A modern twist on the remote-controlled car or helicopter, drones are the latest way to get involved in the racing action. Many people utilize their drones not only as a fun hobby, but also in a competitive nature.
What makes the races exciting is the “first person view” feature on a racing drone. You are transported directly into the middle of the action! Much like a regular drone, when it comes to selecting a racing drone, you can expect to pay anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. For a beginner, it is wise to go with a RTF model (this stands for “ready to fly”).
With an RTF drone, there will be little to no assembly required before you race. All of the components that you need should come with the kit that you purchase. As you become more experienced, you can modify your drone to raise its specs, much like a car.
BNF models basically mean that you will need to provide your own transmitter. This isn’t a problem for most, because the installation of a transmitter is relatively easy to master.
The most technical way to start with a racing drone is with an ARF model. These drones will require parts/batteries before they can be operable. A lot of pilots choose to go with an ARF because they enjoy the building aspect of them.
Although, the experts all agree — A winning drone is one that is built up and customized. Familiarity with technology is only going to provide you with the upper hand when it comes to drone racing. The different kits and parts that can be added are becoming more advanced every single year.
Many people make an investment towards their aircraft, choosing to equip their drone with the latest gadgets. If you aren’t fond of building, you can purchase a drone that already comes up to racing standards. In this case, you will be spending more money upfront because the quality will already be present.
No matter what your stance is on customization, many will agree that the real fun comes from the thrill of flying in a race. There is no other sport quite like it, and this is all thanks to the modernization that comes with drones and drone culture.
There are certain kits that garner great reviews from their users. The following are a collection of some of the very best ones:
Eachine Wizard x220
This model is RTF, and it comes in at an affordable rate for a racing drone. The Eachine Wizard boasts stability and control, essential for winning the race.
It is designed to lift off effortlessly and stay streamlined. If you do wish to customize it, you can use many different types of propellers on the body. It also has LED lighting for if you wish to fly in conditions with limited visibility.
Emax Hawk 5
Another affordable model for a beginner, this drone gets excellent customer ratings. The Emax Hawk provides vibrant imagery for every race that you enter. For an even longer flight time than most, it contains magnum power system that will keep you going.
This drone is sleek, modern, and elegant. If you’re looking for power, you will get it with this Emax Hawk!
Blade Vortex 230
If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, the Blade Vortex will take you to the next level of drone racing. This is a bind-n-fly model, meaning, you will have to do some assembly yourself.
BNF drones require that you have your own transmitter. With this option available, you will be able to customize the drone to your liking. If you see drone racing becoming a permanent hobby in your life, it is worth investing in the Blade Vortex.
DJI Flame Wheel
Again an ARF drone is “almost ready to fly.” If you are looking to build your device from the base up, then an ARF such as the DJI Flame Wheel is the perfect choice.
Lightweight and packing stealth, you will have to assemble the parts, plus provide some of them. This model will give you what you need to create your drone, and then you must select which controller, battery, and radio you would like to use to accompany it. Selecting a model like this one allows you to have the most hands-on experience.
Need for Speed
One of the main factors to winning a race is being the fastest one out on the track. A lot of pilots don’t realize that a key to having a fast drone not only comes from its parts, but also its camera angle. Keeping the angle on your drone at the right tilt can actually help you stay faster, longer.
This all comes with a little bit of trial and error. Before you begin racing, you can try to set your camera in different positions. Most agree that keeping the camera tilted upward seems to provide the best results.
Throttle is also a component that you will need to consider. In order to keep your camera angle level, you might need to adjust your throttle level to accommodate this. Again, this all depends on the comfort of the pilot and personal preferences.
While having a drone to race is a big first step, practicing flying will be the next step. You are going to want to practice as much as you can before you race your drone. Be sure to check and observe any local drone laws that are in place near you before you begin your flights.
Make sure that you bring the following items with you as you begin to take practice flights:
– Charged batteries: Even if your original batteries are all charged up and ready to go, you never know what can happen. It is always smart to keep spares on hand, so that you will be able to replace them in a pinch.
– Extra propellers: The propellers are some of the most vulnerable parts of your drone. Make sure that you also bring spares in case you need to do some last-minute replacements while you are out on the field.
– Micro SD card: For keeping your videos all in one place, make sure that you have an SD card handy. Watching your practice sessions can help you to improve your flying abilities before you race.
– Travel tools: While it likely isn’t possible to bring all of your essential tools, make a small pack of the ones that you find most important. Tools that serve multiple purposes do great in travel kits, because they eliminate the need to take up a lot of space. Think efficiency!
Acro mode is recommended for when you are flying to practice, as well as flying to race. Many experienced pilots agree that flying your drone on any sort of stabilizer modes will only hinder your progress in the future; you might learn lazy techniques because you are used to the device operating itself. Truly take the time to know how your drone flies, and how you can best control it.
Aside from physically flying your drone, you can also utilize the help of simulator programs. There are countless ways for you to practice using your controls without actually flying your drone. Using these simulators will give you the ultimate comfort and familiarity that you will need to win your races.
You are also going to want to build up your stash of parts and tools as you learn more. By doing your research, you can see which items other pilots are fond of.
It is smart to keep extra motors, antennas, and camera lenses on hand. These are a few of the things that might need to be replaced regularly, especially if you are doing several races each month.
A quick internet search will connect you with thousands of other people who belong to the drone racing community. There is even a global league that has been set up, as drone racing is continually growing in popularity. Although, it is a rather organized community, the objective is still to have as much fun as possible while incorporating your most creative and technical ideas into one.