Drone racing is a fascinating sport where an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called drones is used in navigating a given course. The winner is determined by the fastest drone to complete the set course. These drones are small radio-controlled aircraft with a camera mounted at its nose to provide live stream feed to the controlling pilot.
FPV drone racing as a sport has come a long way since its inception in 2014. Since then, it has become one of the fastest rising sport, and many are taking a liking to it with each passing day. Whether you want to become a professional racer or you just want to learn for the fun of it, we suggest that you tag along to find out more.
The first thing to do as an aspiring drone pilot is to get the necessary devices and accessories. FPV drones are quite expensive; they cost within the range of $200 to a little under a $1000. And as a novice, it is advisable that you go for cheap and durable quadcopters like the Blade Inductrix FPV or Hubsan X4.
You have to learn how to pilot your device through the camera view and get comfortable enough to upgrade to bigger products. Since it is guaranteed that you’re going to crash your quad most of the time, going for cheaper alternatives seem like the logical thing to do.
Other parts and accessories needed include FPV goggles, antennas, battery straps, flight controller, radio transmitter, and receiver, etc. Also, you are going to need spare props, motors, batteries, and ECS to avoid unnecessary delay after a crash.
After you must have learned sufficiently on your own, you can compete with other drone pilots in your local area to gauge your level of improvement. There are a lot of drone user groups out there, these groups host regular meetups and are involved in FPV racing activities.
You get to socialize a bit and improve your overall knowledge of various aircraft and controllers. These events are usually open-spec, that is, you’re allowed to tweak your quadcopter to suit your needs. As such, you get to learn as much as you can from racers who continue to modify their aircraft.
As the sport gets popular with each passing day, racing associations are also emerging across the world. With each league having its unique rules that guide the device spec, environment, combat rules and overtaking, etc.
The most popular leagues are Drone Racing League (DRL), FPVRacing.TV, MultiGP, Racing FPV.com, and Aerial Action Sports League. So before you select the league you like best, it is necessary that you keep in mind their minimum and maximum spec to guide you in choosing a suitable aircraft.
The DRL, for instance, makes available all the aircraft used at its events, including their backups and other accessories. On the other hand, MultiGP gives you the liberty to supply you own aircraft so long as it meets their required specification.
When you have made the upgrade to the bigger stage, you’re met with the dilemma of either buying ready-to-fly (RTF) drones or building your FPV drones (assemble-to-fly). With RTF drones, you make a purchase, charge the batteries, and you’re ready to fly while ATF drones have to be built with your purchased parts.
We advise that you build your aircraft to personalize it as much as possible to suit your needs. You are better primed to replace damaged parts in the event of a crash. Also, recent trends suggest that most winning pilots customized their drones.
You will be making the right decision in learning the art of drone racing. The sport has the real potential of becoming the next-big-thing over the next decade. There is an awareness campaign ongoing to get more funding for the sport. So you’ll do well in positioning yourself to take advantage of opportunities as it presents itself. Have fun while you’re at it!