The Art of Drone Racing

Drone Nationals 2016 National Drone Racing Championships, Governors Island

Drone racing is a fast growing hobby where drone pilots race drones against each other. The experience is surprisingly intense. Most drone races today are done using FPV which is a specific drone type that is equipped with cameras for the pilot to fly them as if they are literally sitting in the cockpit. The pilots use specialized FPV goggles that offer a more immersive experience. 

The History of Drone Racing

In the previous years, FPV flying was done using RC planes before the arrival of FPV. The latter has grown more popular because it’s much stable, agile and easier to fly. People started making the smaller and standard FPV drones in 2013. These were considered better because they looked more agile and maneuverable than before and would hold up better in crashes.

In 2014, an RC Flying Club situated in France posted the “Star Wars Style” video which drew more than 3 million views. 

In 2015, the first race was approved by a US-based Academy of Model Aeronautics. The race was held in Santa Cruz where Zoe Stumbaugh won and attracted large following.

In July 2015 was the first U.S National Drone racing championships which were organized by Rotor Sports. The race took place is Sacramento, California and attracted more than 100 competitors. It involved three main events: the race, freestyle and team competitions which Chad Nowak an Australian won.

In March 2016, the World Drone Prix was organized in Dubai which carried a prize of $1 million in money and a custom built track for the winners. More than 150 racers showed up in the competition which Luke Bannister, a 15-year-old from England won and even proceeded to win again in the following month at the iconic Wembley Stadium, London.

Early 2016, the US Drone Racing League was launched in a bid to establish the sport in future. The races continue to be held in various places such as the Power Plant and the NFL stadium.

Drone racing revolution is unstoppable, but it’s just at its infancy stage compared to what will be happening in the sport a few years to come. Therefore, people who are doing the racing now will be considered as the pioneers of the upcoming sport.

Rules and Regulations of Drone Racing

To begin the sport, you need to have the right components for the sport such as a drone like the Yuneec Typhoon H, goggles, and controllers among other things. The Federation Aviation Administration released the operational rules for the drone racing. The rules are meant to enhance safety and harness innovations.

The pilot has to keep the drone within a visual line in sight. The operations have to take place in daylight and during twilight provided the drone has anti-collision lights. Besides, the drone should not fly over people on the ground unless they’re directly participating in the UAS.

The pilot has to be at least 16 years old and with a remote pilot certificate or be closely supervised by a certified person.

The drone operator is responsible for ensuring the racing is safe before beginning the flight. The FAA recommends that the pilot should perform a pre-flight trial to ensure that all the systems are in excellent conditions. 

The Future of Drone Racing

It’s without a doubt that the promising sport will follow the trajectory of competitive gaming hence generating large amounts of revenue worldwide. So many people are competing to make a name for themselves by posting videos on social platforms like the YouTube, and a few have gathered quite a large following from the videos. 

Besides, with the desire to make drones increasing among people, purpose-built racing courses have started to emerge. For instance, in mid-August 2016 the world’s biggest drone maker, DJI, will open in Seoul.

That being said, drone racing has all the markings of a modern-day sport. The main challenge is the current technology which doesn’t allow the transmission of fir-person footage in HD.

The best thing about the sport, however, is it’s inexpensive and can accommodate plenty of people. There will be new groups of fans in future who will make this incredible sport even more amazing. Once all the HD video, as well as other few things, get sorted, the fastest growing sport will definitely be fun to watch.

Drone Racing is here to stay!

About the Author

Victor Bertoni is a content manager for He’s a geek, self-described “techie,” and he can be found around the net writing about mobile apps, technology, drones, and all things related! He’s also a dog dad, husband, expat, and foodie.

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