So You Want To Host a Race
So you’re thinking of hosting your own race. Great! There’s some basic guidelines to make sure your pilots will have fun, the safety of your attendees (both pilots and spectators) will be guaranteed, and everyone will go home happy.
First thing you’ll need is a race course. Designing a course should be done carefully, taking into account the available open space (or, in the case of an ‘in the woods’ or cluttered space, how much of that space you want to dedicate for racing), how easy it is to retrieve lost drones, etc.
Some good guidelines:
- All courses should be be cleared of potentially damageable items
- No spectators, animals, or pilots should be on the course during racing
- Course size recommendations (This is entire length, start to start)
- Class I – 100 meters
- Class M – 200 meters
- All pilots check in and register their craft with the referees. A basic safety check is performed
- All components secured to the frame (motors, FC, ESC’s, etc). No dangling or loose pieces
- Batteries are secured with velcro or similar, and will not easily slide out or shift
- All wires are managed via zip ties or similar, and will not interfere with rotors
- At the discretion of the site owner / race manager, insurance or a waiver may be required from all pilots.
FPV Good Practices
One of the biggest challenges when doing races (or any event where multiple craft are in the air at the same time) is making sure FPV frequencies don’t overlap. All pilots should either have with them or be provided a copy of the FPV Frequency Chart. Pilots should also be familiar enough with their particular transmitters to be able to identify and change their channels quickly and easily (no hard-mounted covered DIP switches!).
Many organizations will pre-print ‘frequency cards’ that pilots can sign out from the main tent to show that they are using a particular channel. If you don’t have the frequency card, you should not power up your transmitter. This avoids the frustrating (and sometimes dangerous!) possibility of someone ‘stepping’ on your FPV signal while you’re in mid flight.
- Spotters should monitor the entire course to assure the space is safe to operate in. Spotters should be able to quickly and easily relay to the Race Organizer if the race needs to be stopped (Radio communications, air hornes, whistles, etc). If a spotter calls a halt to the race, all pilots must stop and land immediately.
- Some well established signalling mechanism should be used by the referees to call a halt. A handheld airhorn, radios with a specific “HOLD” message, etc.
- Pilots must be aware of race referee with them in the pits and be able to perceive, understand, and respond to conditions reported by the referee.