So you want to get started drone racing?
While the pros are generally making custom-built drones, it’s easy to get started with ready to fly drones (including those first-person-view FPV goggles) for under $500 before you commit to your own build.
There are 3 items you’ll need:
- An RC transmitter
- FPV Goggles
- The Drone!
Here’s what I’m using:
Drone: Blade Nano QX2 FPV BNF
Transmitter: You’ll need your own DSMX transmitter. I used the Spektrum 1000 DXe Transmitter System which worked out great and was easy to bind.
Headset: I used the Teleporter V4, which was developed by Fat Shark exclusively for Horizon Hobby.
You charge the drone’s battery through a USB port and the Fat Sharks through a wall outlet. Then, you bind the transmitter to the drone — a quick process of waiting for lights to blink, then pressing the “bind” button while turning on the receiver. Then, since the drone is headset ready, you just power on the Fat Sharks, find the channel your drone is on (up to seven 5.8GHz FPV systems can be flown at one time), and you’re good to go.
How to practice flying FPV:
- While typically I would recommend you fly drones outdoors to be as safe as possible, this one is definitely better of flying indoors.
- The prop guards will protect your walls from scratches and the drone is light enough that even if you feel like you’re going to crash, you can drop it to the ground and it won’t damage the drone.
- Flying indoors also means not having to worry about weather (even slight wind can make a difference), as well as following FAA rules.
Tips to get started drone racing:
- Make obstacle courses for yourself. It can be as simple as flying between your door frame, from one room to another. Then upgrade the obstacles — maybe it’s flying underneath the legs of a table, or if you’re feeling advanced, the legs of your chair.
- In that same vein, plan out your route ahead of time. You may not have a fancy, LED-lit racetrack in your house, but you can plan a “track” to follow
- Make sure your goggles are secure. They should be loose enough that you don’t feel like they’ll give you a headache, but tight enough that you can move your head freely.
- No flying in reverse! This may seem obvious, but it’s worth saying — the camera is only in front of the drone, so keep flying forwards at all time.
- Bring a spotter. This is not as necessary indoors, but if you do head outdoors — always bring a spotter so you’re aware of your surroundings while the goggles are on.