Racing-drone safety

When it comes to drones, I am sure you all know the media all around the world is looking for the sensation type news, and bad news always gets reported, while good news, safe and fun events very rarely make it to the media headlines. However if a “pilot” of a horse carriage sees a done on the sky – it will be all over the media that the “Drone scared the horses…”

Well, we need to avoid to add more bad press to this wonderful hobby. FPV Drone racing is fun because:

  • It’s fast
  • Relative low cost to get into it
  • It’s competitive
  • Gives you an adrenalin rush
  • make you feel like you are flying in Star Wars.

To make sure you race today and you will and can race tomorrow as well you and your buddies need to follow some safety rules which will make this hobby fun for a long time. The below list can be quite lengthy, I will try to touch upon the most essential an important aspects of safety.

  1. Select a flying ground where there are no people, no pets, no animals, no power lines:
    • This is number one safety rule. If you are in a city park, make sure nobody else is there  – or can walk in the path of your flying. Even if you are 30-100ft above the ground, you still cannot fly above people or pets. If you started to fly first and people walked into your flying ground, bring the drone back and land.
    • If you are flying above a private property, make sure you have the property owners approval.
    • If a city official, recreational enforcement agent or any other authority asks you to stop flying there, comply and do not ague with them, thank them for their patience and help.
  2. Always bring a second person (spotter) with you if you are only flying for fun:
    • I realize this is not always possible, but try to make it a habit. There are several reasons for this and I will only list a few:
      • Bystanders can ask your spotter question and you can concentrate on flying
      • In case your quad goes down your spotter can point it out to you
      • The spotter can help while you are flying in case people, pets walk around and you do not see them, to report unforeseen events or conditions which you cannot see while wearing the goggles.
  3. Establish a pit, flight line and flying perimeters even if that’s virtual only:
    • Usually racing drones and ground stations were designed to keep the racing drones flying in front of us and not behind us. Establish your flying perimeters such that nobody can be hurt by runaway drones or slipping side fly-aways. If you notice people on your established flying path  – or close by land and re-think your path. Remember, safety first.
  4. During races if you crash, wait till all others finish racing before you go to collect your drone:
    • One of the  most dangerous places to be on a drone racetrack is in front of a flying drone. A little devil like this can catch up to 60km and has at least 4 very fast spinning blades. The new propellers are usually unbreakable, meaning that they are very resistant to crash, so those will not break on impact, but keep cutting into you. The best practice in case of crash is to wait till the race is over and everybody landed – or alternately everybody crashed – before going onto the racetrack to recover your drone.
  5. Do not under any circumstances fly your drone back to the pit during the race:
    • Before the race a proper frequency chart has been established, and most likely you did not interfere with anybody during the race. However if you fly your drone back to the pit while others are still racing, there is a very high chance that you will overpower the adjacent video signals effectively blanking your competitors video feed.

While the above list is far from complete, it gives a few very good starting points. We will also add content to these safety rules as time goes on. Please check back often.