Competing in today’s drone races requires UAV pilots to be skilled, experienced and disciplined. Controlling an aerial machine at high speeds is incredibly difficult and often leads to mishaps that can damage both your drone and your confidence. Drone racing courses are usually daunting due to their unforgiving setup and the fact that speeding through
Competing in today’s drone races requires UAV pilots to be skilled, experienced and disciplined. Controlling an aerial machine at high speeds is incredibly difficult and often leads to mishaps that can damage both your drone and your confidence. Drone racing courses are usually daunting due to their unforgiving setup and the fact that speeding through the gates requires a level of professionalism that few can master.
The good news is that all your FPV racing idols have at some point gone through the same challenges you’re currently facing and yet have persevered in order to eventually reach the status they currently enjoy. Today, we will look into the careers of 5 of the world’s top pilots so you can learn their top tips to becoming as good at them.
- UAV Pilot Charpu: Carlos Puertolas, also known as Charpu, came to the US from Spain to pursue his dream career as an animator. When FPV racing became popular he took up mini quads as a hobby. Charpu credits his success to both the amount of practice he did and the fact that his sponsor, Luminier, provided him with replacement parts whenever he crashed his QAV250 frame, which is pretty often. By modifying his frame to accept 6-inch propellers, he’s been able to achieve higher speeds, although perhaps the major reason for his success is that he is not afraid to take risks while piloting his drone. Even though he still retains his day job as an animator at DreamWorks, his sponsor covers all of his equipment costs.
- UAV Pilot FinalGlideAUS: Chad Nowak, known better by his YouTube name FinalGlideAUS, is an Australian drone racer who recently made headlines by winning almost all of the events at the 2015 US National Drone Racing Championships and bagging a large portion of the $25,000 prize money. He has flown RC aircraft for over 25 years, but entered the mini quad space only a year ago. Using specialized 30A KISS ESCs enables his flying setup to be extremely fast when paired with powerful motors. FinalGlideAUS is also a certified full-size glider aircraft pilot and is sponsored by ImmersionRC.
- UAV Pilot Mr Steele: Steele Davis is an electronics engineer who currently works as a UAV technician at Atlanta Hobby. While he has only been flying quadcopters for about a year, his sponsors include Team Blacksheep and Cobra Motors. He attributes his success to his extremely rigorous practicing (he goes through 30 battery packs a week!) and extensive internet research. Mr. Steele proves that anybody who is determined enough can become a pro pilot within a short period of time.
- UAV Pilot MetallDanny: Danny Metall is a drone racer from the Netherlands who is sponsored by Team Blackout. He started FPV less than a year ago and is already one of the most followed drone racers online. His recommendations to newcomers to the hobby are to be patient with their training and to slowly develop their skills. He uses relatively simple hardware compared to most of the other racers but still manages to get gasps from the audience for his performance of insane aerial tricks.
- UAV Pilot Zoe Katherine: Undoubtedly the world’s top female drone pilot, Zoe, aged 24, used to be an avid biker until she was bedridden for six months as a result of a painful medical condition and was unable to continue pursuing her passion. During this time she stumbled onto a Nano QX drone and found that she loved it, quickly progressing to FPV drones. Even though her disability prevents her from participating in many outdoor activities, FPV racing has been a great stress release for her and has enabled her to maintain a role in the racing world. She is sponsored by Multirotor Superstore and is one of the very few 3D multirotor pilots in the world.
So, what’s the take home lesson from looking at these pro pilots? I think we can safely say that FPV racing is not necessarily a difficult hobby but you do need to put some serious effort into it. Also, being a top UAV pilot will also open you up to earning and sponsorship opportunities. Besides these 5, do you know any other top pilots that you think we should feature?
Image via Twitter: FormulaFPV