What is a drone?
Drones are unmanned aircraft which are also termed as UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). They are available in the market with automatic program or remote-control system. They are mainly used for recreational activity but drone owners can also use it for aerial video making, photography, for inspecting industrial towers or building, to carry cargo or to track the wildlife. The drone industry is growing gradually which will lead to the proliferation of drone related jobs and work. Due to UAV unit, drone community is flourishing with advancement in drone program and technology. Now drones can be used for both general purpose and professional work. Every drone owner has to follow some laws to enjoy the drone flight i.e. Transport Canada rules in Canada or FAA rules in U.S.
Classification of drones (By size):
According to United States FAA set limits, a larger drone needs to be registered while mini and small drones which fall under the set limit of 0.55 pounds can be used without any registration. There are many standard sizes of drones but for the beginners 500mm is considered as most versatile size and 400m is treated as most valuable size.
Nano drone: If the drone fits in the palm of human hand then it is a Nano drone. This drone is also called a super small drone or micro drone i.e. Cheerson CX-10
Mini Drone: Mini drones are used for indoor activities and their price is less than the medium or small drones. It includes Eachine H8S and Hubsan X4.
Small Drones: Small drones are best to carry the light weight objects but there is no need to registered them. They include MJX X400 and Syma X5C.
Large Drones: These drones have several features but they need to be registered i.e. Syma X8 and DJI Phantoms.
Who can buy a drone?
· If you have an interest in video making and photography and looking for a new perspective of capturing the beauty of nature then camera drones are best for you.
· If you are a traveler and want to see the far off places then buy a drone.
· If you want to enjoy drone racing in different meetups then buy a racing drone.
Anybody can learn about drone with a little bit practice. So, you can pick your favorite and cost effective for your next adventure.
Racing drones consist of 4 arms and used for the racing competition in first person view event all over the world. Racing drones are different from camera drones which are slow and designed to record high quality clip from the sky.
What are the main components of a racing drone?
The main components of a racing drones are Antenna, FPV transmitter, control receiver, propeller, motor, power distribution board, flight controller, FPV Camera, electronic speed controller etc. The drone speed can be increased by decreasing the weight of the aircraft so select the components after keeping in view your main goal.
Frames: The frames can be ImpulseRC Alien FPV, DQuad Obsession and Armatten Quads Chameleon.
Flight controllers: The flight controllers are BetaFlight F3, RaceFlight Revolt F4 and Rotorgeeks SSD F3.
Motors: Most popular motors available in the market are Cobra, T-Motor and Brotherhobby.
Best advice for the FPV drone racers:
In FPV drone race, the racers use specialized FPV goggles or FPV monitor to see what drone can see in real time. Drone Racing League, World Drone Racing Chnpionship and International Drone Racing Association are some commercialized organizations which are promoting this sport. The FPV racers can take benefits from following tips:
Know your required drone model (RTF or DIY):
Any one of the RTF (ready to fly) or DIY (do it yourself) system can be selected by the FPV drone racers as per their requirement. DIY model is best when racer wants to replace the parts between a flight but if he wants to continue the race with the custom design then he should choose RTF system.
Do practice on a simulator:
If you cannot afford to buy a proper system which can be expensive then try to learn drone racing by using the FPV stimulator i.e. FPV Freerider, Drone Racing League free FPV simulator and HOTPROS. Simulators are very useful so without taking tension about the equipment failure or unsafe flying weather, start your training after plugging the transmitter in the operating system.
Learn the basic orientation of FPV:
Before an official FPV drone race, try to learn the curves properly. If you are using a simulator then you can easily deal with the sharp curves during the first 6 to 10 hours of drone flight. Try to focus more on basic things like multirotor flight proficiency and flying patterns.
Fly through the obstacles:
After learning the basics of FPV orientation and racing, do your training in open environment. First select a simple safe place or natural landscape without rocks, trees and abandoned buildings then start your training.
Check and reset the settings or control:
Never try to tilt the drone camera by yourself as FPV drones are tilt up a little bit during a high speed flight. Because the propellers hurtle the drone through the air so camera should face more forward for the race. You can change the transmitter sensitivity, drone setting or motor control as per your choice.
Become a part of local drone racing:
Try to search places or online forums to communicate with other FPV drone racers. Check out all communities or local shops like AMA model aircraft, MultiGP to get useful tips from the experience people
Best FPV Racing Drones:
Blade Inductrix FPV radio control drone: (best for beginners)
This drone is best for the indoor flight in small places. Blade Inductrix drone is built with Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope tenhnology (SAFE) which is an advance electronic flight protection system. Blade FPV drone is characterized with 25mmW video transmitter which can transmit the signals through Fatshark channels or Raceband channels to compete with other pilots. This is a ready to use drone so there is no need to replace the parts or build it. In U.S you need to get a ham license to use the video transmitter.
Eachine Wizard x220: (Best for intermediate)
It is an FPV racing drone which is ready to use and have incredible flight perfotmance. The wizard three blades (tricopter) decrease the vibration and offer maximum stability. Eachine Wizard drone consists of many easy to change parts which can be modified and upgrade easily. The extra power and simple streamline designs are best for the fantastic lift and acceleration. This drone is equipped with Led indicator at front and back end which help which help the racer at night. Eachine wizard is best for the racers who want a safe racing drone which is affordable, customize and durable.
Vortex 250 Pro: (For Experts)
Vortex drone comes with the zipper case packaging. It is tested after development and equipped wiht GoPro, Battery, SpiroNET Omni (5.8GHz) antenna, Interface Cable, SBus Interface Cable, Vortex 250 Pro Zipper case, PPM Interface Cable, Radio, Receiver and two zipper pockets.
Husban X4 H107D with HD camera:
Husban X4 drone comes with IOC (Intelligent Orientation Control) flight mode which makes drone race more easy and advance. This drone can be flown in any direction without any nose. FPV wifi is the smallest quadcopter of the world which has an instant transmitter. You can replace the motor if it is not spinning properly after a crash. The 6-axis advance flight control system (6 axis GYRO) is easy to use with greater stability and high wind resistance. To get a better image during the drone race, Husban X4 is equipped with altitude hold technology and HD camera with 1280×720 resolution.
This drones has video transmitter and flight controller for high performance and heat dissipation. The four arms of the quadcopter can be replaced any time in the flight. You can change the frequency with the receiver supported SBUS. The ease of maintenance, frequency adjustment and neat structure makes BFight 210 best for drone racing. This drone is equipped with Brushless motor, Gemfan 5152 propeller with three-blades, HS1177 camera, video transmitter, power supply with 1.5mm top plate thickness, 4mm bottom plate thickness and carbon fiber frame.
HappyModel Mobula 7:
This aircraft comes in the market with 2 batteries in series which provide 2S power supply, Multi flight modes, longer flight time, 2.4G SPI receiver, flight control combined OSD, abreast flight voltage and remote control. For better view camera tilt angle is adjustable to any direction. This drone is easy to set in beataflight and it fly great out of the box which speaks about the designer’s attention to detail.
Husban X4 Brushless Quad:
Husban Brushless drone has FPV 5.8G real time video transmission with maximum flight radius 300 meter. The flying time is extended by the large capacity of intelligent battery upto 20 minutes. The racer can use this aircraft for outdoor and indoor practice and race. The build in 1080 HD camera can be tuned to click amazing pictures and video from the sky. If the drone connection is lost from main transmitter then GPS controls the drone to enter in failsafe mode. The flight control system helps the quadcopter to automatically return back to land or home.
Drone racing global leagues:
Drone racing leagues are getting popular among the drone owners all over the world. On the basis of quality and type of equipment every league has different rules for race environment, overtaking and combat. Some well known racing leagues are as under:
Aerial Action Sports League: It is a 180 minutes combat drone and stunt drone event
MultiGP: Only FPV (First person view) radio control drones with 4 arms can participate in this league. It was started in 2015 and getting more attention with each passing year.
Aerial Grand Prix: This event has outdoor and indoor tracks with flags and gates racing league, open class rigs and pro super mini rigs.
Mini Quad Club: It is a famous Facebook group where racers can discuss the mods and meetup actively.
Racing FPV: It is a Canada base indoor racing event with open class and 250mm features. There are flags and gates for the racing drones.
Local meetup plan:
Many user groups are organizing FPV local meetups in different European and US cities for fun and practice. These events are open spec where you can participate with any type of controller and aircraft. You can join local drone racing forums or groups on reddit or meetup.com. To avoid the weather, most of the drone racing meetup or events take place indoor to ensure a fair competition. The competition is purely depending upon the pilot skills and drone design. Some of these competitions are as
Rotor cross: It is one of the best races where two racers compete with each other and crash can happen when they cross the finish line.
Drag race: Here more than 2 drones can participate in the race to observe which drone can accelerate to a small distance at more speed.
Time trial: Here time matters alot and the drone which runs faster will win.
To participate in local meetup set a budget of $200 to $800 in which you can get a high speed racing drone with flight controller, RC controller, HD camera and FPV video transmission. Eachine Wizard and VOrtex 250 Pro is a best choice for this competition.
The ready to fly and fast Blade Inductrix drone is available at the price $250 with onboard camera, amazing controller software and RC controller. It is a best drone for indoor and outdoor practice without taking risk of crash.
How to build a required drone by selecting the perfect frame?
Drone can be made from different types of material and frame configurations. There are many basic and common types of frame which can be selected for your next drone adventure like as
In RC drone industry quadcopter is the most common type of frame which consists of 4 arms connected to the main motor. It is designed in ”+” or ”x” configuration. Due to its versatile and simple design, the Parrot Bebop and DJI Phantom3 are built by using the same frame configuration.
· All flight controllers are suitable to work with quadcopter frame.
· Most simple design for the beginners.
· Failure of one propeller or motor can cause the crashing of the drone.
RC tricopter drone consists of 3 arms which are connected to the main motor. There is an angle of 120 degree between the two consecutive arms and the normal RC motor should help to rotate rear motor because the design is not symmetric.
· It is cost effective and best for the beginners.
· Less brushless motors are required for this setup.
· The building step is complicated because the copter is not symmetric.
· More force is required to operate the rear arm efficiently.
In hexacopter drone six arms are connected to the main motor. This design is perfect for the professional photographers who want to do aerial photography. Any one of the two basic layouts can be selected for the flight. In first layout front body is present between two main motors while in second layout front body is present behind the single motor.
· More thrust can be delivered with hexacopter frame.
· Heavy payloads can be lifted easily.
· Flight controller support is available.
· After motor failure drone will land safely.
· It is more complex and expensive.
· Larger battery is required to get thrust in air.
· It is heavy due to a greater number of parts.
Octocopter consist of 8 arms which are connected to the main motor. This setup is best to develop more thrust but it is not suitable for the beginners. This drone is best for the people who want to do some professional work.
· High thrust is produced with more motors which can lift heavy items.
· The drone will land safely if the motor fails during a flight.
· It required more batteries for a smooth flight.
· It is expensive.
What are the main reasons behind a drone crash?
Most drones are designed for the beginners in a simple and safe way but still there is a risk of crashing. The main causes of drone crash are discussed below
Avoiding pre flight security checkup:
A drone crash can be happened due to an improperly placed propeller or loose battery setup. So before a drone race check the whole setup to ensure the secure flight. The RC antennas should be properly aligned and battery should be in right place. Although every drone design is different from the other but many drones’ antennas need to be in upward direction, so it is better to read carefully the manual setup to get a clear understanding.
Keep an eye on the drone:
Along with looking at the main screen try to have a periodically glance at UAV. It will save your drone from a sudden crash due to tree branches or obstacles.
Out of line of vision:
People love to fly the drones for miles beyond the line of sight but it can be dangerous. Although a drone flight path app is available to facilitate the racer but in case of phone battery failure the pilot can face problem to find out the home path which can lead to a drone crash.
To ensure the flight accuracy, the racing drone should be connected to main GPS satellite which will help the drone in drifting. Be sure drone is lock into 7 satellites before the flight.
Wrong direction of the drone:
When the drone is flying high in the sky then the beginners cannot predict the exact direction of the drone which results in loss of control on the drone. So, keep a track of the exact side of drone flight.
Drone crashing into one another:
During a drone racing or complex drone flight there is a chance of drone collision with one another. The main reason can be unawareness of the presence of other drone in the racing place.
Before the drone landing there should be 30% battery which is sufficient to use in case of emergency when the landing is delayed or the pilot want to find out a new landing place. Some drones have automatic system which help the drone to fly back home when the battery reaches 15%-10% but if there is any obstacle in between the drone and home point then it can result in drone crash.
Disconnected ports or video transmission:
Due to damaged ports or loose cables the drone can crash. So, plugged the cables well before the flight and unplugged them carefully after the race.
Tips to safe your drone from unwanted crash:
Drone is a complex aircraft which depends upon many complex systems to work properly. There is no guarantee of any software or hardware, so you have to avoid some common mistakes to control the flight. An unwanted drone crash is due to uncontrolled weather conditions or connection failure, so inspect the drone damage before any drone race and follow these steps after every flight
· Clean the debris, sand or dirt from the drone with a clean piece of cloth.
· After every flight turn off the UAV or controller and remove the props and battery.
· Check the drone battery life and structural damage.
· Check bent parts, cracks or gimbal range of drone motion.
· Remove all props and observe the deformities or cracks. Replace the damage props with new one.
· Look at the drop protectors and gimbal pads for a safe flight.
· Review the video recording or HD camera result for better sight.
· Try a slow long distance low flight to check the performance of the drone.
Drones may require registration:
According to the U.S Federal Aviation Administration the drones whose weight is more than 0.55 pound or less than 55 pounds requires registration. The registration is valid for 3 year within 5$. You must be 13 years old to apply for registration and After it your drone will get a unique identification number.
Carefully read the drone name:
When you will search for a required drone then you will come across many acronyms. Understanding of these words is necessary to get a best drone for your next adventure. Like
· RTF means ready to fly. In this drone you have to charge the drone battery, bind and install the controller and propeller after some time.
· BNF means bind to fly. These drones have no controller so you have to install app or software on your android before a flight.
· ARF means almost ready to fly. These drones have no motors, kits connected with transmitters, flight controller or batteries. So, read the components of the drone to get a clear idea which thing is missing.
· FPV means first person view. These drones are capable to stream the video from FPV to a VR headset, phone or any device. It is best for drone racing or photography.
· LiPo means Lithium polymer. Mostly these drone have a special battery made up of lithium polymer which change the flight time and your drone can stay in air for a longer time.
Understand your needs:
Ask yourself why you want to buy a drone. All drones are not easy to fly and their flying power depend upon the internal software and system which is flight controller. For beginners manual control drones are useless, so they should buy drones with extra stability. The low price drones can be less efficient due to lack of additional sensors and flight controller, but beginners can use it for getting initial drone training.
Select right mobile for controlling drone:
Along with drone controllers, you can also control the drone with a mobile phone. But drone’s software cannot run on outdated or old models, so try to choose that mobile on which drone software can run properly. Samsung galaxy S7 has fast processor, large display and long battery which is perfect for a drone.
Fly when conditions are better:
If you have experience of drone flying then do not damage your drone with a poor flying planning in bad conditions. Clear sky with less breeze is best to fly the drone. The mini drone can be flown in wind lower than 10 miles/hour while for larger drones the requirement is 20 miles/ hours. Many drones do not have lights. The drone light only helps to guess the position of the drone but it will not show the obstacles in the path like building or tree so avoid to fly the drone in night.
Choose right place to fly:
Privacy issues arise in urban and residential area, so try to avoid these places for drone flight. Never choose house, stadium, churches, school, power station, public park, busy roads if you cannot face people after raising suspicion. Open field or land are best for practice.
Read carefully flying guideline:
You can read FA issued guideline to operate your aircraft. Although these rules were issued in 1981 but still, they are enforced by the FAA i.e.
· Remain clear with your flight and never interfere with Drone operations.
· Never fly drone out of your line of sight.
· Never fly in bad weather conditions.
· Never fly after having drug or alcohol.
· Never fly over moving vehicles or people. Always fly 25 feet away from important properties or individuals.
· Never fly in no-flyzone areas and airport.
Hopefully you have learned many things from this article about racing drones, buying guide, best tips and drone crashing which will help you in the selection of your own favorite drone. We have shared the information of drone racing league and meetup which you can join in future. If there is any question then ask them in comment section without any hesitation.