A racing quadcopter might look something like this. Everyone’s aircraft is slightly different.
This is what an FPV racing pilot’s gear often looks like!
A new breed of RC pilots
Ihave big news! There is a whole new breed of RC pilots out there, and that’s good!
A few weeks ago, my friend and
coworker, Jason Cole, convinced me to
drive an hour to do some FPV racing—
or, at the very least, to watch some FPV
racing. There is a club there and Jason
has been a member of it for a while.
I have done my share of racing FPV
quadcopters in the shop, but I mostly
fly them around the back of our local
airfield. We had some FPV gates made,
so on pretty days we like to set them up
and fly through them.
If you use the internet, then you
probably know that FPV racing is
becoming big. There are races all around
the world with purses as high as $1
million! You read that right! The World
Drone Prix, held in Dubai, United Arab
Emirates, in March 2016, was the biggest
race so far, with fliers from around the
The first TBS Mega Drone X FPV
race was held April 30 and May 1,
in Louisville, Kentucky, inside the
Louisville Mega Cavern. Was it
I mention all of this because FPV
racing has taken off. It has been picked
up by conventional media and it shines a
positive light on this side of the hobby.
FPV Racing Flying Style
Do you know pilots who have never
flown RC, who will never join the AMA,
who purchase a 400-size quadcopter,
and who might fly near an airport?
Those are not FPV racers. FPV racers fly
small multirotors that are lightweight,
fast, and usually stay approximately 20
feet off of the ground. They fly through
gates that are close to 14 feet wide x 14
feet high, so how high can they go?
The pilots tend to hit the gates often,
so they are adept at putting these little
racers back together. They are real RC
builders from the old days, 3-D pilots, or
International Miniature Aerobatic Club
competitors. Some build machines and
fly the teeth off of them.
What Is FPV Racing?
In writing this, I’m assuming that most
of you know what FPV racing is, but for
those who don’t, I will describe it.
Each person has a quadcopter.
It’s basically a helicopter with four
propellers. There is a flight board that
uses science to keep these aircraft in the
air. On the front of the quadcopter is
a camera and there is also an onboard
video transmitter. The transmitter
pushes the signal to the pilot’s goggles or
To an untrained eye, an FPV race
81 Model Aviation JULY 2016
BORN TO FLY