler to fly, and much more agile than RC planes. All of this has created multi-rotor drones the perfect platform for FPV flying. From late 2013 to 2015, people began making FPV drones that were smaller than what was considered the standard. This ensured that they be much more manoeuvrable than before while also having the ability to fit through tighter spaces and hold up better in crashes. After flying these mini FPV drones, it became apparent that FPV Drone racing was going to become extremely popular in the future.
Drone racing is definitely starting to lift off, but I feel that it’s still at its infancy stage, precisely what we’re doing currently is “nothing” as compared to what drone racing will eventually become years in time. With that being said, people that race drones at the moment are really the pioneers of a new sport. We’re the ones who will define what FPV drone racing is, how it’s regulated, the technology that’s used and more importantly, what it means to become a drone racer in the future.We think that drone racing is here to remain, so there’s no better time to go into the adventure than right now.
What Do I Need To Get Started?
To begin with, you’ll first need to buy all of the right components. You’re have to have a racing drone, batteries, a battery charger, a good controller, FPV goggles, a video receiver and a few other miscellanies items. I can’t get into detail on which you’ll need on this page mainly because it would make this article too long, so go read our other post called Drone Racing: What You Need To Get Started. The knowledge within provides you with every detail on what to buy, why you need it and where to buy it.
Ingredients To create a Great FPV Racing Drone
by now you might be asking yourself “How do I know if my drone is going to be perfect for drone races?” There are a lot of products which make an excellent racing drone, but here’s what’s the most important.
Speed: Obviously you’re have to have a drone that can go fast, but exactly how fast is quick enough? Usually drones generally have a top speed of approximately 35mph, but racing drones can easily go over 50mph (sometimes even faster). To achieve higher speeds, you can do lots of different things. The easiest way to go faster is use more powerful batteries that have higher voltages (14.8v batteries instead of the traditional 11.1v). One other way would be to minimize the weight of the racing drone, because sometimes less is much more. Lift off the useless stuff like GPS, OSDs, extra long wires, heavy landing gear etc…
Sight: The FPV camera is among the most most essential components for drone racing. When drones are in forward flight, they can tilt any where from 1 to almost 80 degrees depending on how fast they’re going. Because of this, It’s very important that your chosen camera can be tilted up. This allows you to view where you’re going once the drone is tilted forward. Your FPV camera also needs to be durable, have a high frame rate (60fps) and a wide FOV (field of view in order to see around turns).
An excellent Flight Controller: Lots of people disregard the flight controller when thinking about drone racing, but it’s the only thing that keeps your drone stable, so don’t overlook it! If you’re seriously interested in drone racing, make sure that you get yourself a flight controller capable of running the firmware generally known as CleanFlight. It’s fundamentally the best firmware readily available for mini racing drones.
Durability And Repairability: When racing drones, it’s almost guarantee that you’re likely to crash one or more times for every three flights one does (or else you aren’t flying quick enough). Some people crash more, some crash less, however, it happens to everyone. That’s why you need to find a drone frame able to take lots of hits before breaking. You should also be able to replace all of the parts for your drone individually. Most FPV racing frames are typically in the 230mm to 300mm size range.
Learning To Fly
After building your first FPV racer, learning to fly is the next step. You should start by as a minimum learning how to hover around without using any FPV equipment. This kind of flying is called Line-of-sight and is the simplest way to check and tune your racing drone. After learning the basics of line-of-sight flying, you’ll be able to start trying FPV. You will recognise that FPV is pretty easy in open spaces, however, it gets more difficult when flying through obstacles or tighter spaces.
After learning how to cruise around just like a graceful cloud, then you can start trying out things like going faster, flying even closer the floor, flying through or under trees and seeing what obstacles you’ll be able to proceed through without losing signal.
Once you have the ability to fly your drone around while confidently knowing its limitations, then comes the final stage of learning FPV drone flying. At this stage, you begin learning flips, rolls, nose dives along with other cool manoeuvres. At this time, you’d be able to start working on your own makeshift tracks at the local park. You could use the obstacles near you like sidewalks, paths, light poles, trees, or you could buy air gates made especially for drone racing.
Air gates are what most drone races use as obstacles to help keep drone pilots on the track. They are generally 3 to 6 feet in diameter and shaped like 1 / 2 circles. some races may also use tall flags to indicate turns and slaloms. Other kinds of track guidance including cones, rope lighting, arrows, tires, trees, or anything you want really!
What It’s Like To Fly a Racing Drone
For some, it’s about getting the fastest time round the course. For others, it’s about going through the world from new prospectives. For meme personally, FPV racing isn’t about any one of that – it’s about the experience. It’s about the feeling you get when taking huge risks and after that succeeding.
I personally don’t get to race fairly often, but just because you have a racing drone, that doesn’t mean you need to race with it. There’s a different type of flying called freestyle. The target of Freestyle drone flying is like every other freestyle sport. You fly in the craziest ways you can think of.
Imagine that you’re hundreds of feet up, and after that suddenly you’re spiralling toward the ground at 80mph. Your palms start sweating, your heart starts racing and all sorts of it are possible to think about is “Am I going to make this manoeuvre. Will I pull out from it or smash intoµ the ground, destroying everything I’ve worked so hard to build”. All of these thoughts intensify because the ground gets closer and closer, until the moment when time decelerates, therefore, you take action, pulling up right before hitting the ground