Making waves in the world of extreme sports is the exciting sport of drone racing. Are you brave enough to be part of it? Before you jump in, we’re breaking down everything you need to help you get started on your new hobby.
What is drone racing?
Properly known as FPV drone racing, it is a new kind of sport where participants (called pilots) control drones and complete a set course in the fastest possible time. FPV stands for first person view, meaning, the pilots controlling the drones see what the drones see. This is possible through the cameras attached to the drones, with the images transmitted through radio waves. The pilots get this first person view through the goggles they wear.
Radio waves are used to control the drones as they fly through different courses. The technology used for both the drones and the goggles are constantly being improved, as more and more fans and players are attracted to the sport.
Who can be a drone pilot?
The good news is that anyone can get into it! It’s a hobby where gender, age, and background are irrelevant. Compared to other racing disciplines, drones are actually quite affordable so the barrier to entry is low.
What happens during a drone race?
At a typical drone race, pilots sit next to each other in their “cockpit” onstage and wear their FPV goggles to fly through the tracks from the POV of their respective drones, which they control remotely. The quadrocopters have LED lights in different colors attached to them to mark which one belongs to which pilot.
From the start of the track up to the finish line, there are different gates and obstacles that form a three-dimensional race track for the quadrocopters to go through. Often due to their high speeds (maximum speed is over 160 kph) and high acceleration (0 to 100 kph), it is hard to avoid accidents on the tracks.
How to start drone racing
As with most hobbies, flying a drone takes a lot of practice and patience in the beginning.
Prepare properly, but also accept the fact that accidents are part of the process.
Here are some tips on getting started with flying a race drone:
Buying a drone
As mentioned earlier, race drones for beginners can be purchased at a comparatively low price. The best affordable drones have become more feature-packed and easier to use for beginners in the recent years, making them ideal choices for starter pilots before moving on to pricer, more pro drones.
Starter racing drones in the Philippines can go for as high as Php 28,000 and as low as Php 6,000.
Flying for the first time
In most instances, you can fly immediately after unpacking the drone.To do this, place the drone on the ground in front of you, with the camera pointed away from you. Then take control of the remote. It is not recommended that you start using your FPV goggles in the beginning; it’s important that you get the hang of controlling the drone first.
Next is to start flying. The best way is to move the throttle on the remote control in a vertical direction. Next, start making small changes of direction with the left stick.
When you’re comfortable controlling the drone, that’s when you can start using the FPV goggles. Again, make sure that the camera is facing away from you and pointing forward.
While you may be using small drones, it’s still important that you adhere to drone safety codes. Here are some general safety guidelines you need to remember:
- Never fly your drone above 400ft.
- Don’t fly your drone over people or properties. Ensure you keep a distance of at least 150 meters.
- The most important rule of flying: always keep line of sight with your drone.
Where to practice drone racing in the Philippines
Ready to start flying? Pack your gear and head over to Industria to get your drone on. Industria was the venue of drone racing events like The Game of Drones. The event brought together the country’s biggest drone racing enthusiasts to face off in the Philippines’ biggest drone competition. It was held in The Bike Playground, a 10-hectare mixed-use community envisioned by Ortigas & Company, and now new home for local drone racing enthusiasts.
Industria is part of Ortigas & Company, one of the pioneers in the Philippine real estate landscape. To learn more about drone racing and other attractions that Industria has to offer, feel free to read more at the Ortigas Malls website.