Car races have history in Alabama, and there are even aerial races (though nowhere near the Magic City), but what about drones? FPV, or first-person view, drone races have become increasingly popular across America.
What people call drones might not always be drones. In the case of racing drones, they’re actually quadcopters. To earn the name “drone,” a quadcopter must be able to pilot itself. Fortunately for semantics, most “serious” quadcopters include software that allows a drone to pilot itself back to the user whenever the signal is lost or battery runs low.
The primary difference between a racing drone and other types of drones is weight. Weight affects everything: speed, maneuverability, and most importantly, energy draw. Every milliamp of power that doesn’t go to keeping the drone aloft, goes to making it faster!
Drones like the DJI Mavic might see use as photography helpers, adding image stabilization and multiple cameras. Meanwhile, a Walkera Furious boasts speeds of nearly 60MPH – and dramatically lower flight times. Custom-built, absolutely barebones drones can fly faster than 175MPH!
What does a drone race look like in action? SOGO fpv on YouTube uploaded footage from a 2016 race at Alabama Splash Adventure.
The Alabama Scene
Birmingham, surprisingly, seems not to have a large online presence in FPV racing. We’d love to see this change! Imagine a race through Sloss! Right now, Alabama Splash Adventure seems to allow (experienced) flyers to try their hand flying in the off-season. Some of the best footage I found on YouTube included the waterpark.
Websites like FPVRacing.tv and MultiGP.com offer ways to look up racers, leagues, and events by location. Meanwhile outside the internet, a few hobby shops offer FPV equipment. Homewood Toy and Hobby, Oak Mountain Hobbies, and The Model Box 2.0 stand above the rest. Will an airborne Alabama Gang emerge?