Maybe you’ve surfed the internet looking for something to do, or maybe you want to take your drone to the next level, but one thing is for certain: drone racing caught your eye. At Altitude Motion Media, we focus on the aerial photography aspect of flying drones, but drone racing has piqued our interest a time or two. Here are a few fun facts and things you need to know about drone racing.
Drone racing began in late 2014 in Australia as an amateur sport. Since those days, drone racing has grown in popularity so much so that it is considered one of the sports of tomorrow. From those early days in late 2014, there are now leagues you can join, racing associations to enforce rules and regulations, and races held all over the world.
The first thing to know is that your average drone isn’t for drone racing. Most market drones have a quadcopter design with the motors in a typically X-pattern like the DJI Phantom─which is great for aerial photography, but not so much for drone racing. Your typical quadcopter is designed to focus on hovering, rather than maneuvering around obstacles and going high speeds. Quadcopters used in drone racing need to be lightweight, and have the motors in a H-pattern that will focus the drone’s energy on moving forward and fast, rather than up.
There are three types of races that you can participate in: rotorcross which revolves around multiple drones passing a specific course as quickly as possible, drag racing in which the whole race relies on acceleration and top speed, and the time trial option which relies on maneuverability and speed. During races, drone pilots will use FPV (First Person View) which means they can only see what the drones see through a camera mounted on the nose of the drone that transmits the images via radiowaves to a set of goggles or a monitor worn by the pilot. Making sure that the drone’s controller, goggles or monitor, and the drone are synced is important during races, since one malfunction can be the difference between a loss and a win.
As drone racing grew into a popular sport, media outlets began to televise the events. The 2016 DR1 Invitational aired on the Discovery Channel and Eurosport, broadcasting in over 70 countries and was the most watched drone racing event of the year.
The 2017 DR1 Racing’s DHL Championship Series Fueled by Mountain Dew consisted of six races in locations around the world, with the finals airing on CBS and Eurosport. The broadcast of the series finals on CBS drew the largest audience ever for a professional drone race on network television.
In 2015 the US Fat Shark National Drone Racing Championships were held in a stadium at the California State Fair. Over 100 competitors competed in three events for a prize of $25,000.
In 2016 there was a $15,000 purse awarded to the winner of the MultiGP National Championships held in Muncie, IN and a $57,000 purse awarded to the winner of the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships Presented by GoPro.
The World Drone Prix held in Dubai saw the youngest competitor, 15-year-old Luke Bannister, walk away with a $250,000 purse in 2016.
People to Follow
If you’re still deciding whether drone racing is for you, but you’d like to keep up-to-date with the latest racing news, you can follow these people on twitter to quench your racing thirst.
@DroneRaceLeague This twitter account will keep you up-to-date on the latest events, deadlines, and gear.
@Multi_GP The official twitter account for the MultiGP drone racing league. There are tons of tweets to feed your drone racing needs from drone race videos to event sign-ups.
@dronegypsy The twitter account to keep you up to date on the latest advancements on FPV goggles, drones, and drone news in general.
With so many things drones can do, why not give racing a try? We’ll see you next time.
Also, if you are in our home town of Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Lincoln Drone Racing group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/461668914000856/
You’ve waited months for this moment. You’ve dropped hints about the drone you wanted this Christmas like throwing out candy at a parade. Maybe you left pictures of the DJI Mavic Pro on top of that stack of magazines on your coffee table (and every other available surface of your house), or mentioned the word ‘drone’ several times per conversation just to make sure your message was clear. And then the morning arrived. Christmas. The first one up and to the tree, you bounced on the balls of your feet waiting to get your hands on your gifts, inpatient to see if all your hint-dropping had paid off. You tore through that wrapping paper and there it was. The drone you’d been hoping for was finally in your hands.
Now that Christmas is over and you’ve had time to get to know how your new drone works, it’s time for the fun to begin. Altitude Motion Media recommends reading all of the manufacturer’s instructions, and our own tips on winterizing (http://www.altitudemotion.com/blog/2017/12/tips-on-flying-your-drone-in-the-winter) in order to fully enjoy your new drone. Some of our favorite activities can be done now, and are a great way to get to know your drone!
Race or Challenge Your Friends
You finally have your drone─why not take it out for a spin and see what it can do? A little friendly competition can help you get used to how your drone handles and maneuvers. Once you get a handle on flying your drone, you can look up local drone racing events and put your newly acquired skills to the test. If you’re feeling sociable, join or start a group in your area.
Make a Movie
In recent years, Hollywood has used drones to capture those hard-to-shoot aerial shots, and now you can too. While drones tend to be a bit noisy for film, you can use drones to get those hard-to-reach angles that you can’t get from the ground. The results could be spectacular. Use your drone to make a movie of family get-togethers or your pets. It’s great practice for when the temperatures rise.
Take Epic Selfies
Drones like the DJI spark make taking selfies a breeze. The small, compact bodies give them the upper hand on delivering clean and concise images, as well as make them easy to take with you on-the-go. Grab your friends, and get ready for the perfect selfie (#dronefie).
Drone Air Show
Put on an air show with a group of friends or drone club and put your flying skills to the test. Be sure to check your city and state regulations first, to ensure you are within city and state ordinances.
Aerial Photography and Videography
Take pictures and video of the nature and wildlife in your area, natural and historical landmarks, buildings, and other interesting people, places, or things. Don’t forget to take your drone with you on your next vacation or family outing to capture pictures of the amazing sights from a different view, like the whales we captured off the coast of California a few years ago. https://youtu.be/Yd7ct4RCJWM
Aerial photography is also a great way to get a look at your own house and yard. Check your gutters without climbing a ladder, inspect your roof for things that could cause a lot of damage later, while your feet stay safely planted on the ground. Not sure where that frisbee landed? Check it out with the drone. You can even spy on your pets from the comfort of your porch.
What are you waiting for? Grab your drone and go have fun! We’ll see you next time.
-The Altitude Motion Media Team
It’s winter time again, and with the change in temperature you might think it will put a damper on your drone fun. It’s our goal at Altitude Motion Media that our customers and fans have a safe and fun time. Enhance your experience with some useful tips to keep you flying no matter what the temperature.
Check the Weather
It’s never a good idea to fly your drone in bad weather. Knowing what the weather will be like will help keep you from putting your drone in a position to get ruined. Moisture can ruin the electronics on your drone, so avoid flying your drone during rain storms or snow. High winds are common during the winter months, so watch out for those as well as precipitation. Check for wind speed before flight to make sure that your drone is capable to fly. If there are high winds, fly with caution, especially if you aren’t used to flying in these sorts of conditions.
Keep the Drone Dry
Don’t fly into the clouds. Clouds are full of moisture, and moisture will harm the drone’s electronics. Flying into a cloud can cause costly damage. Avoiding moisture as much as possible is a good way of making sure that your drone will have a safe flight. Make sure everything is dry. Wet equipment can cause ice build-up on your drone in low temperatures and higher altitudes which can cause it to drop out of the sky.
Plan Your Flight Location
Using a launch pad could help keep your drone dry and free of mud and dirt. Avoid flying in difficult locations like over large bodies of water. You may need to land your drone on short notice, like if it starts raining or the temperature drops. Flying over land will reduce the chances of damaging your drone.
Dress for the Weather
Your hands will be exposed to the cold temperatures, so make sure you keep them covered. If you are using a smartphone or tablet, make sure you are able to use your gloves with the screen and you protect your equipment at all times.
Maximize Flight Time
Flying a drone in higher altitudes causes the propellers to spin faster which causes the battery to drain faster. It’s important to maintain a safe altitude to maximize your flight. Similarly, avoid adding any extra weight. Keep the extra add-ons off and it will maximize your flight time in the cold weather. You can also maximize your flight time in cold weather by checking your batteries. Cold weather causes batteries to drain faster. Voltage-drops can cause your drone to think the battery is drained when it’s not, and your drone can fall out of the sky.
Maintaining Battery Life
Check batteries regularly. Make sure they are in good condition and hold a charge.
Even when your batteries are fully charged and necessary precautions are made, limit your flight time. Cooler temperatures cause the battery to drain faster, so don’t fly your drone until the battery is dead or for as long as usual.
When you’re finished, remember to wipe down your drone with a towel to make sure it’s completely dry before storing, so it’s ready to go next time you fly. We hope you found these tips useful, and we’ll see you next time.