FPV Drone Racing is the newest form of fast-action hobbyist thrills. Participants look through a set of goggles that are linked to a camera mounted on a drone, giving the “First-Person-Viewing” experience. The most common drone types are “quad-drones,” that is, drones having four sets of helicopter-like blades that propel the drone through the air. Check out a great article about fpv drone goggles here.
Contestants race their drones against one another through a variety of courses. Some tournaments set up courses in fields using flags and markers. For the more adventurous, some races occur within warehouses or other indoor building where the spaces are tighter and the stakes higher. Basically, anywhere you can squeeze a drone through an opening is fair-game for an FPV Drone Race.
Like any hobby, the way you approach drone racing is up to you. Some people eager to get their wings will buy ready-made drones and take to flight right away. More experienced hobbyists will prefer to build their drones from the ground up, custom building each component for just the right settings. Either way, you can put about as much money into this as you want, but expect to start anywhere from $200 to $1,000.
When you do finally take off, take it easy. This is a whole new experience and slow-and-steady is the key. Be ready to crash...a lot. Begin in open fields so that you can get the feel of your drone and become comfortable with viewing through the goggles and learning the controls. As you become more and more experienced, slowly shift to tighter spacing, but only so much as you are comfortable, do not overdo it. As with any skill, practice is the key. When you finally feel ready for competition; don’t worry about winning your first race, just focus on finishing it. That is a major accomplishment that not everyone makes.
When practicing your drone flying skills, make sure you follow basic safety protocols. Make sure the channel you are using for your camera feed is not in use before you start your drone. Do not race your drone in public where you might hit an innocent spectator. Never fly your drone over people—remember this is basically a helicopter, if it falls, it will not glide through the air; it will fall straight down on someone’s head. Never mix drone flying and alcohol.
Finally, look for a local FPV drone club in your area. In many cases, these clubs will offer classes and training sessions to get you started. If you no club exists near you, now is the perfect time to start one and bring other people as excited as you about FPV Drone Racing together!