Written by Benjamin Sawyer
I think you will agree with me when I say:
It is troublesome to find the right racing drone, especially if you are a newbie in this hobby. (I should know, I’ve been there). There are literally thousands of drones for sale everywhere and it is increasing by the minute! It could even be a disaster if you end up purchasing a heavily marketed model, but turned out to be a complete disappointment.
It should not be the case, right?
Well, what if I say, that you can find the right racing drone without a hitch? Being a racing drone enthusiast myself for 2 years I will provide you with a comprehensive guide. In this article, I will guide you on your first time buying a racing drone and ensure you end up with a model you can totally brag to your friends.
So what kind of drone are you looking for?
There are three types of drones, first are the camera drones, second are the toy drones and third, which is why you are here, are the FPV/Racing Drones. Let’s skip the first two choices and focus on the Racing Drones.
If you think that freestyle flying and drone racing sounds something crazy you would only see in the movies, you are absolutely right. It is an intense, fast-paced and super addictive sport. Imagine the adrenaline rush in car racing, now, multiply it by 10. That is the experience you will get in drone racing. It is unlike anything else in the world.
Drone racing is not just a hobby, it is a real sport with real competitions and very real prize money. It goes so far that the Drone Racing Association has signed a deal with ESPN. As a matter of fact, drone racing is taking the world by storm. Nobody knows where this sport will end up in the following years.
One thing is sure though, it will only become intense as technology advances. Who knows, drone racing might become a popular sport as any major sports. So if you want to experience that future, hopping into the drone racing bandwagon today is the best start.
What are the top racing drones for first timers?
The two drones I will show you are top rated racing drone models. Although, there are better drones on the market, we are aiming to settle for something that will enhance your flying skills, help you familiarize with common drone racing obstacles and even help you win local competitions. Try to get to know these models before you consider buying drones meant for the big league.
- Arris X-Speed 250 Quacopter Racer
This drone is perfect for getting started with drone racing as quickly as possible. It is pre-calibrated and tested, which makes flying on a racing course easy even for first timers. The electronic speed controller is top-notch. It also comes with a damping plate that acts as an extra-protection from crashes. (Pretty convenient, right?)
Plus, the Arris drone is compatible with a wide range of HD FPV googles. So you can choose a goggle with better resolution allowing you to see better pictures of what your quadcopter is seeing up in the air.
- Walkera Runner 250 Racing Drone
What makes this a fine choice is its long flight time. It could stay up in the air for 14 minutes, giving you longer flying practice for up to 25mph. It can maneuver pretty well in tight spots. Even if you are flying on a racing course with lots of obstacles and sharp corners, with Walkera, you can handle it just fine. Although, design-wise this model has seen better days. But our main concern is speed and ease-of-use, this drone can be of great help to you.
How fast are racing drones?
Obviously, you need a fast racing drone. Usually racing drones have a top speed of 35mph. But, it can easily go over 50mph or higher by doing a few tricks. One surefire way to go faster is having powerful batteries with higher voltages (choose 14.8 instead of the traditional 11.1v).
Another way to boost your speed is cutting on your drone weight. Take off unnecessary stuff like heavy landing gear, long wires, OSDs and GPS.
There are drones that can reach up to 120mph via rate mode. This makes a drone more agile and faster, but it is incredibly difficult to control. Even skilled pilots have a hard time mastering this one.
Are speed and power really the most important key features when buying a drone?
Yes, speed and power play an important role but they are not everything there is in drone racing. There are other aspects and components you need, like an amazing drone camera, to win a competition. But for now, let us try to find a balance between these two and among other features that can help you win races.
Focus more on mastering different types of racing courses. Know different types of drones, accessories and gadgets that can power-up your drone. Later on, you will learn how to build a powerful racing drone that can take you places.
How much does a drone cost?
Drone racing is a sport that requires money, a lot of it. So you must prepare your pocket because going all out on drone racing can be really expensive. Normally, racing drones range from $300 to $500. But if we are going to talk about going into real racing and winning, then the cost can skyrocket to a thousand dollars or more. To win in the big racing competitions, you need to modify your drone and better parts always come with a higher price.
How to get started with Drone Racing?
If you are serious in this sport, it would be to your advantage to join a drone racing community. It would be great if you become a member of the US Drone Racing Association or the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
But for now, try to join local groups or leagues in your area. You can visit parks and other locations where drone pilots often are. You can also check out for online drone racing communities, join their forums and get in touch with their message boards.
Also, even if you are only new to this hobby, try to attend drone racing. Get to know what it feels like flying a drone and master it. Of course, you should not expect to win right away, but completing a race and learning from that experience are appropriate goals.
Lastly, practice, practice, practice.
There you have it. I hope that you find this article informative and engaging. By now you probably have a solid understanding about drone racing and be able to make a wise decision in buying the right racing drone.