Drones and FPV - A Female Perspective

By: Kathleen Hickey

I started Sex Love and Drones a little over a year ago. At the time there were very few recognizable women in the drone, and FPV communities. This blog has been a year in the making, and in that year I've been able to meet more amazing women. As more females are entering the industry, it's a perfect time to meet some of the women that are, and have been paving the way. From pilots, to race organizers, and supportive significant others, please let me introduce some of the women that make the drone world go round. 

Megan Proulx - DroneDoll

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Bio: My name is Megan, I'm 28 years old and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota with my boyfriend Simon, aka MartyFlyzzz. I'm sort of a space cadet. I like spending a lot of time thinking and being inside my own head. Spirituality, health and wellness are all really important to me. Nature is my greatest source of energy and inspiration, and I'm continually working on strengthening my connection to the Universe. I've always been more of an introvert, but flying FPV really helps to push me out of my bubble. It allows me to transform my weaknesses into strengths. Simon and I are about to celebrate three years together - I never would have imagined that flying drones, of all things, would be such a big thing in our lives. It's been just over a year now since I started flying and I'm so thankful for all of the experiences I've had, people I've met, and the support I've received so far from my sponsors, SpaceOneFPV and Tattu. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the coming year brings and I plan to leave my mark on it. #LadiesLoveFPV

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

I was introduced to mini quads in early 2015, when Simon started flying FPV. I found myself accompanying him to various parks almost every single day so he could practice flying. Flying drones started to become really time consuming and I became less and less thrilled about the idea of continuing to spend every bit of my free time spotting for Simon. I basically gave myself an ultimatum. I had to either start flying or I had to accept the fact that Simon had a new love in his life and I would forever be the third wheel. So I started flying.

Q. What initially attracted you to it?

Initially, I wasn't attracted to the idea of flying mini quads at all. I found it to be a little too far outside of my comfort zone and I was convinced that, if given the chance to fly FPV, I would fail especially. Like I mentioned earlier, my decision to start flying was largely motivated by my desire to save my relationship with Simon. I wasn't entirely convinced it was something I could ever see myself participating in on a more serious level, but once I started learning to fly I discovered that I had a sort of naturally ability to fly the quad and I was able to progress fairly quickly.   

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming?

Gaming has never been a thing for me. Of course I've played my fair share of video and computer games, but my interest and skill level has never really evolved far beyond Mario Kart and......well, just Mario Kart. My dad has been building and flying RC fixed wings for at least 30 years. My brother builds and flies them as well, so RC has always been a part of my family's lives.        

Q. What is your favorite part about flying? 

The thing I enjoy most about flying FPV is the separation of your mind from your body that you can achieve. Once you get to a place where you're in control and you feel confident in your flying, you can really begin to use your flights as a form of expression and it becomes this incredible creative outlet for you. It's beyond exciting to see the progression of FPV freestyle as a form of art, and the idea of drone racing as a spectator sport is also very intriguing. These two facets of FPV sort of balance each other out, so the hobby has a lot of potential to become this really well-rounded creature that offers something for everyone.  

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products?

I'm currently flying two different 5" Alien set ups. One with Lumenier 2206 2350's on RaceFlight, and the other with Emax 2205 2300's on KISS. I've mostly been flying freestyle and I absolutely love flying the Alien frames. However, I'm starting to become more involved in racing so I'll be adding a racing quad to the mix very soon. I spent a lot of time flying a Diatone 150 when I was first learning. I think this is a great option for anyone just getting into FPV. A quad this size can take a lot of hits without doing any real significant damage, and it's much less intimidating to fly overall.  

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge? 

The biggest challenge for me is being motivated enough to build my own quad. The first quad I ever attempted to build was a New Era 180 from SpaceOneFPV. The only soldering I had ever done was in an Art Metals course that I took while I was in college. It turns out, soldering jewelry is nothing like soldering electronics. Needless to say, I need a lot of help from Simon. I'm just not the engineering, computer science, fully understands electronics type of person. My Bachelor's Degree is in Fine Art and Graphic Design, so......call me if you need a logo or any other type of art and design work ;)

Q. There is an increasing number of women that are starting to fly, but the field is still predominately male. What would you say is the biggest reason for that?

I think RC hobbies in general have always been this thing that the guys do together. I watched my dad build and fly radio controlled fixed wing airplanes my entire childhood and I never once thought to ask if I could be involved. Society taught me that women just don't do those things. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I was definitely operating by that same principle when Simon started flying. To me, flying drones would always be his thing because I could never be good at it....because I'm a woman......right? A lot of the women I know who are into flying were introduced to it by their boyfriend or husband, and I'm sure some of them were also reluctant to participate at first. I think for a certain generation of women, drone racing would be considered a men's sport or activity. I was one of the first women to get involved in the FPV community, and both men and women alike were surprised to see that I was flying a drone. Their reaction was always something like, "Wait, she flies too?!" 

Now a lot more women have started flying (Yay!), but I would say that the general public might still assume that it's a men's sport since it's mostly guys that we're seeing featured on television and in various articles and advertisements. The fields of engineering and computer science have traditionally been dominated by men as well, so I think this is also something that possibly contributes to there being fewer women participating in FPV.  

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

I would tell her that the intimidation she feels is all the more reason to get involved. The most effective way of making the FPV community feel more welcoming to women is to have more women in the community. There's a lot of potential for personal growth being a woman in a male-dominated sport or hobby, and I try to remember that any sort of self-doubt or intimidation I may feel is really just the universe presenting me with an opportunity to gain strength and knowledge. 

Q. Do you feel the Drone/FPV community does a good job of reaching out to women? If so, what are the things you see that are being done to do that, and if not, do you have any ideas of what can be done to reach out?

In my experience, the Drone/FPV community has been incredibly supportive of the women. A lot more women have joined the community throughout the past year, but we're still a relatively small group. It's difficult to gauge if we're actually taken seriously as pilots at this point. I think a lot of companies are willing to send us t-shirts and stickers, but I would love to see a greater effort towards getting women out flying. Sure, we'll probably take a selfie with your swag, but the guys aren't the only ones who need props, motors, and batteries to stay in the air. Send us some gear! 

Q. I’ve had a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them? 

I get asked this question a lot. I always suggest that they start small - like maybe 2 carats and a dozen roses. Just kidding....sort of :) What worked for me was having a quad to learn how to fly with that I wasn't intimidated by. So I would suggest building some sort of micro quad for your significant other. Then make up a little track they can fly around while you're at the park. Simon would make up a simple course using the trees to designate turns and I would practice flying through it over and over. I've found it really helpful to set a goal, which was to fly through the course without crashing. That way, I could track my progress and continue to set new, more challenging goals.

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. Have any of you experienced that as well? 

Having your significant other teach you how to fly can definitely effect the dynamic of your relationship, and this was something that I used to struggle with a lot. I didn't like that Simon basically became my coach, and I really didn't like that he gave me constructive criticism. What nerve he had! I just wanted him to tell me how amazing I was and that I could do no wrong. That wouldn't have helped me become a better pilot though. He's a really great teacher and I couldn't ask for a better partner. His belief in me is what keeps me going.   

 

For more on Megan, visit her on social media: 

Facebook * Instagram * YouTube

 

Magdalena Klos - MGfpv

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Bio: Magdalena Klos, born in '89.  Polish girl, livin' in UK since 2013). I'm in love with mini drones and sometimes with my Phantom4! Relationship? Sorry, I'm taken. I love traveling and photography. Im sponsored by DroneBit

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

My boyfriend was flying first. I remember the day when I said to him, I wanna try to fly and see how it is. I'm so thankful for that. He is a big motivation for me. 

Q. What initially attracted you to it? 

This view from goggle, and fun with flying. This is incredible, you can meet a lot of different people, and all of them love the same hobby, so doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, just enjoy this amazing hobby with your friends and have fun.

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming? 

Yeah, of course. I have RC car, and couple of planes but I'm addicted to drones.

Q. What is your favorite part about flying? 

The feeling when I'm in the air. I can do whatever I want, I can see the world from different point of view. That's an amazing feeling and experience. I really recommend to try.

Q. How often do you fly? 

A: Not often with my Pinky (RD210) sometimes 2-3 times per month. I have a nano quad and it's perfect for winter. I can fly wherever I want.

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products? 

Name of drone: PINKY, set up: Frame - RD210, KINGKONG motors 2204-2300KV, DYS SN20A mini esc, Flight controller - Naze 32 Revision 6. 

Magdalena's quad is pictures on the right. 

Magdalena's quad is pictures on the right. 

Q. What are the biggest advantages, and disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male community? 

It's just advantages, males love females flying with drones.

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race? 

I don't race. I prefer freestyle!

Q. I’ve had a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them? 

A: Buy her first drone. I think the best one for the 1st drone will be - nano drone. Make this drone more for female, maybe with pink, purple or blue color and you will see, she will love it ! 

For more on Magdalena, visit her on social media:

Facebook * Instagram * YouTube

 

Katarina Simic - @ThatDroneKat

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Bio: Hi, I’m Katarina Simic (aka @thatdronekat). I’m from California, but currently living in Las Vegas. Everything you’ve imagined is true about living here. Celine Dion and I reside together in Caesar’s Palace and start our mornings off with a round of martinis and black jack. Oh and glitter. Lots of glitter. When I’m not doing all that jazz I work on a few different things. I am 107 certified, and work on commercial UAS projects. I also host and organize Xtreme Drone Circuit (XDC) races. I also do sales/digital marketing for GreenGale Publishing, representing 11 national luxury lifestyle magazines. I’ve recently started to get into flying and building FPV quads, so watch out! 

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

I met a guy in Vegas over 2 years ago with a drone startup and he was looking to use drones for precision agriculture. With my background and MSc in Bioresource Engineering, it was a perfect match. I began researching different agricultural/environmental UAS solutions, which got me hooked. This lead me to Praxis Aerospace, where I worked as a research scientist and helped launch the world’s first commercial droneport located in Nevada. Now I’m working on some independent projects. 

As for FPV, my boyfriend Harrison Gale is the CEO of XDC Racing and recently won 1st at Drone Worlds with Team USA. Through his journey in FPV, I have been involved in the community. 

Q. What initially attracted you to it? 

It is amazing that we can use drones for remote sensing, cutting out expensive and dangerous helicopters. I also remember going out in the field and sampling large areas by foot. Now I can do that in 15 minutes with sensors/cameras via UAS. The technological advancements of drones are revolutionizing so many industries such as search and rescue, law enforcement, shipping, conservation/environmental (monitoring and assessing), and many more.

Q. What is your favorite part about flying? 

I get to be a bird, my spirit animal. 

Q. What’s your current set up, or drone of choice? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products? 

The Inductrix is my new obsession. I fly it FPV in my apartment and it makes me feel as though I’m a tiny bee exploring the world. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. I’m currently building a XJaguar FPV quad and before that I built a Bantam 180. For commercial uses, DJI products are great because they are easy and affordable. DroneDeploy is really great for flight planning. Harrison just ordered a DJI Mavic Pro, which I am excited about getting my hands on.  

I have yet to fly fixed wing, but after seeing them race at Drone World’s I have been itching to try. 

Q. There is an increasing number of women that are starting to fly, but the field is still predominately male. What would you say is the biggest reason for that? 

 I noticed that there a lot of ex-military getting into commercial UAS and thus it is predominately male. There are just less women in tech in general. Let’s change that! 

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

What I love about FPV is that it is very community oriented. They should reach out to their local MultiGP chapter or join facebook groups to find mentors and possibly other women to fly with. I’ve been thinking about starting a group or team, so please contact me! 

Q. How do you feel Drone/FPV companies are doing as far as marketing to women pilots? What do you believe they are doing well? What changes can they make to appeal to more women? 

Getting younger kids (both male and female) excited and exposed to the field is where I believe companies should invest in. Starting programs, clubs, conferences, etc. For example, my friend Nick Iverson is launching an innovative new program called the Canadian Drone Academy where you will be provided all the materials and instruction to build and fly FPV quads. 

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of? 

I am currently working on a project to monitor wildlife at the Mount Camdaboo private reserve in South Africa with a drone. I hope to do more environmental projects and am always looking for new ideas and partners. My goal is to also become better at FPV racing. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Hope to see you at the upcoming XDC HD Race in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) the first week of January! Stay tuned for exact dates and times TBD. 

For more on Katarina, visit her on social media:

Instagram * Twitter

XDC Racing

Contact: thatdronekat@gmail.com

 

Jamie Bohn - BluJay FPV

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Bio: My name is Jamie (Blujay FPV) and I live in Southern California. I started flying FPV in May 2016. Bapu and I have been together for about 5 years. We actually met at work which was very unexpected, much like me taking an interest in this hobby/sport :) I work as an Employment Counselor for a local Social Services Office. It doesn’t give me much time other than weekends to fly my quad. I currently do not have any sponsors but I am hopeful some day that will change!

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

Bapu finally convinced me to give it a shot earlier this year. He always encourages me to try new things so I gave in and said, “Why the hell not? What’s the worst that can happen?” Well the worst thing did happen… I was hooked. The minute I realized I could actually do it, I didn’t want to stop.

Q. What is your favorite part about flying?

I forget about everything when I fly. No matter what is going on in my life, it all goes away when I put on my goggles. I have never been asked this question before to be honest. I just realized this is the way I manage stress. Thank you Kathleen for helping me realize that.

Q. How often do you fly?

Not as often as I would like. I am only able to fly on weekends. Lately, I seem to be flying every two weeks.

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products?

I am currently flying HD! Yes, I am LOVING IT!!! I fly the SiganHD frame with Droneproz 2206-2300KV motors, KISS 24 amp ESCs, KISS FC, and Racekraft 5045 Bluntnose tri props. I have tried various props but these Racekraft ones are my favorite. I hope to try the 5051s at some point.

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge?

I have to practically pry Bapu’s fingers off my quad. I love knowing how things work. I try to do my own repairs. I do a pretty crappy job soldering but I am working on it which also happens to be my favorite part of building. My biggest challenge is not having the opportunity to build more. I have had two quads. I haven’t broken anything bad enough to have to rebuild. My worst break was probably when I was hit from behind and my VTX ejected. I’ve broken a few cameras here and there but never anything serious like a broken arm.

Q. Do you feel the Drone/FPV community does a good job of reaching out to women? If so, what are the things you see that are being done to do that, and if not, do you have any ideas of what can be done to reach out?

Based on personal experience, yes, I think it does a decent job of reaching out to women. I attend events on a more regular basis now and have talked to many male pilots. Most have been very supportive while others don’t even acknowledge me. But the majority of male pilots tell me they wished more women would enter into the sport. When I was in Hawaii with Bapu for Drone Worlds 2016, a male pilot approached me and told me how impressed he was with a 20-second lap I did on a MultiGP UTT. I was like whoa WTF?! :D

Q. What are the biggest advantages, and disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male community?

The advantage is the likelihood of getting noticed. People are watching and waiting for a female pilot to compete and do well. I am unable to comment on the disadvantages because I feel there are none.

Q. I’ve had a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them?

Oh I love this question. You can’t force it. Just be very supportive. Buy him/her something small to fly around the office or home first and take it from there! Have LOTS of patience too and try to have fun.

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. Have any of you experienced that as well?

When I was first learning to fly, I had this Nano QX I would fly around inside the house. I remember one time Bapu told me to “Go right!” I crashed into the wall and yelled back, “What do you mean ‘go right’?!” That was a fun experience. Other than me getting frustrated when I crash for doing something stupid we really don’t get into quad fights. I think he is too happy watching me progress to get upset with me about anything <3

Q. If you and your significant other both fly, how do you balance between the time you spend enjoying the same hobby together, and the time time you spend doing things outside of the hobby?

My dream is to be able to travel the world together and get to a point where I can compete against him. We’ve been to Dubai, New York, and Hawaii together this year alone but it was always to watch him compete. We have two young children. Somehow we manage to squeeze in time to fly, spend time with our girls, and have a date night once in a while ;) As sappy as this is going to sound, I cherish any time we get to spend together <3

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of?

I want to race. I want to beat Bapu. I want to podium. I want to show my girls that they can be anything they want to be and do anything they want to do. I am most proud of my progress. I never thought I would be where I am today flying 4-6 hours almost every weekend for 6 months.

I reached out to Bapu to share his thoughts on having the support of Jamie, and her progress so far. "Without Jamie's support, i would have given up on the hobby long time ago lol. This is not only an expensive hobby, but it can be extremely challenging and frustrating, and it demands a lot of your time. A couple of times in the beginning i came close to giving up on the whole thing, but Jamie persuaded me to keep at it, I can truly say without her support I wouldn't have continued in this sport/hobby. I'm just proud about the overall progress Jamie has made in just a few months. She had zero RC experience before, I wasn't even sure if she would get into this FPV thing. Of course in the beginning there were many frustrations, but I'm proud of the fact that she stuck with it, and now she can race on any technical/challenging track we build to practice. I can tell you it took me way longer to get to her skill level which she achieved in just 4 months. She is not preparing for her first official FPV race/event, and i'm confident she will only get better and better. And i feel so lucky to be able to geek out with my significant other, we look forward to flying every weekend, we travel together to events. The FPV life has been just a dream come true to both of us so far!!

For more on Jamie, visit her on social media:

Instagram * Facebook * YouTube

Adaline Lang - AddyZfly

Bio- Adaline (Addy) Lang. 31 years old, north Hollywood CA. I build, tune, and troubleshoot for the local FPV community. I'm an avid pilot and spend all the time I can flying with my buddies. I tend to express myself threw my ship, I'm always flying to music and "dancing" if you will. I also love playing with my footage by editing it to music. There's something special about the creative process, getting the music and timing to match the energy of the flight footage. Check out AddyZfly on YouTube if you wanna see what I mean ;). 

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

I had been flying 3D airplanes for a few months when a friend broke a vortex. I helped him fix it so he let me fly it and I was hooked. That bastard. 

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming? 

No gaming, but I flew RC airplanes a short time before switching over to drones. 

Q. What is your favorite part about flying? 

Infinite control, playing with weightlessness, and speed. Flying is the ultimate sense of freedom, there's nothing else like it! 

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products? 

My setups are crazy fluid, a lot of parts come through my workbench, but I love the hyperlite frame from Piroflip, any f4 flight controller,  Blheli-s esc's, and zmx or hyperlite motors. 

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge? 

Building and playing with new tech is my favorite part of the the process, I consider myself more of a mechanic and builder (or nerd) than a pilot. Sergio at Piroflip has been so supportive and has thrown so many different builds, tunes, repairs, and challenges my way. I love the puzzle of troubleshooting to figuring out what works and what's hot with all of the new technology. 

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

Fuck 'em, just do it. In general, live your life for you and happiness will follow. But the FPV thing has been such an amazing experience, and I'm so grateful for all of the things I've learned, people I've meet, and things I've seen. I'd love to see more women in the community, so get out here and show the boys how it's done!

Q. Do you feel the Drone/FPV community does a good job of reaching out to women, and also the LBGT/transgender community? If so, what are the things you see that are being done to do that, and if not, do you have any ideas of what can be done to reach out?

Since the community doesn't really advertise, I don't think they really reach out to anyone. Everything relies on word of mouth. I've found some groups are very welcoming to LGBTQ folks, and some aren't. I've met some truly wonderful people in the FPV world that have been very considerate and respectful, and I don't mind answering questions whether its about drone stuff or gender stuff as long as you're polite about it.  All and all- I have been very pleasantly surprised by the general acceptance. 

Q. What are the biggest advantages, and disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male community? 

The biggest advantages are also the biggest disadvantages. People instantly assume I won't be very good or know much off the bat, but they also tend to take notice once they see me fly or help someone with an issue. But hey, I almost always get help loading in, and that's fun. 

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race? 

I feel like walking in  as a woman I'm expected to fail, let alone a trans woman, but when I do well a lot of people take notice. The bar is set really high for women, but it just makes it that much better when you win. 

Q. How do you feel Drone/FPV companies are doing as far as marketing to women pilots? What do you believe they are doing well? What changes can they make to appeal to more women? 

Stop using 'ripping balls' and other testosterone overdosed things like actually adding balls to your flight controllers ;). Seriously though, I haven't seen any products marketed towards women, but products also don't seem directly marketed towards men either.

Q What would be your advice to a significant other that isn't happy about the constant Build - Fly  - Crash cycle?

Find a new partner!!!

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women, and their roles as the hobby grows? 

I feel like it's our responsibility as women in the FPV community to try to recruit more women into the sport, and to carve out a place for ourselves, or we won't have one. Nothing would make me happier than to see more and more girls getting out there and building, tuning, and racing. 

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of? 

To be honest I love what I do. There is something so special seeing someone's face light up after they fly there quad with a proper tune for the first time. Or I say 4 sentences that help them fix an issue they've been fighting with for months. So I'm gonna keep building, tuning, and fixing for people as long as the demand is there. I'm also gonna try to get my somewhat shy ass to more races ;). 

For more on Addy, visit her on social media:

Instagram * Facebook * YouTube

Contact: Builds, tunes, and troubleshooting- AddyZfly Quad Sevices- 719-966-2324 (Call or text)

Heather McDowell - MsFlashgangster

Bio: Heather McDowell (MsFlashgangster). The first ever female competitive FPV wing pilot. Team pilot for Team Legit and also sponsored by Cobra Motors and APC props. Married to Shane McDowell (Flashgangster). 

Q How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

I originally started building and crashing Flite Test Versa Wings with Shane when he converted to flying fixed wing. 

Q. What initially attracted you to it? 

The first time I saw a wing flying in person I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I wanted one and I was determined to learn how to fly. It was love at first sight. :)

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming? 

Haha! Not at all. I'm actually pretty horrible at everything else that requires a radio or controller.

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge? 

I love building wings! I've built every one of my wings start to finish. The paint job is my favorite part of wing building, that's where they get their personality. The biggest challenge for me is the tiny motor screws. There's a lot of dropping the screws, losing them, and strings of profanities when I'm installing a motor. Lol

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

f you have an interest in FPV then do it. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, there are plenty of supportive people and groups in our hobby who welcome anyone with an interest.

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race? 

I think in general there is a lower expectation when it comes to female pilots but there are a few of us who have proved that we can hang with the boys. I actually feel like the guys want me to do well because I'm female. I know that I put extra pressure on myself to do well. I'm always trying to show that I'm not all hype just because I'm the only lady flying wings. My goal is for the guys to see me as legitimate competition. ;) 

For more on Heather, visit her on social media:

Instagram * YouTube

Bailey Goin - Mrs. Awkbots

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Bio: I am Bailey Goin, I am 25 years old and I live in Ohio with my husband AJ Goin, also known as Awkbots. We have 3 adorable Miniature Schnauzers that are truly like our children (they’re waaaay easier too!). I am currently a Project Manager for a non-profit, faith based health system. I absolutely love what I do and working remotely doesn’t hurt either. AJ and I actually just moved to Ohio a few months ago in pursuit of his dreams of becoming a professional drone racer. We were both born and raised in the Lone Star state, Texas. While I miss Texas and my family every day, I wouldn’t trade our move for the world. This move has opened so many doors for the both of us, it is hard to resent Ohio. Crazy right? Of all places. :p

In addition to learning FPV I really enjoy creating things. Whether it is baking, sewing, making wreaths...the list goes on. I love the idea of making things myself, rather than going out and buying something that everyone else already has. Not that there is anything wrong with that. ;) It is just nice to be able to make something in my style and not be limited to the selection on the shelf.

Q. When I first interviewed AJ, he had only been in one race, F3 Expo. Now you both have moved so he could have a career in the FPV community, and he's on DRL. Oh and you got married! Can you tell me what the past year has been like for you both?

It has been one crazy roller coaster ride! If you were to tell me a year ago that we would be living in Ohio and AJ was going to be on tv, I probably would have laughed. Talk about dreaming big! However, now we are here. We loaded up everything we owned and made a 16 hour trek from Texas to Ohio. It has really been amazing for the both of us. AJ is now working for Readymade RC getting to work on drones every day and creating all kinds of great stuff for the company. I ended up leaving my job in Texas which led me to an even better opportunity in Ohio and I just love it! I get to work from home and really utilize my strengths, which I really wasn’t able to do at my old job. I’m excited to see what happens next!

Q. It's always important to support the ones you love. How do you try to support AJ as he competes, and travels for races?

Oh you know…drone retrieval when he’s practicing out in the fields, searching for lost Go Pros after a big crash, charging batteries…the usual ;). It definitely isn’t always easy. AJ will get into these modes where he is SUPER focused on drones and drones only. Then for the next few weeks our free time only consists on drones.

Q. I’ve had a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them?

AJ is a pro at getting me to try his hobbies. He grew up riding dirt bikes, so when he wanted me to get into it he took me shopping. There’s your key! I was able to get some cute gear, boots, helmet, goggles, the works. Those things really motivated me and got me excited to learn to ride. This is the same for quads. What did I get last year for Christmas (even though I asked for a Kitchen Aid mixer ;))? I got a MQX FPV micro quad. Every girl’s dream right? The way he was so supportive in teaching me to fly and would brag to his friends really encouraged me to keep going at this hobby. Not to mention his friends were really supportive too!

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. I know AJ taught you how to fly. Have you experienced that as well?

We really don’t fight, because he has so much more experience than I do, so I trust his advice. Lol However, he can get on my nerves when he wants me to fly a certain way or practice a certain way and I just don’t agree. It’s not because he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He just forgets to consider that we learn in different ways. He is more of a “research crazy hard about a subject and really learn all the insides and outs” and I am more of a “let’s take it slow and learn as I go, no pressure I am supposed to have fun”. Haha. Our personalities do get in the way of each other at times, but it is also what makes us work. I can’t imagine if we were 2 AJs or 2 Baileys, we would never get anywhere! :p

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Kim Barrows - FPVFlyGirl

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Bio: A girl, a drone, and a dream :) I started flying as a way to distract myself from life and now it's become a way of life. If I'm not flying, chances are I'm looking at Instagram, YouTube or some other drone site...or thinking about flying. When I'm not doing something drone related, chances are I'm taking pictures of sock monkeys. I've made some great friends along the way and I'm looking forward to the next chapter in this adventure.

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

My best friend got a toy drone and I thought it was pretty cool. Then he got a 550 Hex and I would spot for him when he flew that.  A few months later, I was building a DJI Flamewheel 450.

Q. What initially attracted you to it? 

I am absolutely terrified of heights but love the view from the skies.  Now I can fly like a bird and never leave the ground. How cool is that?

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming? 

I used to watch RC car races as a kid and even was a turn marshal at the local fairgrounds in junior high during their races.  Only took one car crashing into my ankle bone to know that wasn’t the job for me when I grew up.

I was never a huge gamer unless it was Mario Kart or Tetris.  However, once I started flying, it didn’t take long to realize that I had a slight problem getting my thumbs to do two different things at once. So, my best friend mentioned I should get into playing COD.  The next thing you know I am buying an Xbox 360 and playing older versions of Call of Duty, which actually worked.  Then Titan Fall came out and I lost two weeks of my life, lol.

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products?

My favorite go-to copter is a knock-off of a Flamewheel.  It was super cheap and that thing is a beast.  I have bashed into trees, concrete, playground equipment and it just keeps on ticking.  It is not unusual for me to hear someone comment “I don’t know how you kept flying after that crash”.  Needless to say, I have a few back-ups of that frame on standby.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much room for camera tilt on the frame, so eventually I will have to graduate to a big-girl copter like the Hellbender that is under construction.

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge?

I learned to solder, but I am really bad at it.  All my solder joints are pretty “pointy” or really blobby. I like the assembly portion of the build much better.  And I am a tad OCD, so I like all my zip-ties and heat shrink to coordinate.  I tend to outsource some of my builds in exchange for free dinners.  So far, that system has been working pretty well.

Q. Where was, or is, your absolute favorite place to fly? 

We have a few local parks that I am quite fond of because they have lots of trees to zip through combined with open spaces where I am learning to flip and roll.  But my absolute favorite is flying empty playground equipment at a local park at night.  Any time someone hits it, you hear a very loud *DING* followed by a chorus of “nooooo sir!” 

Q. There is an increasing number of women that are starting to fly, but the field is still predominately male. What would you say is the biggest reason for that?

RC sports in general have historically been male driven.  I had a conversation with a middle school teacher at the F3 Expo last year about the lack of girls in high school STEM programs and also in RC/Robotics.  When girls are younger, it’s socially acceptable to be a tomboy and play with cars and be into math and science.  And then junior high arrives and you risk being a social outcast if you choose to stay after school to build a robot as opposed to going to the mall with your friends.  So we force girls to make a choice – either you can be in with the “cool” crowd OR you can be involved with things like drones.  They should not have to make that choice.  And unfortunately, I place some of that blame on toy manufacturers like Lego and Nerf that feel the need to create “girl” versions of their classic toys that immediately have to be pink.  I played with Legos and Nerf when I was a kid – I never thought of it as a boys’ toy – it was just a toy.

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

Don’t be afraid to be the only woman in your area.  I am currently the only girl in our MultiGP chapter, and although I would like to have other women involved, I am not going to let that stop me.  Ask questions, read forums, watch YouTube videos.  I am affectionately known as a “FliteTest fangirl” in our local group.  If you go to local fly spots, ask to go on a ride along in the goggles.  

Q. Do you feel the Drone/FPV community does a good job of reaching out to women? If so, what are the things you see that are being done to do that, and if not, do you have any ideas of what can be done to reach out?

A:  I don’t know if the community necessarily “reaches out” per se, but I will say once they know you are there, they tend to be supportive.  Sometimes, you have to be the one to reach out.  You can’t stand on the sidelines and just hope they will notice you like a wallflower at a dance.  You have to let them know you are there.  

Q. What are the biggest advantages, and disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male community?

Bathrooms.  I am not even kidding.  I fly with a group of guys that have no problems picking a fly spot in the middle of a field.  Well, that’s great for those of you that can just go behind a tree.  Personally, I like an actual toilet and a sink to wash my hands.  What can I say? Boys are gross. 

As far as advantages – for me, the group of guys I have locally are so very supportive of what I am doing.  I am not sure if it’s because I am a woman though – half the time, I think they forget I AM a female.  When we fly, I am just “one of the guys”.  

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race?

I think in general, people may have lower expectations of female pilots. You know, “you fly like a girl”, “you throw like a girl”, etc.  But for me personally, I have higher expectations because I feel like I have something to prove.

Q. How do you feel Drone/FPV companies are doing as far as marketing to women pilots? What do you believe they are doing well? What changes can they make to appeal to more women?

Is there marketing to female pilots??   I know a few companies are finally making shirts in female sizing, so that’s a start.  And purple props – I am all about some purple.

Q. I’ve heard a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them?

Have her be your visual observer/spotter for a while.  If that doesn’t make her want to fly, she might not ever be into flying itself.  And that is okay – we have a few local guys that bring their significant others to races and I think some of them really dig it.  Just because she doesn’t want to actually FLY doesn’t mean she wouldn’t want to watch you fly.  There are lots of other activities that are part of flying – editing videos or taking pictures, for example.  I love to take pictures of other pilots while they are flying.

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. Have any of you experienced that as well?

My best friend that I do most of my flying and building with is male.  And yes, we have had a few ‘quad fights’.  When I first started out, I would have all these questions and instead of just answering them, he would say things like “you know this, what do you think it is?” and I would just get frustrated because I wouldn’t ask the question if I didn’t know the answer, right?  Well, turns out, I also lacked the confidence in what I DID know, so in the long run, it helped.  But in the short term, it aggravated the hell out of me.

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women, and their roles as the hobby grows?

I would love to see an increase in the practical commercial applications of drones – particularly in law enforcement and fire/rescue departments. 

As for women – we need to get more into the hobby if we hope to see any advancement in careers in the future.  

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of?

When I first kicked off my Instagram and blog page a year ago, my goal was to compete in this year’s F3 Expo.  My skill level isn’t there yet, so the new goal is by end of 2017.  Part of the problem was my own hesitation to get out of angle mode and into acro mode.  I recently started flying in horizon mode, so I am getting there.  I was super excited about my first flips and rolls, even though they looked horrible in the video. 

But, I think my proudest accomplishment was when I was asked to be a guest on the FPV Podcast. As a result of that, I have a regular "Tip of the week" segment on their podcast, which is pretty cool since I'm basically a noob myself.  And that was part of the idea.  To share tidbits in under thirty seconds that both new and seasoned pilots might appreciate. 

I was also part of a local news story about the local drone racing scene and they seemed pretty excited that I was the only girl, so that was a neat experience to get that kind of recognition. It's also pretty funny because I'm wearing a quadcopter shirt that says "my eyes are up here" which the cameraman found pretty hilarious. 

I'm also pretty stoked about Instagram.  I recently hit the 2,000 followers mark and that just blows me away. This started as a little project – as a way to hold myself accountable as I worked toward the long term goal of competing in something like F3. I still can’t believe that people actually want to be a part of that and I appreciate it so much.

For more on Kim, visit her on social media:

Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr

Juli Müller - Julifpv

Bio - My name is Juli Müller and I am from Germany. I work as a freelance translator for English, Spanish and German which helps me to be able to travel a lot around the world and to communicate with different people. I have been flying quads since October 2015 and love the opportunities and friendships it brings me – it opened a whole new world to me!

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

I started flying quads with my boyfriend last year. We got inspired by several videos on YouTube.

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming? 

I’ve never been involved into other RC hobbies – well as a child I had a little RC car that could climb on objects using a winch. Gaming has never been my hobby but I loved to play some computer games or Nintendo Wii.

Q. How often do you fly? 

Usually every weekend as long it’s not raining. My boyfriend and I use to meet our FPV friends on Saturday and Sunday and then we fly some freestyle locations or build a race track to practice.

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products? 

I build all my quads on my own. I fly a self-made frame (by the German champion) and an EvoX frame (by Artfantasie). I love the KISS FC and the KISS ESCs (24A) in combination with the Brotherhobby motors (2300kV). My favorite propellers are HQ, my favorite LiPos are from Tattu.
As goggles I use the Dominator V2 with a LaForge module.

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge? 

When I started flying building was the most horrible thing for me. In the meantime I learned to understand how a quad works and I kind of enjoy building. My favorite part is soldering – although yesterday I burnt my finger badly… haha… own stupidity.
What I definitely hate are cables – they always make a mess!

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

That she should not be intimidated! She should do what she wants no matter the circumstances. We can’t complain about a fact if we aren’t willing to be one of the first that can change it. All the brave females should go out and pave the way as ambassadors! 

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race? 

I think there is a lower expectation just because people have not seen that many women at races – therefore their brains tell them that women maybe don’t practice that often. But again – that’s not a disadvantage! ;) I’ve never finished last at a race!

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. Have any of you experienced that as well? 

We rarely disagree on how to build a quad – but well… thinking about that… I always need a perfect clean build, he thinks practical and just wants it to fly. Haha.
Regarding methods of learning… we don’t really disagree but if he gives me advise I usually don’t accept it. It’s like when your parents tell you what to do and you do the exact difference…
Some days afterwards I then think about the advice and accept it secretly… :P

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women, and their roles as the hobby grows? 

I think they can have the same role as men. If they want to compete in races – why not? I hope some female teams will pop up next year to lay into the male-dominating field. No matter the gender – everybody should just do what he wants and feels. Some want to get professional racer, some may want to freestyle and become known on YouTube and some just want to fly on their own. As the evolution will be fast we all have the change to be the change or get the role we want to have.

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of?

I want to pave the way for females in the community and in the sport. I would like to have a female racing team and show the world how awesome the sport is.
My last year has already been a blast – I was racing in London, Paris and even in South Korea and one of my highlight was filming an advertisement for the Royal Ascot.
So yes – it would be great to get more and more professional!

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For more on Juli, visit her on social media:

Instagram * Facebook * YouTube 

Teng Ma - Junebugfpv - Mrs. Nytfury

Bio: Teng Ma, born in China, live in Albuquerque, NM. Wife, law student, drone racer. I'm obsessed with dogs. I love reading, decorating, and Spanish.

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

Ever since Shaun started flying, he had always wanted me to fly with him. But like many other pilot wives out there, I had way too much on my plate to even consider it. But as the sport grew, Shaun and I spent more and more time apart. I finally decided to become a pilot because I wanted to spend more time with Shaun. But now, I am hooked. I find myself thinking about drone racing all the time, and I just cannot get enough of it.

Q. Have you been involved in other RC hobbies or gaming?

Nope, nothing. I actually hated video games and banned it in our house lol. (Long story, I can tell you more later. But basically, Shaun and I met in 2005, right about the time my parents were going through a nasty divorce. For the past 10 years, Shaun and I raised my brother Marshall, from age 8-18. Marshall recently moved out for college. He is a freshman at USC and is also an amazing pianist. He is our pride and joy. But the hardest years we had with him was when his was in middle school, and his video-game-playing became excessive. It got so bad that I had to ban it completely in our house)

Q. What is your favorite part about flying?

The traveling. Shaun and I have not taken a vacation in 9 years. I can’t believe how many amazing places we have traveled to for drone races.

Q. How often do you fly?

If everything goes well in school, I get about one day per week to fly. But most of the time, I only get one or two days per month. It sucks, but right now, I have to prioritize school.

Q. What’s your current set up? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite, or go-to products?

Darkside ARC200 Frame, CC3D Revo FC, AIKON20A BLHeliS ESCs, Turnigy 1177 Cam, Quanum 200mw vtx, RK 5040X3 props, Graphene 1500 MAH4S Battery, FRSky XSR RX, Viking 2206/2600 KV motors

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of building? What is the biggest challenge?

The build process is easy with the help of Shaun lol. But seriously, it takes me about two hours to finish an entire quad all on my own. With Shaun’s help, I could probably finish an entire quad under an hour. My favorite part is soldering. My family owns a jewelry supply business (where Shaun worked before becoming a firefighter), so I actually have extensive experience with soldering. Even though my soldering experience was with a propane/oxy setup, it was enough for me to feel comfortable working with heat and other forms of soldering.

Fun fact, the silicone mat that HobbyKing gave us for our work bench is identical to the jewelry-making mat I have, just in a different color.

Q. There is an increasing number of women that are starting to fly, but the field is still predominately male. What would you say is the biggest reason for that?

The barrier to entry. Learning to fly is not too hard but learning all the other aspects of this sport is. This sport requires a great amount of collaborative work, and when the entire community is male, it is extremely intimidating for a woman to ask for help. So it is a vicious cycle; the bigger the community of men, the more intimidating the community becomes for women. This is why I am curious to see the future of DRL. They have taken the building aspect out completely and are showcasing only pilot skill. I think DRL can be a launch pad for many women pilots, and maybe even open the door to a community that is more inclusive of women.

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

Find a friend. Not someone that lives across the country on Facebook, but someone you can meet up with. Don’t worry about the fact that you both won’t know what you are doing, you guys can learn everything together. The learning curve is steep, and there will be arguments and fights. Find someone that you can count on no matter what; someone that will answer your call even after a fight lol.

Example: I remember shaking my head every time Shaun and Sean Stanford(stevie1dur) went out to fly. I thought to myself “they are terrible, they don’t know what they are doing, and they are never gonna get fast,” but look where they are now! They have competed against each other, traveled to different countries together, and most importantly, learned from each other. Even though Sean has decided to focus more on his car business, they are still great friends! He still comes over and harass Shaun every chance he gets lol.

Q. Do you feel the Drone/FPV community does a good job of reaching out to women? If so, what are the things you see that are being done to do that, and if not, do you have any ideas of what can be done to reach out?

I think the FPV community have been doing a good job. The few women that are racing have gotten nothing but positive media attention. There is always more that the community could do, but at the same time, I don’t want there to be a bias. Women shouldn’t need more help than men getting started; we don’t need training wheels. Any woman is perfectly capable of becoming interested on her own, and getting fast on her own..

Q. Do you feel like there is a higher or lower expectation in regards to performance when you compete in a race?

I feel like the expectation is higher. Some people expects me to be good because they think I fly with Shaun everyday, and some people expects me to be good because they think Shaun shows me all the “tricks.” The truth is, I’m lucky if I get to fly once a week, and there are just no shortcuts to becoming a good pilot.

Q. How do you feel Drone/FPV companies are doing as far as marketing to women pilots? What do you believe they are doing well? What changes can they make to appeal to more women?

I think the drone companies are doing fine. I definitely don’t think they should start making things in pink or anything like that lol. I mean motors and props are for flying, not for a fashion show. Have you seen those pink tool sets at hardware stores? They are terrible! Lol.

Toy companies on the other hand can do a little better. If you look at the commercials for drone toys, they are all targeted towards little boys! They need to feature boys AND girls in those commercials! Kids are much more sensitive to these types of bias than adults; IMO, this is how gender bias is formed.

Q. I’ve heard a lot of men ask me how they can get their significant others involved in flying. What would be your advice to them?

I came up with a 3-step process lol:

Don’t take her “no” at face value. Think about the first time a kid learns piano, or anything that has a steep learning curve. It is hard to say “yes” right away to something that requires so much work and time.

Help her! It is going to take some of your time to get her to the point where she can do stuff on her own. But there is a tipping point, once that point is reached, not only will she be able to do her own thing, she will actually be able to help you!

Find the new normal. Now that she can fly and even occasionally help you fix your quad, you need to help her with other things; things that she had to give up now that she is flying more. You know what those are!

Q. I’ve had my share of “quad fights” with my boyfriend. We don’t agree on how to build something, or we may disagree on a certain product or method of learning. Have any of you experienced that as well?

Oh yes! Sometimes Shaun will talk to me while I am flying, if I crash during that, I just give him that look of “you just made me crash!” If he offers me parts for my quad that are different from what he is using, I would always say: “why you are trying to hold me back!” lol. But hey, if two can build quads together and stay together, they can probably get through anything in life lol.

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women, and their roles as the hobby grows?

I see the future of drone racing in many forms; in live race, post-production race, on-line interactive sim race, and a mix of some or all. I think in the next few years, all different forms will do well enough to gain sufficient viewers to grow the sport as a whole. One league will dominate, but it will not be because of its chosen form, but because of the people involved in the league. Every race, every production, people are not just watching; they are tweeting, following, and blogging. It is not just about the number of viewers on TV anymore and the league that dominates will not just be the league with the most money. In my opinion, the most successful league will be one that chooses what is right over what is easy. A league that will not inhibit the growth of this sport. A league that will choose sportsmanship over drama. A league that will always choose pilots over profits.

I see women in this sport in every aspect. I see women pilots, women directors, women coaches, and women commentators.

Q. I believe you recently graduated from law school. How have you found the time to learn how to fly?

I am actually in my last year of law school. Like I previously mentioned, I hardly get anytime to fly. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I even learned. The first two years of law school was insanely stressful, I didn’t even have time to eat everyday. I guess I used every little chance to fly as a form of release and made the most out of it.  

Q. Shaun has talked about how supportive you are of his career. What advice would you give someone that has a significant other that would also like to pursue FPV as a profession?

Don’t do anything crazy. There is no rush. What I love about this sport is that there is no deadline. Unlike football where you have to be drafted by a certain age, you can fly FPV as long as you want. So don’t rush into any decision that will make you resent this sport. We love this sport too much to have people resenting it.

I know everyone have talked about the “craziness” of Shaun quitting his job, but the truth is, if people knew about the life we have lived up to this point, people will understand when I say, Shaun quitting his job for drone racing was probably the first “normal” thing we did as a couple. Shaun and I had an unconventional life before drone racing; so “crazy” decisions doesn’t seem so crazy to us. We have dealt with uncertainties plenty of times before, so we are prepared for the uncertainties of this sport. But if you have had a pretty “normal” life, you will need to figure out how you will cope with uncertainties, mentally and financially, before jumping into this sport full time.

Timing is everything. You don’t have to quit your job today. Because when you are truly ready, you won’t even need to ask anyone, you will just know. It is not going to be easy to stay competitive without quitting your job, but you CAN do it. Shaun told the story on QuadTalk about us driving home after his win at the Diablo stadium in Tempe. We got home around 4am, and Shaun had a 24hr-shift starting at 9am that same day. The day he knew he was ready to commit 100% to was the final day of DR1. It was not anything in particular that triggered it, but a combination of everything that have led up to that point, he just knew. When you are truly ready, you too will just know!

For more on Teng, visit her on social media: 
Instagram

Katie Scholz

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Bio: I'm from Tempe, Az. I live at the beach in Los Angeles, CA. I work in the TV/Film industry. I have other nerdy hobbies too like swing dancing. I like crashing my vortex in the park, triple espressos on ice, and Bourbon Mules. ;-) 

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

To be honest it was my ex who got into them first. 

Q. What initially attracted you to it?

The newness of the sport/ hobby. The Wild Wild West.  

Q. You're a partner at Aerial GP, can you share about what you guys do, and how it first started? 

Aerial Grand Prix was the first FPV racing league founded in April of 2014 when Ryo Rex, Sven Tusak and I were working on a TV show that took us out to the Long Beach Grand Prix to shoot. Ryo and Sven were both flying quads at the time and when we spent the day at the race track, the three of us could not stop talking about racing the quads. That night we started thinking about names and looking on the internet for anyone else doing it. There were a couple guys in Australia racing around a field. 

I think in the next few weeks Ryo and Sven had perfected the pool noodle arch gate (which at one point looked like a football field goal).

And then it seamed like in the blink of an eye, we had professional Aerial GP gates and flags delivered to our 22 chapters around the world, and standardized rules for everyone to follow. 

And later as the world of FPV grew (in my opinion) many chapters felt they should start their own league or they were convinced to join another group who would let them hold races in their respective countries in order to be a part of a world race. So today we may not have all the chapters but we still count every single one as our close friends who we look forward to seeing at other races. 

This year we had the great honor of being the chief advisors to the World Drone Prix. We worked side by side with the Dubai government to through the largest drone race on earth. Many of our ideas were implemented like the long format race, pit stop, battery swap, having 3-4 crew members with each pilot, plus advising the track not be made of metal. The beautiful track was made of wood and foam core. When it was complete I got to have an FPV tour of the track and I actually cried. It was the closest thing to our dream track and built less than 2 years after we formed AGP. It was a great moment. 

Today we are still throwing races and consulting on races. Look to Asia in 2017. ;-)

Q There are not very women involved in race production and organization. Did you face any challenges when you first started, and do you still face challenges as a woman in the field now? 

Not sure if it has anything to do with being a women but the only challenge I have ever faced has been convincing people who's race I'm working on that their event time table is wrong. Coming from the world of film production where I've learned underestimating a production timeline can be very problematic as well as costly. But, some need to make the mistake for themselves, while some still haven't learned.

Q. What has been your favorite race location? 

Austria and Spain. Yummy food, handsome men!

Q. What would you say to a woman that is interested in joining the Drone/FPV community that may be intimidated by the lack of women involved?

If you're intimated by men then maybe you have to get some girls together for a soldering party. I'd totally go to that. But this isn't really a sport for the intimidate-able, guys or girls. Crash crash crash, practice makes perfect.

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women, and their roles as the hobby grows? 

The future is what I'm most excited about. I call the drone world the Wild Wild West because we can shape it anyway we want. It's happening in front of our eyes. And everybody can have any role they want. 

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I would like to continue throwing races around the world. My goal is to throw a race with giant drones. 

I am most proud of our last race at the Velodrome in Los Angeles, CA. We used our signature long format race including pit stop. And we had special trophies for winning pilot and pit crews. We had ample time for practice, quarters, semis, and finals. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

When it comes to throwing a race, my main requirements are : Safety for pilots and spectators, that all pilots can say it was a fair race for everyone no matter what the outcome, and is it fun? aka how organized is it and how many packs per day are they flying?

I love it when a race goes well and no matter the outcome people truly had fun because they had a fair chance, got in some good racing time and everyone leaves with a smile on their face and a bunch of new friends. 

Learn more about Aerial GP

Sara Vickers - BOO FPV

Bio: My name is Sara (BOO FPV). I am a 46 and a housewife from North Devon UK. I have a wonderful partner Matt and we have two beautiful girls Ellie (16) and Evie (4.) I am one of the organisers for This is Thunderderone Racing, and I love FPV and Flying.

Q. How did you get started in Drones/FPV?

A. I have been flying for about 7 months although I have been living with Drones and FPV for the last couple of years because of Matt and our friends. And when the lads (whenever I mention the lads I mean Matt, BrimzUK and Tim) went to Dubai to compete it put a whole different level on it for me, I was hooked!!! I found as many feeds to watch as I could, constantly trying to find results and information and at some points, I think I knew more about what was going on that they did and they were there. lol

Q. What initially attracted you to it?

At first, I just looked at it as the new toy for the boys, because they had been racing RC cars for a few years and regularly set up tracks in local village halls. It soon became obvious that it had become a new obsession and I knew the cars would be left forever. RIP RC Cars!!! When we organised our event in April, I only planned to go along and just get out for the day but the lads were a little unorganised so I stepped up and helped them. Lots of running around registering people for the event and handing out transponders for the timing system (not that I knew what they were at the time) needless to say I had the time of my life and I felt like I got the old me back. That's when I thought if you can't beat 'em join 'em and Matt made me a drone.

Q. How often do you fly?

I fly as much as I can but it can be difficult to find time with having children. Our four-year-old Evie loves it she comes out with us all the time and loves helping to set up the track. I can't fly as much as I would like but I do as much as I can.

Q. What’s your current setup? What have you used in the past? Do you have any favorite or go-to products?

My current setup is a Shrike clone which I helped to design the arms with buttercup shape ends. Seriously Pro F3 Flight controller Flycolor Raptor 30A ESC Emax MT2204 2300kv motors 5" DAL Triblade props Multistar 1400mah 3s Runcam Swift Camera Quanum Q58 VTX Quanum Cyclops Goggles Turnigy 9XR Transmitter

Q. How is/was the build process for you? What is your favorite part of the building? What is the biggest challenge?

I have, to be honest, I haven't built my drone I have a wonderful partner who built it for me just because he wanted me to fly with him. I will be learning over the winter months and I do know all the parts and the basics of what is involved. I have had people say to me that I am not a real pilot because I haven't built it myself.

Q. There is an increasing number of women that are starting to fly, but the field is still predominately male. What would you say is the biggest reason for that?

I am the only woman in our group of friends that fly's, all of the other wives or girlfriends would rather not be involved or moan about it.... But hey why be a drone widow.

Q. What are the biggest advantages, and disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male community?

I have found no problems being a woman in the FPV community, everyone is lovely to me. But everyone in the UK community seems to get along really well and there is such a lot of support. Most of the people I have spoken to think that it is brilliant that a girlfriend is there let alone flying. I hear a lot of wish my girlfriend would be up for it.

Q. What do you see in the future for drones/FPV? Where do you see women and their roles as the hobby grows?

It's a question of getting the women involved. We have some amazing women already in the community to look up to like Zoe Stumbaugh and Juli FPV. I think all the men need to encourage their partners to try it and we might see more women involved. All the roles in FPV racing can be done by a woman or a man it's just getting them to like it.

Q. Where do you see your future in drones/FPV? What are some goals you would like to accomplish? What accomplishment as far as flying are you most proud of?

Where would i like to see my future in drones..... I want to race with the Best....

For more on Sara, visit her on social media:

Instagram

Closing the Gap

Yes Virginia, there are women that love FPV and drones, and they are a pretty amazing group. It has truly been an honor and privilege to speak to these wonderful ladies. There are so many more out there that should be recognized, and I wish I could have included everyone. Closing the gap between men and woman in Drones and FPV is happening, and with that comes new perspectives, backgrounds, and stories. The point of the blog was to highlight women, but sex aside, the passion, drive, and care is all the same. The use of drones as a thrill, escape, a method of expression, or a way to change the world is universal, and hopefully the community will continue to support anyone that is interested in being a part of it.

Happy Flying...