Drone racing is rapidly becoming one of the hottest sports hobbies in the world with competing kids and adults. With its fast-paced racing and first-person immersive views, it provides all the thrills of high-speed competition without the threat of bodily harm. If you are an adrenaline junkie looking for your next fix, then drone racing may be the perfect fit for you.
What is Drone Racing?
To best answer, this question, let’s first take a look at what a drone actually is. They are best described as a multi-rotor flying vehicle that is piloted via a remote control. Think of the old-timey remote-controlled helicopters you had as a kid and then add 3 more rotors, or propellers, on top of the vehicle.
Drone racing as a sport is more than just who has the fastest drone. While speed is certainly an important factor, the typical drone race courses require the pilot to be extremely skilled at quick maneuvers in tight spaces. Whether racing on indoor or outdoor courses, it takes a good combination of speed, maneuverability, and timing to be a successful drone racer.
Getting Started With Your First Racing Drone
Purchase That Is Designed For Racing
When it comes to your first drone, be sure you’re purchasing one designed for racing. Some drones are for the casual flyer that enjoys getting a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscape. Racing drones, on the other hand, are designed for extreme speed and maneuverability.
There are a large number of models to choose from, and that can be an entire article all on its own. However, when selecting your first racing drone, it is best with a pre-built racing model. These will come with about everything you need to start flying.
As you get deeper into the sport, you may want to custom build the drone you want. This pre-built model will also eventually provide you with spare parts. Those will come in handy as learning to make some these high-speed maneuvers can result in the occasional crash landing.
Finding the Right Controller
More important than selecting the right drone is the process of selecting the perfect controller. Just like with drone models, there are many to choose from and the prices can range from $150 up to over $1000.
Regardless of the racing drone, you select, the controller is what will keep you flying smooth and stable. You will want to take your time and do your homework and find the controller that is best for you.
Finding the Right FPV Solution
Once you select your first drone and controller it’s time to consider the best FPV option for you. The solution you choose here also has to be tailored to your preferences. Keep in mind that you will not be able to see your drone most of the time while you are flying it.
Types of FPV Solutions
There are two primary types of FPV solutions. Most racers are using FPV video goggles these days. These are similar to the virtual reality headgear you see for cell phones. These goggles allow you to see what the camera on your drone sees. It is just like you are sitting in the cockpit of your very own aircraft.
If you aren’t ready to spend the money on the goggles, you can go with an FPV screen. While you save money on the screen, you do lose the freedom to stand and move around while flying your drone. There can also be issues with glare on the screen if you are flying outside. If you plan to get serious about your racing then you will most likely end up with the goggles at some point.
Get Out There and Learn to Fly
Now that you have your drone, a good controller, and the right FPV, it’s time to go racing right?!? Not so fast my friend. Before you decide to go enter your first race, you are going to want to practice a lot. As we mentioned earlier, these races are as much about maneuvers as they are about speed.
Drone racing courses will require you to go obstacles often within a very tight turning radius. Even the most seasoned of racers can crash one out of every three races. Crashes lead repairs and additional costs.
It is best to start from the beginning and learn to cruise around open sky before you get into obstacles. Get a feel for your controller and the responsiveness of your drone. You will also need to get a feel for the video that you see with your FPV goggles or screen. The technology is getting better, but the video feed can take some getting used to.
Once you master basic flight, then you can begin to work on maneuvering closer to the ground before working up to obstacles. The best advice is to be patient and enjoy the experience of learning to fly your new racing drone.