Racing Drones for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

Drones are one of the most mainstream activities of the 21st century. Every photographer, YouTuber, traveler, hiker, and videographer owns a few of these bad boys. Even if a person doesn’t have any use for a $1000 drone, they’ll still buy one just because!

So, why not turn your urge to buy a drone into a fun and healthy activity that could actually become pretty exciting? Or maybe you own a drone and you’re bored with just flying it around the block or in your backyard, maybe you need more excitement! If you’re curious as to what drone racing is or what are the best practices, read on.

Drone racing isn’t just a hobby, it’s an actual sport these days and there are tournaments also organized under the name of The Drone Racing League and you can also bet there are some serious cash prizes involved.

Now that you know what’s in it for you, let’s move on and discuss what drone racing actually is, some interesting facts about the said drones, things you need to know about racing before you get into it, and finally, the details of a few of the best racing drones out there.

What is Drone Racing?

Drone racing, or more commonly known in the technical world, FPV drone racing is a sport where the person controlling the robot can only see what the drone sees through a camera mounted on the machine. Just like any other type of racing sport, Drone Racing consists of an obstacle course and the drone to traverse through it the fastest is declared the winner.

It was Australia that first started the trend of drone racing back in 2013. But, it wasn’t able to gain much recognition back then. The Aussies continued their struggle to make it an official sport throughout numerous gatherings of racers throughout the course of 2014. However, the proper inauguration was when the American Drone Racing League (DRL) took this spare time leisure activity and turned it into a professional sport. We’ll talk about the DRL in detail a bit later in the article.

What Do You Need to Get Started with Drone Racing?

So, what is the equipment you need to get into drone racing? Automated Curiosity has you covered with a checklist. If you wish to make a career in drone racing, you’re going to need the following equipment.

Drone: Well, this one is pretty obviously. There’s two ways to get a drone. One is to obviously buy one, there are some pretty amazing options out there available for pre-built drones. But, if you’re a bit crafty with your hands and knows engineering, we suggest you build one. A built drone will always beat a drone picked up from a shelf in Best Buy.

Controllers: Good controllers are the most important thing in your whole arsenal. Most people like to show off with their equipment and get really expensive and good looking controllers; we’re here to tell you that this is a waste of money. If you’re looking for a reliable vendor of controllers, look for a company called FrSky. They’ve made a great reputation for themselves in the world of controllers and are regarded as one of the finest manufacturers out there. So, if you’re looking for affordable, decent looking, but most importantly, durable controllers, FrSky is the way to go.

Goggles: Flying drones usually works with a screen on your controller, but in drone racing, most people prefer to do it the modern way and use 3D goggles. This way there is absolutely no distractions, sun glare, etc. Sure, they’re expensive because obviously, they’re 3D goggles. But, if you’re looking for average priced, quality products, then the Fat Shark is a company you should check out. You’re also going to need video receivers and antennas to make the goggles work. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth aren’t good enough for a smooth video transmission, so radio waves are a much better option.

Batteries: Get batteries, more batteries and guess what – Even more batteries! The worst thing that could possibly happen during a race is having your drone run out of battery. Make sure you spend a decent bit of cash on a good LIPO battery that lasts a long time. Most folk get a 1300 mAh battery which is more than enough for a prebuilt drone. However, if you have a custom built, make sure you know how much power it needs and get batteries accordingly.

How Fast Can Drones Really Go?

Instead of just going over the speed of racing drones, we’re going to go over the speeds of regular drones as well so you understand exactly how fast racing drones are. So, first off, let’s talk about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and their rules and regulations on drones. Yes, drones aren’t meant to fly too high, but the fact is that anything in the air has to follow the rules of the FAA. For regular photography drones, the FAA has limited the speed to 50-70 mph. This speed is just to ensure the safety of civilians as most of the time, the drones will fly in heavily crowded areas. As far as racing drones are considered, the legal speed is up to a 100 mph. However, this speed is only designated for non-sanctioned races. When it comes to the DRL or some professional league, the FAA regulations are put at a hold and drones are allowed to go as fast as they can. If you’re looking for a number, racing drones in leagues can go up to 129 mph!

Safety Precautions

Aerial drone racing is still a relatively fresh concept, so you can guarantee that there are hundreds of official as well as unofficial safety precautions that pilots have to abide by. Let’s talk about some of the rules briefly.

  • Get a deeper understanding of the local aviation rules and regulations of your locality.
  • When you’re racing, never fly over a crowd of people. A crashing drone could actually prove to be fatal for someone.
  • When racing with others, make sure that the frequency of your drone doesn’t interfere with other’s and vice versa.
  • Make sure your drone has an LED light installed so other’s can see your drone and avoid crashes.
  • If your drone crashes, don’t rush out onto the track to pick it up until all the other drones have touched the ground.
  • Before touching a crashed drone, make sure you pull the power plug.

Drone Racing League

The DRL, or the Drone Racing League, is one of the very first professional drone racing leagues introduced in the world. It’s a First Person View racing course where the pilot only sees through the eyes of a drone. These machines race on a three dimensional course and Quartz explains it as ‘pod-racing from Star Wards’. Yes, the DRL might seem like something that a not of people attend, but you’re wrong to think that. The sport is extremely popular and it’s broadcasted globally on ESPN, Sky Sports, ProSiebenSat 1, FOX Sports, Groupe AB and Disney XD.

The DRL comes from big money. They have a bunch of high-up investors that include companies like the WWE, Liberty Media, Sky, Lux Capital and sponsors that include, BMW, the US Air Force and Allianz.

The DRL is also planning on making an autonomous version of the league. Instead of allowing manned drones to race, individuals will create AI-powered drones which will race a course without any human intervention. This league will be called the AIRR, the Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing.

Best Racing Drone

Considering the fact that we’re talking to you guys, the beginners who have minimal to no knowledge about racing drones, we’re going to propose a drone that is perfectly suited for folks like you. It’s one of the top FPV Racing Drones ever made and it is the Force1 Racing Drone.

The Force1 is a top-of-the-line drone that comes pre-packed with a lot of the things that a beginner will need. The Force1 bit includes a VR Headset, brushless drone motor, SP F3 Flight Remote Control, a Transmitter, a charger and a drone case. The drone is equipped with one of the most advanced connectivity setups you could install on a drone. Along with that, the frame of the drone is reinforced with premium-grade carbon fiber to ensure durability.

We did say that it was for beginners, so the controller included a key to make take-off and landing much faster. Just press one button, and voila! You’re done. There are also a few more modes and flying sequences that can make controlling the drone so much more easier and convenient. Force1 comes with a high-quality camera with a CCD sensor for enhanced maneuverability. One thing can be said for certain, if you’re confused about what drone you should buy as a beginner, there’s no better option out there than the Force1 Racing Drone.

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