You’ve surely heard of it by now. Most grandparents have probably heard of it by now. Or maybe that’s just ours.
Regardless it’s the oft branded ‘sport of the future’, despite existing very much in the present. So what of this sport of the presentfuture?
FPV drone racing is flying a racing drone, or quad, at 70mph and upwards through gates, tunnels, caves and forests whilst trying to beat others either with better tricks or faster times. You wear goggles (hence the FPV or first person view) and you see what the camera on the front of the drone sees.
This is an honest guide as to how to get started drone racing.
It sounds cool right. So why isn’t it everywhere yet?
One key reason is, as it so often is, money. The barriers to entry in drone racing are far higher than football, basketball, tennis, whatever and that’s largely down to cold hard cash. Certainly, drone racing demands some technical know how (and tools) too but the very basics are nothing that can’t be learned with a few dedicated evenings on Youtube.
Thanks to the wonders of a capitalist economy this financial barrier to entry is gradually being eroded. The price of drones is falling, and it’s falling pretty fast. As the sport generates more attention with more local events, plus more high profile races broadcast on ESPN and Sky Sports, not to mention more Youtube channels created by enthusiastic amateurs, there’ll be ever more companies catering to this relatively new demand.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, Googling drone racing as a newcomer is frankly intimidating. There are too many options, too many opinions and too many various bits of kit required to do this and to do that.
Stop hunting. To get started there’s one drone, and one drone only, that is the Third Law Sports recommended ultimate beginner pick. It’s small enough and safe enough that you can fly it inside, its propellers are protected meaning crashing won’t mean fixing (hopefully), and it’s reasonably priced too. It’ll also give you a taste of the sport to see whether it’s for you. Hint, it probably is. It is the one and only Blade Inductrix, more commonly known as the Tiny Whoop.
For a professional drone racing kit you need to spend a fair few hundred pounds for everything, this is including the FPV goggles which is one of the more major purchases.
Prices of the drones themselves vary considerably too. Lumenier is a reliable brand with a range of prices.
Incidentally the Tiny Whoop name is simply a title given to a Blade Inductrix jazzed up with a small camera mounted on top, and some more powerful motors attached too.
Here is what you need to get started
- Blade Inductrix (RTF) (This will include a remote) (£52.99)
- Micro FPV Camera FX797T 5.8ghz (£29.99)
- Camera Mount (£3.00)
- Motors (£21.99 for a set)
- Lipo Batteries (205mah) (£5.85 each. Recommended to buy a few as one gives a fly time of around 3 minutes)
- FPV Monitor Display (£68.93)
- Total: £200.30 (estimate)
- FPV goggles (£250+) (You can get these for less but this is assuming you purchase a well known and regarded set of Fat Shark goggles).
- Note: You could save this purchase for once you know you’re committed, as they can be used with any racing drone once you move up.
What to consider
- If you want to save money but still want to try out some basic drone flying then you can just buy the Inductrix and some spare batteries. If you want to try the real FPV experience however then one way is to turn your Inductrix into a Tiny Whoop, and as they use a 5.8ghz channel you’ll need a monitor or set of goggles.
- The FPV monitor is cheaper but basically all pilots prefer the goggles. Prices should come down in the near future.
- Flight times from batteries vary but they are short so clearly the more you buy, and charge up, the better.
Wanna know how to put it together? Got you covered; check out this guide on Oscar Liang’s site. It’s both comprehensive and image heavy.
If you’re yet to be enticed, here is a video of a guy tiny whooping round house with a nice theme tune.
This is also a great site, intofpv.com, to help you with any FAQs.
(Disclosure: This is not a paid article and we receive no commission if you decide to buy them at the stores noted. We merely recommend them as trusted retailers. As Tiny Whoop fans ourselves, this is an honest view of one of the best and most affordable ways to try out drone racing for the first time.)