Drone Racing


Drone Video Footage – Elk City, OK Tornado Devastation

caused by a tornado that ripped through and destroyed at least 40 houses. One person died in this terrible tragedy, and at least 20 more people were injured. Video captured by the drone shows the horror of a storm that unleashed its fury on both of the towns of Carter and Elk City. Flying over …

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Feinstein’s “Drone Federalism Act” Would Give States Sweeping Powers Over Drones

Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the “Drone Federalism Act of 2017” designed to limit the scope of FAA’s preemption for drone regulations and protect states’ rights to enact drone laws. The Drone Federalism Act would give states sweeping rights to dramatically limit drone use.  The Act seeks to define the FAA’s preemption as limited to only “the extent […]

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Paris Air Show 2017: Aeronautics Orbiter 4 Multi-Mission STUAS and the Pegasus 120 Tactical VTOL UAS

orbiterAeronautics Group, a leading UAS manufacturer, will present its wide range of comprehensive defense solutions and UAS platforms at the Paris Air Show. The company will present its newest UAS – the multi-mission Orbiter 4, which can carry and operate two different payloads simultaneously. For example, the Orbiter 4 can carry a maritime patrol radar […]

Flyability drone journey to the center of the earth

flyabilityOver the weekend of May 20th to 21st Flyability has taken part in an expedition that marks a new milestone in cave exploration. For the first time, a drone has been used – for a scientific purpose – to explore the area of a cave that would have been otherwise inaccessible or too dangerous for […]

DJI Headset Goggles review! – Now available for Order – specs, videos and more!

When DJI announced the Mavic Pro, they also showed a pair of advanced FPV/VR Goggles. Unfortunately, these have not yet been available – until now! In the meantime it appears they have cut the price in 1/2 (based on original projections). The goggles are available to order for just $449. DJI has provided us access to […]

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First Look and Review – DJI $1349 Phantom 4 Advanced with 1″ Sony Sensor & CrystalSky Monitor

DJI has announced a version of the Phantom 4 – like the Pro and Pro +, it features the 1″ Sony Sensor, larger lens and higher resolutions and bitrates. It is sold without the rear and side obstacle avoidance (I personally don’t use them anyway!) – the good news is that you get the top […]

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The Drone Report – 2017 #1

The Drone Report – 2017 #1 Introduction – this article will bring the reader up-to-date (mid-2017) in terms of most facets of the consumer drone (multirotor) business. Please consider it an “Executive Summary” and excuse the lack of detail on each of the many subjects involved. Note – this is also slanted toward the N. […]

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Want to Get Into FPV Drone Racing? Consider Force1 RC’s FPV Drone Racing Kit

I remember the first time I heard about first-person-view (FPV) drone racing.

It was back in October 17th 2014.

I only know this because at the time, I had JUST finished building our website. And I was furiously researching the drone industry. One lovely morning, I saw a video on YouTube of PEOPLE RACING DRONES IN THE FRENCH ALPS.

Wow. I couldn’t believe it. It was like Star Wars pod-racing…but in real life. In the Alps. Around trees. With robots and cool goggles and high-pitched zeeeyahhhuuums I’d never really heard before.

I saw that video, and I asked myself one very important question.

What does it feel like to be an FPV drone racing pilot?

Getting Into FPV Drone Racing

FPV Racing is a new and rapidly growing sport that’s getting commercialized by organizations like the Drone Racing LeagueU.S. Drone Racing Association, MultiGP, and events like the World Drone Racing Championships.

The first time I flew FPV was on the Drone Racing League’s free simulator. The software is free to download, but I bought the FrSky Taranis X9D Plus 2.4GHz Telemetry Radio & Aluminum Case Mode 2 Transmitter to be able to fly with real joysticks. It was very easy to set up and came with a rugged silver case to make me feel special.

fpv drone racing simulator

I spent…a lot of time on that simulator.

Maybe 30-40 hours. I hadn’t enjoyed a game like that in a while. I’m on their email list, and they recently released a new level / course to race. Check it out…it’s free!

No, I Don’t Want to Build an FPV Racing Drone Myself

But then, when I wanted to take my newly honed stick skills and racing confidence to the real world, I had a hard time transitioning out of the simulator.

Thing is, I was lazy.

At the time, most people were soldering together their own custom FPV drone racing systems. And of the companies putting kits together, they were incomplete in the sense that you STILL needed to buy a transmitter, Goggles, spare parts, etc. There wasn’t a true “ready to fly” system you could just buy off the shelf. Or if there was, I certainly couldn’t find it.

I just didn’t feel like piecing together a whole system from the ground up.

Inside Force1 RC’s FPV Drone Racing Kit

And then I received a demo unit of this super awesome drone racing kit from the team over at Force1 RC.

fpv drone racing kit box

Everything I needed to fly. All in one place. Still some setup required, but much easier to get off the ground than all the other options I had evaluated up to that point.

Putting it together took about 90 minutes. I emailed their support team at one point and received back a quick reply. That was a great sign and not always the case with drone manufacturers / companies I’ve worked with.

Here’s what comes with the Force1 RC FPV Drone Racing Kit:

  • Carbon fiber frame with integrated electronics (AKA all the wires already soldered together, the motors hooked up, etc.)
  • A 2.4GHz controller / transmitter with customizable switches and a color LCD screen
  • A 5.8 GHz set of FPV racing goggles
  • Other accessories like spare parts and a LiPo battery balance charger

FPV drone racing kit

I had to be careful my first few flights while I got used to the controls. This bad boy packs a SERIOUS punch and can zip and zoom and zweeeee in all directions very quickly.

I’ve only gone through a few battery cycles so far, but MAN this thing is fun. It has an impressive ground range of nearly 3,000 feet. I’ve tested it to about 300 feet without any lag in the video feed.

And no crashes yet! Maybe I’m not training hard enough. Gee whiz, who knows what the future will hold for this aspiring FPV racing pilot 🙂

But anyway, if you’re looking to get into FPV drone racing, I definitely recommend Force1’s racing kit. I’ve had great luck with their instructions and support team on multiple products of theirs over the last few years. Questions? support (at) uavcoach (dot) com.


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Court Rules Hobbyists No Longer Have to Register Drones with the FAA

A U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled that hobbyists no longer have to register their drones with the FAA.

Until this ruling any drone enthusiast who wanted to fly a drone weighing over .55 pounds was required to register their drone with the FAA.


Image source

The court case was based in D.C., and was brought by drone hobbyist John Taylor. The case hinged on the definition of a model aircraft (according to the FAA model aircrafts do not have to be registered; drones do). The legal argument had to do with the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which states that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

Taylor’s lawyers argued that the FAA doesn’t have jurisdiction regarding what the law classifies as a model aircraft, and won.

“Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the Registration Rule and require him to register. Taylor is right.”

– Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The drone hobbyist registration requirement was first instituted on December 15, 2015. After the first month the FAA reported over 300,000 drones had been registered. The total number of drones registered in the U.S. today is just south of 700,000 (if not more).

It’s important to note that the ruling is not yet enforceable, as the court gave the FAA seven days (or until this Friday, May 26) to consider its legal options. For the moment, drone hobbyists flying drones weighing .55 pounds or more are still required to register their drones with the FAA.

Varying Responses to the Ruling

Although some drone hobbyists see the decision in Taylor v. Huerta as a win, many in the drone industry, including us here at UAV Coach, are more concerned than we are excited.

The FAA registry was first created as a way to address the incredibly rapid growth of drone ownership in the U.S., and put some kind of protection in place against the use of drones for invasions of privacy, as well as rogue drone flights in protected airspace or in other scenarios where they might endanger people, like flights over people.

From our perspective, the registration system serves two function simultaneously.

The first function is practical, and is about accountability. Knowing that your drone is registered will deter, off the bat, reckless flying because you know the chances of getting caught are much higher if your UAV is registered.

The second function of the registration system is about public perception. The drone industry has always had an uphill battle when it comes to convincing people that drones are actually used for good. The registration system provides a mechanism to demonstrate to the public that drone pilots—both hobbyists and commercial pilots alike—act in good faith and want to fly safely and legally.

The thinking regarding the first function is pretty simple. If your drone is registered, you’ll probably be more likely to think twice before you fly into protected airspace, over crowds, or in other scenarios that may endanger people. Registration also protects drone pilots themselves, by allowing clear identification of who was piloting what, and whose responsibility is tied to a particular drone.

And rogue drone flights are no joke. China has had so many rogue drones ground airplanes that DJI recently issued a $145,000 bounty for information that would help catch the pilots responsible. A rogue drone that goes undetected could take down a plane, and potentially kill people.

Flying over people is also a scary scenario—and this brings us to the second function of the registration system mentioned above, which has to do with public perception.

Just three days ago, cameras at Petco Park, the stadium belonging to the San Diego Padres, caught a drone being flown above the audience and then crashing into the stands.

That video is pretty scary. Imagine being in the stands, and being uncertain whether those drone blades are going to come crashing into you. Talk about bad PR.

To put this in a broader perspective, it’s projected that by 2020 over 7 million drones will have been sold in the U.S.

As drone ownership grows, incidents like the one at Petco Park are bound to occur, perhaps more and more and more frequently. A public outcry over drones hurting or even threatening to hurt people could lead to a severe legislative backlash, with laws that might drastically limit drone activities just as we are starting to see the industry really take off.

While the FAA’s registration system isn’t going to stop all rogue drone flights, it does serve to put some kind of check in place. Without it, we don’t have much to go on.

Taylor himself suggested one possible solution:

“There needs to be enforcement and education. Perhaps drone manufacturers should make you take a test before you are able to unlock their app in order to fly the drone.”

– John Taylor

But this solution relies on private companies making their own decisions, and doesn’t provide any kind of blanket protection against rogue flights, so it seems unlikely at best. Whatever happens next for drone hobbyists, it seems clear that this recent court decision will only be one chapter in a longer period of development regarding UAV regulations.

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