Drone racing seems to be the latest fad in the already popular drone industry. As new enthusiasts continue to take a liking to drone flying, there is a new crop of drone racers taking the scene by storm.
With a need for sheer speed and the thrill of witnessing these little machines racing through and around obstacles at top speeds, drone racing is slowly but surely carving out an exciting niche.
So, if you’ve been trying to take your drone flying skills to the next level, drone racing is something you might want to consider.
But what exactly is drone racing and what does it take to fly fast?
What is Drone Racing?
Drone racing is an emerging sport that uses small and very fast quadcopters to fly around a predetermined course riddled with several obstacles.
The object of the game is to maneuver these obstacles as fast as possible as you compete with other racers, with the winner crossing the finish line first.
Unlike other forms of racing, the course drone racers use can be 3-dimensional. Although the participants remain on land, they enjoy the drone’s camera view as if they are right inside the vehicle’s cockpit.
This is thanks to First Person View (FPV) technology, which offers drone flyers real-time footage of the drone camera for precise control of the aircraft from a remote position.
What’s Different About Drone Racing?
Drone racing makes use of purpose-built drones that are programmed to compete on first-person view. These are constructed using durable materials such as carbon fiber and feature open body frames to allow for easy upgrades, repairs, and access to parts.
Racing drones put more emphasis on components than they do on features. While popular aerial camera drones like the DJI Phantom are equipped with high-quality specs such as automatic stabilization, this is not something you’ll likely find on racing drones.
Once the quadcopter launches into the air, it is the pilot’s skill and experience that keeps it flying. Typically, racing drones are designed to offer around five minutes of hardcore racing, which goes through the battery life relatively fast.
What it Takes to Fly Fast
To fly a racing drone fast, you must first have the right equipment. When it comes to the drone, you’ll have to decide whether you want a Ready-To-Fly (RTF) model or something you piece up together from parts you buy.
A Ready-To-Fly drone is designed for people who want to start flying straight out of the box. On the other hand, Almost-Ready-To-Fly drones are for people who would like to customize their drones before flying them.
Aside from the drone, don’t forget to look for additional accessories and batteries. The market offers compatible FPV frame kits to make this easier for you. However, if the drone you’re buying doesn’t come with this, you will have to look for a high-quality controller, as well as a nice pair of FPV goggles for your display.
The following is typically what is needed to fly a drone fast:
- A racing quad with a thick carbon-fiber body
- A camera with a wide field of view
- A radio controller and a compatible receiver
- AS display device- pair of FPV goggles or monitor
- A video transmitter and a receiver
But the right set of equipment is not all that will allow you to fly high-speed drones, it also takes skill to face up with the pros. Before you decide to get into drone racing, it would be wise to be a spectator in a couple of races just to get a feel of how things work.
This would also be a great opportunity to talk to pro drone racers and learn from them, as well as interact with fellow wannabes as you prepare to join the sport.
To be a professional drone racer, you have no choice but to put in the work during practice. If you’re already good at flying in open spaces, gradually and progressively introduce obstacles in your flight path and learn to maneuver them.
You can either choose to use natural obstacles such as trees and cliff faces or create your own in the form of pylons and race gets. The important thing is to learn to fly around these obstacles in the shortest time possible.
Now that you know what drone racing is and what it involves, it shouldn’t be too hard to dive headfirst into the sport. However, be sure to practice hard and smart if you’re hoping to race against the best in the business.