The New Hampshire Techfest and the USDRA are hosting an open race event on Saturday, October 15th in Windham, NH. This is an open event any pilot with a drone can join. If you’re a new pilot or an old hand, this race promises to be a lot of fun. Last year we had an enthusiastic audience cheering from the sidelines, so come on out!
This evening I powered up my new Connex ProSight Digital HD video system for the first time. Even though this was just a bench test, it cemented my feeling that this system signalsl significant changes in FPV Racing are coming.
Virtually all hobbyist and semi-pro racers use a video system not far removed from old ‘broadcast’ television. Analog signals broadcast from a drone in the 5.8 megahertz band. These transmissions must be on their own frequency, and if another pilot turns on their transmitter nearby, and it’s on the same frequency, a pilot can lose the video signal to the drone, and thus lose control of it. At races, a significant amount of time and energy is put into making sure only pilots in their designated timeslots power on their video transmitters. Turning on a transmitter on a frequency at the wrong time is a serious breach of etiquette, and can get you removed from an event.
Even with perfect frequency management, video using the 5.8gig analog transmitters and receivers can be staticy, low resolution, and finicky.
Digital video systems have been around for a while, but they’ve been tremendously expensive, power hungry, and requiring a complex infrastructure to work. Now, it looks like the Connex folks have perfected their system to bring digital video to the hobbyist pilot.
The system, dubbed the Connex ProSight, consists of a high resolution camera, transmitter, flight controller interconnect, antenna, HD receiver, and all the appropriate cables. In our bench tests, the configuration was straightforward and the system came up already paired and ready to go.
Because the signals are digital (the same way remote control transmitters have gone all digital), it’s possible to run multiple video signals in the same space, without having them ‘step on’ each other. For events with over 5-6 pilots, this means more time can be spent flying, testing, and tinkering, and less time wrangling frequencies.
We’ll be doing a more in depth review of the Connex ProSight system soon, but our initial tests look very very promising.
The Connex ProSight system is $499, and available at ConnexHD.com
Our partner site, Drone Racing life published an article USDRA Chairman Dave Shevett wrote regarding the AMA. Folks should check it out, it’s good stuff…
Eventually, the drone pilots and the AMA started talking to each other, and realized everyone was on the same side. All it took was an understanding that enthusiasts and builders want to have fun and be safe. It soon came clear is there was a common cause for both the AMA and the new drone community. The public, the press, and the government were all forming their own ideas about what our hobby was about, and the ‘risks’ they saw with it, and in our eyes… it didn’t match with what we all knew.
This video is circulating in the FPV Racing community, and should be required viewing for anyone considering flying in a public space…
A group of FPV pilots were flying at an AMA RC field after a race. One fellows quad lost signal and did what it was supposed to do – dropped to the ground. Unfortunately, a woman walking nearby decided she had been ‘attacked’ by the drone and almost killed, so she stole the drone and tried to hide it from the pilots. The pilots had an RSSI fix on the drone, so they knew she was carrying it. She became argumentative, combative, and ultimately hysterical, threatening the pilots.
The GoPro was running the entire time, and recorded what happened.
Without this recording, it would be the pilots word against her. But even without this, this is the world all pilots must understand we’re living in. People distrust drones, and have unreasoning hatred toward them. Pilots must understand that people will lie to our faces, steal our equipment, and attack us, no matter how careful we are.
These pilots did exactly the right thing. Remained calm, recorded everything, did not threaten or confront other than wanting their equipment back. They brought in the police who immediately understood the woman was not being reasonable, and the encounter ended peacefully.
Remember – people are people. No matter how in the wrong they may be, do not argue, do not confront, and make sure you’re covered. Before flying in any area, no matter how ‘safe’ it may seem, make sure you have your AMA membership, FCC registration, and understand all the flight restrictions and permitting that are applicable.
And always, when the opportunity arises, educate. Talk with people, show them what we’re doing. Nine times out of ten, one experience with FPV goggles will do far more than an argument shouted across a park will ever do.
While not technically drone racing, Corridor Digital brought in a couple racing pilots to do a Star Wars themed chase / aerial fight. Those of who have been racing for a while already know how this feels, but putting a nice SF theme on it was a great touch. Nice work guys!
A big announcement today from ProSight. Resellers will be accepting orders for the ConnexHD digital FPV transmitter on June 1st. This may be the holy grail for many FPV racers frustrated with the current analog 5.8 environment.
CONNEX™ ProSight is the missing link needed to usher in a new era in FPV racing. Plagued by analog systems’ poor image quality, and connectivity issues in multi-pilot scenarios, the sport needs a breakthrough to take it to the next level.
CONNEX ProSight is just that, transforming FPV drones into a completely new kind of immersive experience for beginners and experts alike.
The Connex ProSight HD Vision Pack is a true game changer. It delivers unparalleled vision performance with delay-free wireless transmission. Its superior image quality combined with ease of installation, smooth configuration and improved multi-pilot flying experience that provide unmatched usability.
Price for the Bundle Package: US$499
This is higher than existing analog systems (by a factor of 5), but the possibility of getting high quality digital video, without the channel mayhem, with 27 simultaneous channels, and the ability to use digital HUD / goggles – this is something we’re going to be very excited to get our hands on!
The DRL has put out another video pushing their professional racing league. While the video is pretty slick and fancy, with a lot of production value, it’s so overloaded with obviously scripted interplay, the ‘token’ female pilot (who gets pushed out almost immediately), and the hypercuts and obviously staged crashes, it just looks like a boring “reality video” show.
Drone racing is about skill and enjoyment of the sport. Trashtalking your pilot friends and wearing costumes is not why we’re here. Skilled piloting, exciting courses, and the thrill of flying is what drives us. Not “win at all costs.”
DRL, you obviously have the money, but stop trying to rip the soul out of our sport.
The FAA has opened up it’s comment period on the new proposal for registering UAV’s. Under the tongue-bending title “Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS”, the site is now looking for comments and feedback on the proposal. If you have an opinion on this topic, now is the time to voice it!
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The USDRA is supportive of this process, and believes the FAA is acting in the best interest of the public. We have reached out to the FAA requesting that we have input into the decision process, so that the racing community will not be adversely affected by any new rules that are forthcoming.