A Guide to the 2016 Drone Nationals

By Kathleen Hickey

What a difference a year makes. The 2015 National Drone Racing Championships took place in Sacramento CA. It was the first large scale race of its time, bringing pilots from all around the world to compete. If you missed the race last year, here is a great video from Tested. 

The winner of last year's race was Chad Nowak (FinalGlideAus), from Brisbane, Australia. The 2016 Drone Nationals will take place August 5-7 at Governors Island in NYC, New York.

The venue is not the only change, ESPN 3 will broadcast live streaming of the event. There are also huge sponsors, including GoPro, and AIG. The Drone Nationals is produced by The Drone Sports Association (DSA), which was formerly RotorSports. Earlier in the year, RotorSports and IDRA had joined, but recently IDRA announced a separation from RotorSports, and with that came the newly formed DSA. Also joining this year is a personal favorite of SLD, Joe Scully, and the rest of the FPV Racing Events team. 

The 2016 Nationals will have four race categories; Individual, Team, Wings, and Freestyle. With the growth of technology, popularity, and accessibility, the level of talent from the competing pilots is really incredible. So who's going to win? Here are the top picks from SLD in Individual, and Freestyle. 

Individual

  • Chad Nowak (FinalGlideAus) is the reining champion from the 2015 Drone Nationals. 
  • Brian Morris (Brain Drain) is ranked #1 in the DSA national rankings, leading the next pilot by over 1K points, and #2 in the world. 
  • Zachry Thayer (A_Nub) is currently ranked #2 in the DSA national rankings, and #5 in the world. 
  • Shaun Taylor (Nytfury) is ranked #4 in the DSA national rankings, and #12 in the world. My nn

My pilots to look out for - Andrew Meyer (MayMayDay) the current Canadian National Champion and Rich Howarth.

FreeStyle

The freestyle competition was by invitation only, and every pilot that's competing is extremely talented.

Steele Davis (Mr. Steele)

Carlos Puertolas (Charpu)

Tommy Tibajia (Ummagawd)

Chad Nowak (FinalGlideAus)

all from Rotor Riot will be competing.

Zoe Stumbaugh (Zoe FPV), is the only female competing in both Individual and Freestyle, not to mention she's a freestyle badass that can also do her tricks inverted.

The competition also includes a couple of notable newcomers in Johnny Schaer (JohnnyFPV)

and Ethan Gulnac (HiFlite). 

 

If you're planning on watching the live stream on ESPN 3, be sure to check out the website before the big race. There may be an App or media player required to view. Also, be sure to take a look at the official 2016 Drone Nationals Schedule. If you're lucky enough to be in NYC this weekend, here's the ticket information. The US winner from the Nationals will be qualified to race at the Drone Worlds, in Hawaii this October. It's impossible to know who's going to walk away the winner, but I must say from attending qualifiers, and seeing many of these pilots race in person, it's going to be an amazing race. Enjoy the 2016 Drone Nationals, and until then...

Happy Flying!

 

Quad Life: MY FPV Journey 2 - Show Me the Money!

By Kathleen Hickey

So, you've checked out a race or two, or hung out with a local FPV group, and you've decided that you want to fly. What's the next step? There are three ways you can go.

The first would be to purchase a Ready To Fly (RTF) quad. You can purchase a quad that's ready to fly out of the box. Some retailers also offer sets that come with Fat Shark goggles. Some retailers to check out would be Horizon Hobby, or ReadyMadeRC. The benefit of going to RTF route is saving yourself from figuring out various parts, and a build right off the bat. If you have never used a radio or controls of any sort, or if you're completely new to the RC and drone world, a RTF could be a good introduction. You'll want to make sure that the quad you buy has replaceable parts that you can purchase. 

The second option would be to build your own quad. I wanted to build my own for various reasons. First, I usually don't take the easy road with most things. I like to really challenge myself. Basically I'm a sucker for punishment. I also knew that I wanted to fly and there was no doubt that this was something I wanted do. Another fact to consider is that you will crash. Crashing your quad is part of the package. The very best pilots crash . The benefit of building your own quad is that you know how to fix it when something goes wrong. You can also customize the parts you'd like to use to make a quad that you like to fly. There are you tube videos on how to build your own, but if at all possible, find someone that is willing to sit down with you and teach you in person. You would be at the mercy of their schedule, and it may take some time to build it, but understanding how the quad works, and how to build it is very valuable. 

The third option would be to go to your local hobby shop, and see if they build quads for their customers. You would have to pay for their time to build it, but it's a way of using the second option, without having to go through the build process on your own. You may want to ask if they would be willing to take you through the process, so you can learn what it's like from start to finish. The benefit of going through a shop is you have a real person that you can talk to. Make sure to also get quotes on repairs, and labor for those repairs. I can't say it enough, but you will crash, so it's important to know what that cost will be before you commit to that shop building the quad. 

This might be a good time to bring up an important point. There are no absolutes in FPV. From your props to your radio to your quad, everyone has an opinion on what they believe is best. It's important to not get too overwhelmed with advice and suggestions. Also, ask people why. If someone tells you to build your own quad, ask them why they think so. If someone suggests buying a RTF, ask them why. Pilots feel very passionately about what they use, and how they like to use it, and once you find what works for you, you'll feel the same way. 

Space One FPV provided my 180mm Frame, four motors, four ESCs, and a flight controller. 

I decided to start flying Line Of Sight (LOS) first, before going right to FPV, with goggles. There were two main reasons for this decision. The first was because the people around me recommended that I being LOS first. They believe it's important to see how the quad flies with your eyes first, and learn how to hover, turn, and keep the quad even in the air, before moving on to FPV. Some people believe that you should go right to FPV, and not fly LOS at all. Another determining factor for me was the cost. I could start to fly the quad without purchasing all of the FPV equipment, and parts.

The list of things to purchase is long. And if you're like me, with no previous RC experience, it can be an expensive hobby to get into. Here are a few tips:

  • Have an idea of what you want your quad to do, and how you would like to use it. Picking parts for your quad is a chain reaction. The motors, ESCs, Battery, props, FCs, PDBs, everything is connected, and they have to support one another. Before buying things off of friends, or the internet, make sure all of your componets will play nice with each other. Otherwise you are spending money on products that won't work, or will need to be replaced sooner than later.
  • What kind of shopper are you? About 90% of the pilots I have spoken to about this topic, suggest that you buy good quality tools and parts from the start. The first reason being that in FPV, you really do get what you pay for. Secondly, it will be more costly in the long run to replace parts on your quad, or your gear because you didnt spend a little extra to begin with. Also, there is resale value. If you decide you don't like a certain part, and it's still in great condition, you have a better chance of selling it. With that being said, I don't suggest you buy the newest latest thing for your first quad build. Purchase reliable, good quality items. You don't need to buy the new hype motors, or ESCs. Not only do you want to avoid "testing" the newest thing when you're building your first quad, but it may also be more difficult to find people that can help, and answer questions if something comes up. 
  • When planning your budget, allow for extra parts. Don't buy just four motors, props, ESCs, because you just need four. Something may not work. You may damage your quad within the first couple weeks. Nothing is worse than waiting for extra parts to come, especially if that part is now out of stock. You don't need to become  a hoarder, but have a few extras around.

Sound daunting? If you just want to get your feet wet, another option is a mini drone, or quad. 

This is my Proto-X. There are also other small quads to choose from. They come with remotes, and are a great way to get down flying basics.

Regardless of how you want to do it, one guarantee is that things will break, parts wont work. You will have to replace things, and there are many little tools, parts, and equipment that you'll need. before you start investing, consider the costs and reality of the hobby. You don't want to get to a point where you're so frustrated you'll want to stop. 

Up next; The Struggle is REAL! My challenges...until then...

Happy Flying!

*Very Special Thanks to Erick Robles:

Custom RC Hobby: (626) 993-2999 - IG: customrc1

259 Sierra Madre Villa Ave
Ste A

PasadenaCA 91107

 

Sex Love and Drones: The Story Behind the Blog

By: Kathleen Hickey

The past couple of months have brought a lot of change, which is why my blogs have been a little widespread. Those of you that have been with me from the start know that I've shared personal things about my past. I do it to be honest, and genuine, and if it helps one person know that another person has gone through the same, then it's worth it. I recently moved, and have started another new chapter in my life, which seems to be happening more and more frequently for me. I've seen on Social Media posts that others are possibly going through the same process I am. So for those of you that are new to SLD, and for those of you that may have been waiting for answers, I thought I would provide a little insight. 

What's In a Name

Probably the most common question I am asked, is why the name Sex Love and Drones. I usually tell people two answers. 1) It's a long story 2) Who doesn't like Sex, Love, or Drones? Or any combination of the three? It's actually very personal, and I've shared the origin of the name with very few people, but I think it's time to share.

Here's the real story behind Sex Love and Drones...

A couple of years ago I was at a job that was killing me to go to everyday, and I was in a relationship that for various reasons, was not working. I was able to start on a new career path, which was a leap of faith, and a huge cut in pay, but something that I enjoyed and was happy to go to. I cared a little more about my health, and tried to focus on friends, and my family. In that process I reconnected with a guy I had dated years before. He was engaged, and was planning a wedding, and I was in the process of evaluating my own relationship. We exchanged  few emails. He got married, and I went on vacation to Mexico. For the sake of the blog I'll call him That Drone Guy (TDG). When I got back from vacation, he started to aggressively message me, and ask to see me. I will admit the attention was nice. I knew he had just gotten married, and I knew that going down a certain path was not right. I held off on meeting him for three months. Finally I decided to meet with him, and we just went for a walk. We talked about our lives and how they had changed in those 7 years that we were apart. There was chemistry, there was attraction, and there were also a lot of issues with what we were doing. Our messages and phone calls continued. We confessed our love for each other. I told the person I was with that I thought we should see other people. We both had not been happy in a long long time. And a couple months after I met TDG again. 

He works in drones, and although at the beginning, it drove me crazy to hear him talk about them over and over during the little time we had together, I started to get interested, and ask more questions. He encouraged me to get into it myself, and fly. We met each other in Vegas for CES. I did not attend that year, but he spent the day. It was nine months since we had started talking, and I had planned a romantic trip to Palm Springs for my birthday in March. I had planned to share with him my big plans to start a blog about drones during that trip.

He never showed up that weekend. As I cried and drank champagne in my beautiful and empty hotel room, I tossed my drone blog idea to the side, and focused on my broken heart. On Monday I dragged myself into work, devastated, but also angry. I didn't want him to have anymore control over my life. I was talking to a couple of coworkers about my blog when one of them asked me what I was going to name it. I went to my desk and I thought about it. I knew that I wanted it to be fun, and show a bit of my personality. In a moment it came to me. Sex Love and Drones was everything that relationship was, and everything that had gotten me to this moment. It was real, and honest, and perfect. 

That Drone Guy and I stayed in contact after Palm Springs. (He actually took his wife there the next weekend...GASP). I told his wife the news, and of course she was unphased by it all, blinded in dilusion, just as I was. He and I sent messages and spoke for another 6 months. We continued to see each other, and have a physical relationship. We made it a rule that we would not talk about drones, or anything related to them. I know you're thinking that I was extremely stupid. I made a choice to continue seeing a married man under the belief that he had changed. He said he realized the error of his ways. He was on his way to being a better person, and confronting his inner demons. All this while still staying married, and still having an affair. He promised me honesty, and transparency, and I believed it. I was in love. 

So how did it finally end? Interdrone 2015. It would be our first event where we would see each other. His wife would be there as well. He insisted on talking on the phone about it. I had suspected that she was pregnant. We spoke on the phone about ground rules, what to expect and not expect. I asked him a few times if he had anything to tell me that I would need to know. He repeatedly said no. I was planning on attending Interdrone the last day, on Friday. I had kept up with events on Twitter. It was my first big event with Sex Love and Drones. Then someone I know that was at Interdrone, and knew the situation sent me a text. TDG's wife was pregnant. He had lied. And although I knew that he would never change, I wanted to believe that he was being honest with me. It was in that moment that I knew I could not go back again.

I wondered if I could continue my week old blog. Could I keep doing this knowing that it was over, and knowing I would see them if I stayed in this. I think That Drone Guy and I met once more after that. I needed to know how I would feel if I saw him, and when I did there was nothing but anger. I poured everything into my blog. He had taken so much away from me, but he was not going to take this away. I instantly went from being a shy people pleaser to deciding I would do something that I loved regardless of what he would think of it. Ive gotten the occasional missed call from him, and his door is always open...but we all know what that means. 

At the end of the day, Sex Love and Drones was all about me, and really had nothing to do with him. I love Sex. I love Love. I love Drones. I love the sound of motors. I love that I can build something...or try to with my own hands, and have it actually work (most of the time). I'm a girl in a mostly guy world, and not because of That Drone Guy or any other guy. I show up because I love it. I wear heels and dresses, and I do my hair because I love that too. A year ago I would have been too shy to ever go to something where I knew no one, and say hello, and now I go to races and meet people. I love to watch people fly, and hear them talk about something they are passionate about. There are times I get negative feedback about the name of my blog. But overall, I have so many positive responses. People that would never have heard about drones, or care about them, ask me about my blog and what I do almost daily. I talk about the benefits of drone technology, flying responsibly, and I try to address any concerns that people have about drones. My goal was to attract people that may not normally take a moment to see what drones are all about. People like my friends that have no background in tech, or RC, or gaming. I wanted to make drones accessible to people that want to learn about them, and for them to have fun in the process. 

Big changes are hard. Finding your passion and sticking to it is hard. I'm not proud of every decision I have made on this journey, and I've made mistakes. I've cried many tears, and taken some really scary steps. But if I have only one reader a week, I will continue SLD. It has brought me confidence, new friends, and a great community. More recently it has given me someone that is showing me how to love again, and how to let myself be loved by someone, and that alone makes it all worth it. If you're on the same path as me, keep going...

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." - Socrates

Happy Flying

                     

Do You Like to F....... Part 2

By Kathleen Hickey

The Recap

I hope those of you that read "Do You Like to F.......Part 1" enjoyed learning a little about the history of FPV racing, watching the You Tube videos that helped create the fan base, and basic flying information. If you didn't read Part 1... (tisk tisk)...but don't fear. Part 1 is available below. 

I again have to give a big thank you to Joe Scully Race Director of FPV Racing Events for giving me a full history and breakdown of FPV racing. FPV Racing Events hosts premier racing events in Canada, and the United States. Information on their upcoming events can be found by following the link to their website. 

I also need to thank AJ Goin, aka Awkbots, team pilot for Ready Made RC (RMRC), for sharing a pilot's perspective with me. 

To help with some of the terms, products, and lingo, I have also included a glossary, which is available at the end of the blog. I will add additional words per blog as they apply.

The Anatomy Of A Quad 

Now that you've seen a bit of what racing quads can do, here's a look at some of the main parts, and equipment you'll need to start flying.

  1. Frame: Quad frames are primarily made from carbon fiber. Frames are available in different millimeter sizes. Frames can be purchased already made, or if you're more advanced at racing, you can go with a custom built frame. 
  2. Motors: You'll need four, one for each propeller. 
  3. ESC: Electronic Speed Controller - Also four of these. 
  4. Props: You can't have enough...
  5. LiPo Batteries: Each battery varies in flight time. If you have added components attached to your battery, that can shorten how much air time you have. Which LiPo you decide to go with will depend on how much power you need, but you will probably want to purchase a good amount of batteries. Also, LiPo batteries can potentially be dangerous. You should never fly with a damaged battery. Any battery that has a damaged cell must be properly disposed of, even if the other cells are functioning. There are various ways to properly store batteries, but they need to be stored in a safe container of some kind. You should also never leave your batteries charging unattended. (Safety First!)
  6. Antenna
  7. Flight Controller: The most important part!
  8. Transmitter
  9. Receiver: This may come with the transmitter when you purchase one, but they can also be purchased separately and switched out. 
  10. Goggles: Fat Shark makes a variety of goggles. There are also Fat Shark kits you can purchase that come with the FPV camera, receiver, and transmitter. 
  11. Battery Charger

While looking for information on how to build a quad, I found this video on You Tube from Tested, which has a great step by step tutorial on the parts, and the building process. 

There are several other tools that you will need for the actual build. 

  • Soldering iron
  • 2mm hex driver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Exacto knife 
  • Wire Strippers
  • Small Screwdrivers
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Zip Ties (can never have too many of those...)

Additional tools and parts will be needed depending on the build. There are also various added components that were mentioned in the video, such as battery straps, locator, antenna tubes, spacer, etc. Some of these items you can purchase in sets. AJ recommends a tool set sold by RMRC, which you can take a look at here.

There are also ARF or RTF models available if you'd rather not build your own. It's also good to keep in mind that you'll have to replace parts due to crashing, so make sure to look into something that has components that can be replaced easily. 

As mentioned in the video,  it's important to understand what you would like to fly as a unit, and not purchase parts that are not compatible with the size and power needs of the quad you are building. There are various calculations for frame size, motors, ESCs, and batteries, to be sure you are purchasing parts that are the right size, and will give you the right amount of power to actually fly. There are also various race categories and/or requirements depending on the size of various parts, like your frame, or prop size, which is something to consider if you'd like to race. 

I asked AJ Goin (Awkbots), what advice he would give to someone wanting to get into FPV Racing, and here's what he had to say about building your own quad. "One thing I would say is, when getting into a hobby, don't buy the cheapest everything in fear of not enjoying it. I always buys the best the first time, because it makes the experience more enjoyable, and if you don't end up liking it, it's much easier to sell. Obviously not everyone can afford to get the best gear immediately, but do your research and get the best bang for the buck gear."

When just starting out, AJ believes the key thing keep in mind, is to keep it simple. "Get something in the air, line of sight first, and really try to get the hang of that, then graduate to FPV. Don't worry about trying to fly miles away or have GPS position hold...if it's something you want to do, watch as many You Tube videos on it as possible. If you're still interested after that then maybe try it. For me personally, I don't use a single bell or whistle, and never get more than 100-200 yards away. I don't feel like walking that far after I crash (and you will crash). No matter how many videos you watch and see amazing pilots do what seem like perfect runs, just know WE ALL CRASH!"  

Part three of the blog is all about the actual race. From the different types of races, requirements, pilots, and how to get started in an actual race yourself, I'll go over the race from top to bottom. I'll also be sharing a list of events in 2016, and the races I'm most looking forward to. Until then, take a look at what you need to make your quad dreams a reality...and as always...

Happy Flying!

Please keep in mind that all drone flying requires pilots to follow safety guidlines and standards. If you are in the US, please visit the FAA website, or Know Before You Fly to ensure a safe flying experience. 

Glossary

  • ARF: Almost Ready to Fly - a drone that requires some assembly before flight. 
  • Fixed Wing: Usually referring to hobby planes, which have wings, and not removable propellers, or props. 
  • FPV: First Person View - a method used to control a UAV from the viewpoint of the pilot. The UAV is piloted from a first person perspective by an on-board camera, which is fed with wireless technology to a video monitor, or FPV goggles. 
  • Multi-Rotor: Another name for multicopters, or quadcopters. 
  • Quad: Another name for a drone. 
  • RC: Remote-Control
  • RPV: Remote Person View - another term for FPV
  • RTF: Ready To Fly - No assembly required before flight.
  • Video Piloting: An alternate term for FPV and/or RPV
  • VTX: Video Transmitter System

Do You Like to F....... Part 1

By Kathleen Hickey

Going Down The Rabbit Hole

My interest in FPV racing started a few months ago. Watching You Tube Videos of FPV racing and freestyle is a very different experience from watching tranquil, slow moving aerial photography footage. FPV racing is fast and looks uncontrolled, when it is in fact very calculated (usually). While it may be the worst nightmare of any drone owner to crash, in FPV racing, crashing is more of a matter of when, and not if. When flying a standard hobby drone, there may be occasions when there is more than one in the air because you're flying with friends, or doing a demonstration. In those cases, pilots usually fly a good distance away from each other, to avoid getting into each other's shots, and for safety reasons. In racing, quads are racing in close proximity, at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Instead of avoiding obstacles, racers and freestyle pilots want to go through them. Racing pilots seemed like the bad boys, and girls, of the drone world, and I wanted to learn more.

So take my hand and lets go together, into the world of FPV Racing. 

The Breakdown  

Because I realized there is so much content and information, I decided to break the blog down into three different posts. My method in writing is to seek out the information on my own, without asking someone for assistance. It helps me to understand what information is available for readers to find on their own, and the most helpful resources. Because racing is so new, it was difficult to find out about the history, and guidelines of drone racing on my own. 

I was very fortunate to have the assistance of Joe Scully Race Director of FPV Racing Events to give me a full history and breakdown of FPV racing. FPV Racing Events hosts premier racing events in Canada, and the United States. Information on their upcoming events can be found by following the link to their website. 

To help with a pilot perspective, I was lucky to have the input of AJ Goin, aka Awkbots, team pilot for Ready Made RC (RMRC)

To help with some of the terms, products, and lingo, I have also included a glossary, which is available at the end of the blog. I will add additional words per blog as they apply.

In the Beginning

FPV technology first became available almost ten years ago, when Fat Shark released the worlds first wireless FPV video goggle. Fat Shark's technology and importance in FPV racing was mentioned by Joe Scully in our conversation about the history of FPV. "It really developed that immersive experience where people could go inside the craft and see exactly what their craft was doing." 

Although the technology existed, application and accessibility were slow to follow. In the past ten years, as drone, and video technology have become increasingly better in quality, and more affordable, so has the demand and interest for FPV. People that are drone pilots are more easily ale to transition into FPV, or racing if they have found themselves looking for another type of flying experience, which is something Joe spoke to. "Once you put the camera, and the goggles, and the VTX on, you know everyone goes up and they see what their house looks like, and they see what their neighbors house looks like from the air. Then they get kind of tired of that, and then what’s the next step, and the natural evolution is racing and that’s how I’m thinking in short terms it has really taken off." 

Two years ago, FPV Racing found a place for racers and fans to share and watch incredible racing and freestyle videos, and like many other things in modern day life, we have You Tube to thank. Joe Scully broke down the four most influential FPV You Tube videos, and what they have done for FPV racing, and freestyle. 

"There’s one video that I like to refer to when I’m talking to people new into the drone racing world. It’s called “FPV Racing – Crash Session” and it is a German group that released this. It came out in about October 2014, so just over a year ago this video came out and it has had 2.2, almost 2.3 million views, and that’s the one that I think really sparked drone racing where it is now, and that was one of the first videos where the craft had LEDs on them, and the footage on-board with the GoPros was HD. it looked phenomenal and everyone really got excited, they were like 'this is like watching Star Wars' you know, in first hand."

"Shortly thereafter a group in France released another video. What they did, is they did the same sort of thing as the German people, but they raced on a bike course, like a mountain bike course, so it was actually defined,  and there was caution tape and so forth, and this was probably about the same time, about  November,  December 2014 and that video now has had 2.2 mil views."

"I think the third video in succession would be when Charpu was found on Tested, a video blog, and they followed Charpu, and his whole freestyle flow element of flying through really interesting locations." 

"Then people are now looking for the next bog location, so the next one I think was done by another German group they released another video around January 2015 and they did a race literally underground, in an underground parking garage."

Those four videos have helped to push FPV racing, and freestyle into the forefront of the drone industry. Due to its You Tube origins, most pilots go by their You Tube names. The names are used in their videos, and when they race, or compete. Freestyle is another component of FPV racing. In freestyle, pilots perform tricks, and try to fly under, through, and over various obstacles in unique locations. Drones for freestyle usually larger than ones used for racing, or competition quads, to accommodate a larger and heavier camera. Some pilots show videos in FPV only, and some use line of sight cameras, as well.  

Watching videos can help give a better sense of flying, and to learn about pilots, and their various styles. It can also work as inspiration to start flying, like it did for AJ Goin, aka Awkbots. "Justin Welander aka Juz70. I saw his videos 3-4 years ago and was instantly hooked. When I first saw his videos, I was still dealing with issues from a couple of concussions I had received from motocross. I couldn't ride any more but still wanted to be around the sport. At the time I was filming motocross races just for fun. I got a lot out of just being at the track, filming, and editing. That filled the void of not riding any more. Then I saw a Juz video and found a new thing. Every time I watched one of his videos I couldn't help but think how cool it would be to film motocross like that, and I eventually did film a race with a hoverthings 450 frame, that took me all week to get working, and managed to get flying the day before the MX race. It was line of sight only though. That was my first quad that I had built, and had bought a Blade MQX a few weeks prior to learn how to fly line of sight." After taking a break for a couple of years, Awkbots has become a Team Pilot for Ready Made RC, and has competed in two races, most recently at F3Expo in Atlanta, where he and his team won the ThunderDrone 500. 

Are you hooked yet? The next two parts will cover races, parts and components, how to get into racing, and a 2016 schedule of the FPV events you wont want to miss. Please keep in mind that all drone flying requires pilots to follow safety guidlines and standards. If you are in the US, please visit the FAA website, or Know Before You Fly to ensure a safe flying experience. 

And as always... Happy Flying

Glossary

  • Fixed Wing: Usually referring to hobby planes, which have wings, and not removable propellers, or props. 
  • FPV: First Person View - a method used to control a UAV from the viewpoint of the pilot. The UAV is piloted from a first person perspective by an on-board camera, which is fed with wireless technology to a video monitor, or FPV goggles. 
  • Multi-Rotor: Another name for multicopters, or quadcopters. 
  • Quad: Another name for a drone. 
  • RPV: Remote Person View - another term for FPV
  • RC: Remote-Control 
  • Video Piloting: An alternate term for FPV and/or RPV
  • VTX: Video Transmitter System

New Pilot Experience

By Kathleen Hickey

The New Pilot Experience is offered by DJI, and facilitated by its authorized partners. Registration opens one month before the event, and closes a week before the event date. After online registration is complete, each participant will receive an email invitation from the authorized partner. Space is limited, so it's possible that not everyone signing up, will receive a confirmation email. 

The current class highlights the DJI Phantom. There is also a brief overview of other products, such as the Inspire 1, Ronin, Spreading Wings, and OSMO. There is a comparison of the Phantom 3 Series models, and a features overview, as well as information about the DJI App. The class itself is an hour long, with a flight demonstration, and hands-on flight experience. 

There was DJI swag, and a raffle to win various discounts on the purchase of a Phantom. Giveaways, and discounts may vary by retailer. If you can't make it to one of the events, there is a downloadable guide available. Here are a few pictures from the event I attended. 

Happy Flying!