The advancements in drone technology and the affordable price have enabled users to create a new competitive activity. Drone pilots use their skills and specially designed machines to participate in this intense sport. FPV (first-person view) drones are made to give the operator a direct view of where the drone is flying. This makes it easier to fly faster and higher than what is capable with a traditional drone and still maintain control.
Why are FPV drones used?
FPV drones make this an immersive sport that allows the pilot to feel as if they are flying along with the quadcopter. The pilot can maintain their speed and avoid hazards even through forested areas, around buildings or within a crowded racing arena. With a traditional drone this is impossible because the pilot must maintain their view of the drone to steer it correctly.
What is needed to start racing?
To pilot a drone the participant must be 16 or older, must understand and follow all FAA regulations and have the appropriate gear. This includes an FPV drone, reliable chargers and FPV goggles. In addition, a race band receiver and multiple batteries come in handy. Anyone that wears glasses to correct their nearsightedness should also purchase a set of diopter lenses for their goggles.
How do people get started?
Drone racing meet-up groups and leagues are found all over the country. Many people start with hobby groups to gain experience, meet others with the same interest and decide if this is something they enjoy. When their abilities expand they can then move on to a local league.
It drone racing worth the effort?
ESPN broadcasts the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships and the grand prize of $10,000 encourages many to participate. A recent World Drone Prix in Dubai handed out a $1 million grand prize. Similar events with a variety of prize amounts took place in Australia, England and many other countries around the world.
Racing a drone is like any other activity. It takes an investment of both money and time to build up the ability to compete with others. Some people will naturally excel and some will never be as good as they would like. Luckily, the availability of so many amateur clubs and local groups participating make it easy for anyone to take part no matter what their skill level.