Gearing up for the sport of drone racing

Over the last few years drones have started to be a regular sight all around south africa for both commercial use as well as recreational activities. Drones come in various shapes and sizes depending on their desired use and in this article we will be focusing on drone racing in South Africa and what equipment you will need to enter this fast paced, quick thinking sport. Drones used for racing are usually radio controlled 4 blade machines known as quadcopters. In drone racing it is preferable to have a smaller drone which is therefore lighter and more nimble and allows for easy navigation through tight obstacles. Generally speaking the obstacles or "checkpoints" on a course are in the form of basic horseshoe shaped hoops that are fastened onto the ground however there is no limit to the creativity that is often used. Some race organisers will make use of suspended light rings in place of the hoops, especially during events held at night.  If this paragraph has you interested in entering the sport of drone racing, hosting your own events or competing in your local area you're going to require some equipment in order to get started. 

1. A drone, the most important requirement of drone racing. There is an extremely wide range of drones available for purchase depending on your budget. If you are new to the flying of remote control aircraft, drones in particular, then its advised that you start off with an affordable drone as chances are quite high you will end up crashing it at some point while learning. As your skills improve you can upgrade to a faster and more agile drone. 

2. Drone camera and headset. Drone racing is often called FPV, an abbreviation for First Person View and this is due to the camera and headset combination. The camera needs to be attached onto the drone and it is therefore imperative that it is very lightweight and be able to broadcast a video signal in real time in order for the pilot to effectively navigate the race course. 

3. Drone obstacles or hoops. There are a wide range of different obstacles and hoops available for purchase and the colours and styles vary greatly. If your budget is running thin after the above purchases you can always pop by your local hardware store and find an affordable solution in the form of PVC piping. Although it may not be as ecstatically pleasing, it will serve its purpose and give you a DIY project for the weekend. 

With all the above in place it is extremely important to read up on the drone guidelines for your area and to stick to them to avoid a fine or unnecesary tightening of regulations as a result of abuse. The drone racing community in South Africa is very helpful and it would be beneficial to visit a hobby shop in your area where they can point you in the right direction when looking to find fellow enthusiasts and events.