Posts tagged "FPV racing"

ROCHESTER, NY — April 4, 2017 Aerix Drones announced the release of the new Nano FPV Indoor Drone Racing Package. This “Tiny-Whoop” inspired set includes everything you need to start enjoying the thrill and excitement of drone racing in your home. The ready-to-race (RTR) drones are safe to fly indoors, but fast enough to be seriously fun.

The Nano’s rotors are enclosed in rounded ducts for safety, so they won’t harm anybody or anything in a crash landing. But the Nano’s racing motors give it some serious punch as you traverse living rooms and slalom through friends and family. Nanos can be raced up to eight per area, so family and friends can have massive head-to-head races in close quarters.

The included goggles are compatible with most 5.8ghz FPV products. Also in the kit is a 5-pack of 12-inch glowing neon indoor drone racing hoops, which allow users to set up obstacle courses and racetracks. Finally, the kit includes extra batteries and blades so you can extend the fun and excitement all day. The kits are available with your choice of green, red or blue hoops.

Shipping in May 2017, the all-in-one Nano FPV Indoor Drone Racing Package includes:

  • 1 – Nano FPV ready-to-race (RTR) drone
  • 1 – 5.8ghz FPV camera installed
  • 1 – 2.4ghz ready-to-fly transmitter (controller)
  • 1 – 5.8ghz 2-in-1 FPV monitor/goggle set with raceband (rechargeable)
  • 5 – 12-inch glowing neon indoor drone racing hoops
  • 1 – Set of spare blades
  • 1 – USB charging cable
  • 2 – 200mah 3.7v rechargeable drone batteries

The Nano Racing Package has an MSRP of $245, but is available for pre-order for $195. For more information, visit https://goo.gl/cqJNEs. To see the entire line of Aerix Drones, visit www.aerixdrones.com.

It’s been a long time since I flew FPV for the last time, no blog posts no time for my hobby, so sad. But then I stumbled across this new beginners course for FPV drones in Switzerland by DRACER.ch.

DRACER’s goal is to introduce beginners to drone flying and teach them to have fun in a responsible way!

While not a beginner anymore myself, I thought I might still have a lot of fun flying in a large gym hall. They claim to provide the full FPV gear, professional trainers and a race course. I was sold. So Crashpilot went to a FPV beginners course to go have some fun and see how rusty he’s become. Check out the video:

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That day the whole DRACER team was present including the three trainers: Elia (@Schemen), Michael aKa. Schnitzel and Florin aKa. Lord Byron plus Vincent and Saikat (@shokks) who are taking care of the logistics and administration. Demand seems to be already pretty high, even tough they just starte this year. That day they ran three beginner courses with at least eight participants each.

The team of dracer.ch who organized the FPV course.

The course was well structured. After a short introduction into the hobby and regulations, the participants were grouped into pairs and each group was given the full FPV gear (Taranis, TBS X racer and Fatsharks). While the longest part of the course was centred around mastering controls and flight manoeuvres LoS, the last part was all about FPV flying and watching. There were plenty of charged batteries which guaranteed each participant a lot of air time during the whole two hours.

Every participant was given the full FPV equipment so one could really “try and see for oneself”.

I am very impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm the DRACER team has put into creating this course. I can really recommend it to almost everybody not only beginners but also intermediates. While total beginners can safely try out this new hobby, people with some previous knowledge can improve their skills and get valuable tips from real pros. Well done DRACER!

If you know other great courses in other parts of the world, please leave a comment!

I think you will agree with me when I say:

It is troublesome to find the right racing drone, especially if you are a newbie in this hobby. (I should know, I’ve been there). There are literally thousands of drones for sale everywhere and it is increasing by the minute! It could even be a disaster if you end up purchasing a heavily marketed model, but turned out to be a complete disappointment.

It should not be the case, right?

Well, what if I say, that you can find the right racing drone without a hitch? Being a racing drone enthusiast myself for 2 years I will provide you with a comprehensive guide. In this article, I will guide you on your first time buying a racing drone and ensure you end up with a model you can totally brag to your friends.  

So what kind of drone are you looking for?

There are three types of drones, first are the camera drones, second are the toy drones and third, which is why you are here, are the FPV/Racing Drones. Let’s skip the first two choices and focus on the Racing Drones.

If you think that freestyle flying and drone racing sounds something crazy you would only see in the movies, you are absolutely right. It is an intense, fast-paced and super addictive sport. Imagine the adrenaline rush in car racing, now, multiply it by 10. That is the experience you will get in drone racing. It is unlike anything else in the world.

Drone racing is not just a hobby, it is a real sport with real competitions and very real prize money. It goes so far that the Drone Racing Association has signed a deal with ESPN. As a matter of fact, drone racing is taking the world by storm. Nobody knows where this sport will end up in the following years.

One thing is sure though, it will only become intense as technology advances. Who knows, drone racing might become a popular sport as any major sports. So if you want to experience that future, hopping into the drone racing bandwagon today is the best start.

What are the top racing drones for first timers?

The two drones I will show you are top rated racing drone models. Although, there are better drones on the market, we are aiming to settle for something that will enhance your flying skills, help you familiarize with common drone racing obstacles and even help you win local competitions. Try to get to know these models before you consider buying drones meant for the big league.

  1. Arris X-Speed 250 Quacopter Racer

This drone is perfect for getting started with drone racing as quickly as possible. It is pre-calibrated and tested, which makes flying on a racing course easy even for first timers. The electronic speed controller is top-notch. It also comes with a damping plate that acts as an extra-protection from crashes. (Pretty convenient, right?)

Plus, the Arris drone is compatible with a wide range of HD FPV googles. So you can choose a goggle with better resolution allowing you to see better pictures of what your quadcopter is seeing up in the air.

  1. Walkera Runner 250 Racing Drone

What makes this a fine choice is its long flight time. It could stay up in the air for 14 minutes, giving you longer flying practice for up to 25mph. It can maneuver pretty well in tight spots. Even if you are flying on a racing course with lots of obstacles and sharp corners, with Walkera, you can handle it just fine. Although, design-wise this model has seen better days. But our main concern is speed and ease-of-use, this drone can be of great help to you.  

How fast are racing drones?

Obviously, you need a fast racing drone. Usually racing drones have a top speed of 35mph. But, it can easily go over 50mph or higher by doing a few tricks. One surefire way to go faster is having  powerful batteries with higher voltages (choose 14.8 instead of the traditional 11.1v).

Another way to boost your speed is cutting on your drone weight. Take off unnecessary stuff like heavy landing gear, long wires, OSDs and GPS.

There are drones that can reach up to 120mph via rate mode. This makes a drone more agile and faster, but it is incredibly difficult to control. Even skilled pilots have a hard time mastering this one.

Are speed and power really the most important key features when buying a drone?

Yes, speed and power play an important role but they are not everything there is in drone racing. There are other aspects  and components you need, like an amazing drone camera, to win a competition. But for now, let us try to find a balance between these two and among other features that can help you win races.

Focus more on mastering different types of racing courses. Know different types of drones, accessories and gadgets that can power-up your drone. Later on, you will learn how to build a powerful racing drone that can take you places.  

How much does a drone cost?

Drone racing is a sport that requires money, a lot of it. So you must prepare your pocket because going all out on drone racing can be really expensive. Normally, racing drones range from $300 to $500. But if we are going to talk about going into real racing and winning, then the cost can skyrocket to a thousand dollars or more. To win in the big racing competitions, you need to modify your drone and better parts always come with a higher price.

How to get started with Drone Racing?

If you are serious in this sport, it would be to your advantage to join a drone racing community. It would be great if you become a member of the US Drone Racing Association or the Academy of Model Aeronautics.  

But for now, try to join local groups or leagues in your area. You can visit parks and other locations where drone pilots often are.  You can also check out for online drone racing communities, join their forums and get in touch with their message boards.

Also, even if you are only new to this hobby, try to attend drone racing. Get to know what it feels like flying a drone and master it. Of course, you should not expect to win right away, but completing a race and learning from that experience are appropriate goals.

Lastly, practice, practice, practice.

There you have it. I hope that you find this article informative and engaging. By now you probably have a solid understanding about drone racing  and be able to make a wise decision in buying the right racing drone.

Happy flying!

There’s no question about it – drone videos are capturing the public imagination. But the videos that make it into mainstream media are just the tip of the iceberg, and not even the best ones out there. If you’re looking for top quality aerial videos, they can be hard to find amidst all the noise and clutter of the major media outlets, and even sites like YouTube. Enter AirVuz, a site dedicated to aerial videos. We interviewed AirVuz CEO Mike Israel to find out more.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background. What inspired AirVuz?

I spent most of my career in the private equity investment industry, most recently with a Minneapolis-based company called Mill City Capital L.P. which I co-founded.  I had a longstanding personal interest in radio controlled flight which morphed into an interest in drones when consumer camera drones first became available a few years ago.  This in turn led to an investment in a large radio control products company which Mill City made about three years ago with which I am still involved.  In the course of working with this company, I came up with the idea of creating an online video sharing platform which would be focused entirely on drone video content.  I started AirVuz in mid-2015 and the team that is in place here now has created what is now the leading drone video sharing platform.

What has the process of development been like, obstacles and successes?

While we have certainly had our share of challenges, fortunately we haven’t had to face any existential crises since the business launched. The initial version of the site had its share of functionality issues, but our IT team basically re-built the site from the ground up and we re-launched it in early June of 2016. It’s a credit to our development team that we’ve been able to continually add new functionality to the site and have had no major instances of the site being down or other issues of that magnitude. I think from the beginning we saw very strong acceptance by the drone user community and have had a steady (albeit growing) stream of very high quality video uploads.

What was more challenging in some ways was finding an audience of viewers for this content – people who come to the site to view the content who may not ever actually create content of their own. It took some time to figure out how to identify the target audience, bring them to the site, and keep them coming back. What we’ve found is that many of our site visitors don’t necessarily have a pre-existing interest in drones but they like the content. Figuring out how to identify that audience, how to get them to visit the site and actually “stick around” long enough to become recurring users has taken some time. While it’s still a work in progress (and always will be), we seem to have been able to connect with a worldwide audience of people who truly enjoy watching this type of content.

A related challenge has been optimizing the user experience on the site. We have made great strides here but ongoing improvement in the user experience is one of the main areas where we are spending our development dollars. It’s coming up with smartphone native apps (we are weeks away from releasing an Android app and an iOS app will be coming right on the heels of that), a tablet app/video editor (later this year), etc. It’s continuing to improve the overall user experience on the site – geotagging (already in place for uploads and user interface to search based on geo-tagging) is coming too.  Fortunately we can do all this without needing armies of programmers – by leveraging the Amazon Web Services infrastructure for the video encoding and playback we can focus on the user-facing features of the site and the related mobile apps.

Who is AirVuz for? What advantages does it offer over sites like YouTube and Vimeo?

AirVuz was really created for people around the world who create and/or enjoy viewing aerial videos created by multirotor drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles such as flying wings. That is the core community. It certainly bears some similarity to YouTube and Vimeo but there are some very important differences too. These differences really all stem from the fact that AirVuz is about a particular type of video content – ie, content captured by drones. The commonality of the content and the shared interest of the community in drones lets AirVuz to do things which would never make sense for the universal platforms. While drone video content is readily available on YouTube and Vimeo, it accounts for a tiny share of the total content on those sites and so both the content and the contributors tend to get “lost” in the sheer volume of unrelated content on those sites.

AirVuz exists in large measure to promote the best contributors and the best content. We continually curate the content to be able to highlight the very best, and we treat the contributors who produce the best quality content like the stars that they are. We have a Facebook fan base of over 1 million and over 50k followers on Instagram, and we use those social media outlets to promote the best contributors and their content off the site via posts and ads. We also have created a whole series of original programming concepts which all relate to the core idea of the site being 100% about drone video content and give us a chance to “show off” the community’s top contributors and their content to a broader audience. These series include Drone Dish (a “talk show” type format where we interview our star contributors and give them a chance to talk about their best videos which are played as overlay), Behind the Goggles (a similar type of show but with the subject matter being FPV pilots and FPV videos), Droning America (a travel show where we travel to various cities around the US and have top local aerial videographers in those cities give in effect aerial tours of their city), YourVuz (a monthly hosted show based on a thematic contest in which community members submit videos to enter – sort of an “America’s Funniest Videos” but for drone), and Drone Trippin’ (a travel-type show featuring some of the world’s top FPV pilots).  We also have an AirVuz News program which covers broader stories involving the world of drone but which is focused on stories with a video angle.

Which video/s on AirVuz is your favorite and why?

They are all my favorites 🙂  In all seriousness I spend many hours on the site every week and I do so because I love the content. We have incredible content being uploaded to this site every week from all corners of the world, and I honestly would have a hard time picking even the top 50 let alone a smaller group. We have videos people have taken flying over live volcanoes. We have a video from one of our contributors in Turkey who somehow managed to fly his drone over a partially submerged submarine cruising through the Straits of Bosporus near Istanbul. Videos from base camps in the Himalayas. We had a video uploaded a few weeks ago which included footage a guy took flying an FPV racing drone off a cruise ship; he got the drone in the wake of this huge ship and was basically chasing his own ship. We have a contributor in Florida who gets together with her friends and makes these unbelievably creative music videos using drones. It goes on and on and on, and literally every day we get uploads which make my jaw drop. This is content which was literally beyond the realm of possibility as recently as a few years ago; it wasn’t that it was prohibitively expensive because you needed full scale aircraft; it simply couldn’t be done at all.

What is your vision for AirVuz over the next year? How do you envision your company helping to promote and develop the drone industry?

Our vision for AirVuz is to have AirVuz be the “go to” place for drone videos and the people who create them. We see huge numbers of people getting into aerial videography for the first time and any of them either aspiring to become or in many cases already becoming professionals. While we have a worldwide user base and much of the content is from outside of the US. The recent changes to the US rules regarding commercial drone use are going to provide a huge impetus to these people, and we want AirVuz to become the place where they and their content live. We intend to provide our community members with multiple means to monetize their content, be it for stock licensing or simply for being a place where they can be discovered and hired for commercial work. We intend to bring in advertiser-partners who will work with our community members to create sponsored content, essentially ads that don’t look or feel like ads. The easy examples would be travel: a spectacular drone video of XYZ resort in Bali is an ad for the resort, it’s an ad for Bali, it’s an ad for anything else that is in the video.

It goes beyond travel though; this concept works for cars, it works for ski equipment, it works for surfing equipment, it works for golf courses.  If it’s visible from 50 or 100 or 400 feet in the air, it generally looks better from that perspective.  We intend to work with our star contributors – the ones we promote on and off the site, the ones we feature in our original programming, the FPV racers we sponsor – to mutually benefit from these arrangements. Everybody can win including the advertisers who can get powerful brand integration that isn’t subject to ad blocking because the “ad” and the “content” are the same thing.

At the same time we intend (at the appropriate time) to be an advertising conduit for the drone industry; if you watch a video that was taken with a certain type of drone or using certain types of accessories, many of the viewers on our site are going to want to know what was used and how to buy it.  Unobtrusive links on the appropriate videos can serve that purpose, and everyone (including the contributor) can benefit from that.

Flying FPV is such a liberating and rewarding experience, and watching prop pilots that fly crazy fast, silky smooth, or doing dizzying flips is what draws most of us to the hobby to start with.

If you’ve ever flown a quadcopter, though, you’ll know that the pros make these tricks seem much easier than they are. With a little practice though, you can greatly improve your flying and start doing awesome tricks and fly like a pro.

Tip 1: Use a simulator

FPV takes a while to get used to, so while you’re waiting for your parts to come in the mail, use a simulator like LiftOff or Velocidrone (my two favorites) to get used to how quadcopters respond to your stick inputs.

More sim time will also help build muscle memory for basic controls like flying forwards and level, turning properly, and coordinated flying.

Muscle memory is the key here – the more you fly, the better you’ll get.

Tip 2: Always push your limits

If you go flying and fly the exact same routine every day, you’ll get really, really good at that skill set and develop consistency, but you may not get comfortable with doing new stuff.

What I like to do is if I have 7 lipos on me, I’ll fly 4-5 lipos on my regular routine, doing things I am comfortable with, and I’ll really push myself on the last two lipos.

The reason I save pushing myself for last is that it’s very likely I am going to have a nasty crash which I may not be able to repair on the field, and to me, nothing sucks more than having to go home and discharging the batteries manually.

The other option is, of course, to have multiple setups 😉

If you’re tight on budget and can’t afford more than one setup at once, use my method. Before you push yourself on the field, it’s a good idea to practice the move a few times on the simulator.

Tip 3: Slowly increase your rates and get comfortable

Pilots like Mr Steele do crazy fast flips and rolls – they’re able to do this because their rates (how fast the quadcopter responds to stick inputs) are fairly high. In the new Betaflight configurator (and in KISS too), when you configure your rates, you’ll be able to see how many revolutions per second your quadcopter can do.

The revolutions per second is how many revolutions it would do if the stick was at full deflection.

My rates for example are such that the quadcopter can do 1100 revolutions per second, which is about one entire flip/roll in 1/3 of a second.

I didn’t start out this way, though. My initial rates were closer to one flip in half a second to 2/3 of a second, and I gradually increased the rates as I got more and more comfortable.

As a beginner, I tended to mash the sticks too much and as a result, I’d crash nearly immediately. When your fingers get more used to sensitive inputs and doing minor corrections, you can increase your rates until you get them to a point you are both satisfied with and comfortable with.

Tip 4: Combine tricks

After a while, simple flips and rolls will get boring, but then you can start combining flips with rolls, so you can do a flip and a roll, a half roll and a flip, the combinations are limitless.

An extended, elongated flip is a power loop, a half roll followed by a slow half flip back up is a split-S, and the list goes on.

To further push yourself, combine the tricks around and under obstacles.

Tip 5: Be aware of momentum

When you’re flying in one direction and suddenly turn around, your quadcopter will still have momentum in the original direction unless you boost the throttle to arrest the original momentum and create new momentum.

When flying FPV, a simple maneuver can easily reorient the camera in a new direction but you may not have lost the momentum. That’s why you sometimes end up drifting a lot more in turns unless you give throttle to push yourself over the new direction.

The same momentum can be really handy when you are doing tricks, though. Have you ever seen videos where the pilot seems to make the quadcopter float, completely against the laws of physics?

You can do that by throttling up very fast, and flipping/rolling the quad upside down before losing the upwards momentum, so you’ll still have some upwards momentum left even while you’re upside down.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, what matters is that you get stick time – lots and lots of it. The more you can get out there and fly, the better you will get.

Like everything else, the old adage holds especially true with quadcopters: practice makes perfect.

Suggested reading:

Lessons in flow: how to fly better FPV (more advanced)

What is FPV Drone Racing?

Drone racing is exactly what it sounds like. The pilots use an FPV (First Person View) system to allow them to race the drone just like if they were in the cockpit. As you can imagine FPV is absolutely necessary given the extreme speeds of the drones.

Despite there being drone racing leagues now, drone racing is certainly still new. It has gotten a lot of attention recently due to the huge 1 million dollar investment from Stephen Ross. This only confirms that drone racing will eventually get popular pretty soon.

Let this video show you exactly what it looks like:

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What Type Of Drone to Use For Racing?

FPV racing drones are specifically made just for one purpose, racing. You will have to look around online to find them. Most drones are small in size. Originally, drones were bigger in size but people started making racing drones much smaller due to the benefits in maneuvering the drones at high speeds. The smaller size also reduces the chance of them crashing into an object and it allows them to fit through smaller spaces.

There are a coupe of choices. You can either make your own drone, buy it or modify a pre made model.  Some websites such as helipal.com have drones for sale but there are many others, so be sure to shop around in order to find the one that suits you. Making your own drone is pretty difficult, but it’s definitely doable. So what should you look for when buying or making a drone for FPV Racing?

  • Speed – Speed is extremely important for obvious reasons. You want to find or build a drone that’s fast. You should try to aim for speeds of at least 50mph or above.
  • Durable and Easy To Repair – Even if you aren’t racing a drone, there is always a risk of crashing one. So you can imagine now that if your racing drones then you’re almost guaranteed to crash eventually. It doesn’t always happen but you still want to make sure that your drone can at least take a hit. You also want to make sure that you can repair it if it does get damaged.
  • Quality FPV Camera – What’s the point of having a top notch drone if you can’t see where it’s going? The FPV camera is probably the most important out of all of these. You want to make sure you can clearly see where your drone is going at all times.

Learning how to FPV Race?

If you’re interested in racing a drone then you should probably learn how to fly one first. Learn how to hover a drone and control it. After learning the basics of flying a drone, you can start learning how to race.

Now this is when you first try FPV (First Person View). First, do it in an open space while you get used to watching through your googles for the first time. After you get accustomed to it, try taking it out to a more crowded space with a few obstacles. Learn how to fly around the objects such as poles, lights, and tree’s.

It’s important to learn how to do tricks such as nosedives, flips, rolls and other things because you might eventually use them when racing. Also this help’s you understand your drone a bit more and how it reacts when moving it at high speeds.

How to get started?

Alright, so you got the drone you wanted and learned how to race it. Now what’s next? Well now you just need to join a league. A quick google search can show you drone racing leagues around your area. Some big drone racing leagues are Drone Nationals, International Drone Racing Association and The drone racing league. I would recommend you start off in a local league before you go for the big boy’s. It’s good to get some experience under your belt before you enter into competitions.

Well that’s it. I hope this can show you the basics of what FPV racing is. There is still a lot more to learn but now it’s up to you to go out and do it. You can read, read, and read but you can only learn so much reading. Going out and actually doing it will help you learn a lot more. You can check out my blog rcjudge.com for drone reviews.

In a dark, dark wood there sat three dark, dark men;
And the dark, dark men were wearing dark, dark googles;
But the dark, dark googles had NO dark, dark screens;
Because on the bright, bright screens there were…… drones!

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Finally, FPV racing comes to the FPVblog. After owning a Gemini for almost a year I finally got to use it as a FPV racer. With all my experience in filming I felt ready to take on a new challenge as a race pilot. And so I joined a local event named “Crash pilots hitting the trees”, literally.

Some pilots took the motto too literaly and landed their coopter on a tree.Some pilots took the motto too literaly and landed their copter on a tree.For me the marked track turned out to be an obstacle course instead of a race lap. Crashing and the constant adrenaline rush is part of the fun and almost inevitable given the narrow trees. Luckily, only propellors were damaged and all the drones survived the dark dark wood, ready for more races another day. It was great fun. Thanks to the organizers!

Crash pilots hard at work.Crash pilots hard at work.