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Drone racing has become a global phenomenon. The World Grand Prix in Dubai offered a grand prize of $1 million dollars. ESPN has signed a multi-year international distribution deal bringing the action to a t.v. near you. The action is fast paced, and offers an incomparable first person experience for the pilot. Drones Racing is gaining popularity, and is grabbing attention from a vast audience. What’s so great about about Drone Racing?
The best part about Drone Racing is the First Person View (FPV), which gives you a unique immersive experience. You view the entire flight, through the perspective of a pilot in the cockpit. At speeds of more than 60 miles per hour (upward of 95km/h), this is a no nonsense sport. It’s fast. And it’s just getting faster. Equipped with a pair of virtual reality goggles, you will zip through your environment with precision. This translates so well to larger audiences, as they can watch the live footage on shared screens, or better yet they can put on their own goggles and imagine they can fly like the pros!
These aren’t your typical Quadcopters or Drones, this deserves it’s own distinguished category. There are many groups and organizations that agree with us. Racing Leagues or more casual meet-ups are popping up in countries and regions everywhere. Chances are you can compete at a location near you!
Racing Leagues have specific rules for the competitors, the race environment, type of equipment allowed(standard specifications or open specifications), rules of combat, as well as others. Events can take place indoors or outdoors, depending on the availability of the venue. Outdoor races will sacrifice the unpredictability of the weather and the environment. A few drone leagues include:
There are several types racing categories that users can compete in. The most exciting race to watch, and arguably the most immersive experience for the pilots is the Rotorcross. It’s simple. Racers take your marks! The first racer to cross the finish line, through the designated course is the winner. The tension is high and crashes will happen!
Speed Enthusiasts will enjoy another racing style, the Drag Race. Familiar to most viewers in some capacity, drag racing is all about acceleration over a short distance. Many users can compete at the same time, and the first to cross the finish line is the winner!
Time Trial is another common racing style, in which every racer runs through the course individually and the finish times are compared. This can be exciting in it’s own right, but the competitive real time nature of the other racing styles has led to their popularity.
Due to the sheer speed of these FPV Racing Drones, a typical drone is configured to run for 5 minutes. Races are short, exciting affairs. Here is a link to upcoming International Drone Events.
Racing Drones come in Ready-To-Fly models, which come prepared to essentially fly out of the box with the least possible installation(we’re talking about a couple of propellers here). This is where beginner flyers should start.
At UAV Systems International we never recommend customers make a large investment on an expensive drone, just to result in a crash the very next day. There is a learning curve, albeit a modest one. Start off with something more modest, master the techniques, and then consider a serious contender. Modding, or making modifications to your racing drone to optimize it’s performance is common for those serious about competitive flying.
Here is a few of the starting racing drones that are the most popular:
Here is a link to our racing drone buying guide:
There are two common formats, the Ready-To-Fly and Assemble-To-Fly, which require user assembly. Below is a list of a typical Ready-To-Fly kit. Common pieces in a kit include:
A low costing beginner drone kit can be rather inexpensive at $200, and will be RTF so there’s very little user installation. If you want to get a bit more competitive with a local league or a meet-up, it may be closer to $500. Finally, to be a true competitor in a league you should expect that it will cost you $1000.
For those users interested in the FPV goggles, a decent pair will cost $400, however prices can range between $200-$500.
Listed below are a few of the most popular selling models, and some of the best bangs for your buck.
Honestly, the process of building your own racing drone isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. The best racers however have tweaked and modified every aspect of their racing drone for optimum performance. Fear not, hear is a great link on how to get started with building your own racing drone.
Common Pieces you will need(same as link above):
We can offer support by providing custom configurations, and pretesting your racing drone to ensure it’s operating efficiently. Our staff is always eager to answer any questions you might have related to Racing Drones.
Competitive flyers care about the little details. Every element of your racing drone can be improved upon with higher quality equipment. Whether this is a more responsive RC Controller to improve your Maneuverability and responsiveness, or higher quality propellers to improve Lift Power, the custom modifications are endless and improving everyday.
Many different essential elements contribute to a winning formula for a racing drone. This is changing all the time, as pilots are finding innovative or experimental ways to improve their results. The essential elements include:
Speed is essential, however not the single most important element. Top speeds can exceed 70 mph, but a racer will be seriously limited if maneuverability is compromised or mediocre compared to speed. Lift Power is a term referring to the power of the rotors to give “lift” to your racing drone and provide turning power.
Maneuverability is comprised of a variety of components, that in combination provide a racer with responsiveness.
Control Response Time, Flight Stability, Predictable Smooth Flight, Lift Power
Durability is achieved by being resilient to damage. Small and light aircraft benefit (in a sense of the word), because the propellers tend to be sacrificed instead of the frame of the Racing Drone.
The Flight Controller is the firmware that runs your racing drone, while the RC Controller controls every input for your racing drone.
FPV Goggles gives you a real-time FPV streaming video of the action. A must have for serious flyers!
Here are a few of our favorite resources:
To learn more about competitive drones, there is a wealth of information available at: