Drone Racing is a new high speed competitive racing sport. Skilled pilots fly quad-copter drones through three-dimensional courses at speeds up to 120mph. DRL drones are custom built for speed, agility, and performance. Pilots steer from the point of view of the drone by wearing First Person View (FPV) goggles that display a live image transmitted by an onboard camera. Flying a drone competitively at high speed in FPV is an intense, immersive experience.
Zoomas thrills with heart-pounding speed through lines with mathematical precision. M0ke flies "proximity acro", pulling a roll or a flip next to unforgiving objects or through small gaps. Skitzo floats soft lines and graceful curves, with a smoothness few can match. MattyStuntz specializes in split second seat-of-the-pants line creation and lightning fast acrobatic moves.
Most camera drones use onboard sensors to continually stabilize flight and keep the craft balanced. These components by definition prevent the drone from rolling or flipping too aggressively. Racing drones require aggressive maneuverability, so they function in an unassisted mode known as rate mode. This makes them incredibly fast and agile - but also more difficult to control. While it can take months of practice to master, rate mode allows skilled pilots complete freedom to perform aerobatic moves and tricks. [To see the kind of tricks DRL pilots can execute, check out the Trick Wiki here.]
If you’re just getting started, we recommend starting with a ‘micro’ class FPV drone setup. They are relatively inexpensive, can be flown indoors, and are able to withstand crashes. RX122 Atom v2 is a great starting point. A small screen on the transmitter displays the view from the onboard camera, but can be upgraded to work with true FPV goggles. As you get more into the sport you will want to start building your own more powerful drone with higher performance components.
Want to experience FPV drone racing? Try your hand at the Gates of Hell course and see how you compare to the world's best pilots. Click here to visit the FPV Simulator page to download the latest DRL FPV Simulator or check out the Global Leaderboards.
You will find FPV meetups all over the country. MiniQuadClub.com, FPVlab.com and FPVRacing.tv are great places to start. Racing can consist of a formal competition like DRL, a few friends getting together in a field, or just freestyle flying – doing tricks and then sharing the videos online. Tracks can be roped off and laid out using trees, flags or poles, or even hula hoops or pool noodles.
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