You would never know that these people are engaged in high-speed racing.
appears to be five pilots sitting in lawn
chairs with weird-looking boxes on their
heads. The quadcopters are so small that
you might not see them racing in the
The fun really happens when you put
on a set of goggles. You are magically
in the quadcopter. It is a cross between
being in a Formula One race car and a
Star Wars speeder bike.
The course has flags and gates that
the aircraft fly through. They all race
together, so there are sometimes midairs.
A multirotor is usually taken out by a
gate, a tree, or sometimes the ground.
FPV racing is interesting because you
sit down for it. If you don’t sit down,
you tend to move around as if you’re
in the quadcopter—your brain thinks
you are! I have seen people fall down
because their eyes tricked their brains!
Some courses are so difficult to
maneuver that simply finishing the race
could result in a win. Fast doesn’t always
all of this right is amazing, and when you
see the whole thing through the goggles,
The awesome thing about this sport is
that you can ride along with the racers.
If you have a set of goggles, you can find
the same frequency that the pilots are
on and see what they are seeing. Some
FPV events look empty because the
spectators are in their tents, watching
the race in their goggles. It is a whole
new spin on what we do in the RC
world, and it’s highly addictive!
Why Am I So Excited?
When Jason and I rolled into the
FPV racing field (a cow pasture with
trees), I was surprised to see how young
the pilots were. They were mostly in
their 20s and 30s. They pitted behind
their cars with a table and some chairs,
where they prepped and fixed their
quadcopters before and after heats. I
only knew a few people there, so I was
curious about what type of pilots I was
We were immediately greeted by two
racers who wanted to talk about the
quadcopters on our table. We discussed
antennas, goggles, and airframes.
Everyone there was welcoming and I
knew right away that these were real RC
I asked the racers how long they had
been in the hobby. Many of them had
only been in RC for a few months! They
82 Model Aviation JULY 2016
BORN TO FLY