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Throughout human history, racing has been a captivating form of entertainment and competition. We’ve witnessed foot races in the ancient Olympics, the intense chariot races in Greece and Rome, and today’s speedy motorsports. While most races occurred on land, technological advancements have taken racing to new heights.

In recent years, drones, initially designed for military and commercial tasks like monitoring weather patterns and deliveries, have become famous for recreational use. As hobbyists experimented with these flying devices, it was only a matter of time before their playful flights transformed into an organized sport: First Person View Drone Racing.

What exactly is First Person View drone racing? Who’s behind its organization? And what exciting developments await fans of this emerging sport in the future? Keep reading this FuturePlay News overview to discover more.

What Is FPV Drone Racing?

FPV Racing (Or First-Person-View Racing is an exciting competitive sport where the pilots, using FPV technology, control drones as if they were inside of them. Thanks to immersive goggles (similar to VR goggles), that send what the drone camera sees to the pilot in real-time. In a way those goggles transport the pilot into the cockpit.

These pilots navigate challenging courses as if they’re in the drone, flying under structures, weaving around barriers, and shooting through narrow gaps. This event combines advanced technology with the spirit of competition, creating excitement for pilots and spectators.

These pilots navigate challenging racing tracks in high-speed scenarios, just as if they were inside of the drone. Flying through the gates and around flags. But there are so many more obstacles that creative track builders use. From narrow gaps, through specially built structures, gate combos, vehicles and even planes! Those events combine advanced technology with the manual skills and pure competition. An excitement for both the pilots and spectators.

Why is FPV Drone Racing So Popular?

Affordability

This event stands out in a world where many sports and hobbies require a significant initial investment. While not dirt-cheap, the bare necessities are relatively more affordable, making them accessible for many enthusiasts. Additionally, numerous online platforms and communities are ever-ready to help budding pilots find their wings.

Although not cheap, drone racing can be considered as one of the more affordable hobbies, especially after the initial investment. While getting the goggles, controller, and first drone can cost everywhere from 2000-4000EUR – the next drones can be built or bought for around 300-600EUR a piece. Additionally, numerous online communities are ever-ready to help budding pilots with their wings. 

After time, many pilots that keep their high positions also get sponsored by FPV brands, making the building and repairing much more affordable.

Safety

Despite the high speeds and a huge potential for crashes, this competition remains a safe sport. The small and lightweight drones pose minimal danger, and racetracks are meticulously designed to reduce collision risks.

Despite the high speeds and crashes that happen during the race, the competition remains a safe sport for both pilots and spectators. The racetracks are separated from the spectators and pilots with safety nets or other means of protection. There are also many rules and emergency procedures known to the pilots and the crew. The races will not start with any person on the track and will be stopped whenever anyone enters the premises.

Thrill and Challenge

Speeds reaching up to 150 km/h make for a heart-pounding experience. The intricate maneuvers, split-second decisions, and high-speed chases combine to make this event a sport that demands and hones skill and concentration. While the speed of the drones may confuse the spectators – most of the events use LED color signs for each pilot. There are also split screens showing the audience the view of the pilots, so they can follow their favorites. 

Benefits of Participating in FPV Drone Racing

  • Skill Development: FPV racing sharpens reflexes, enhances hand-eye coordination, advances memory, and develops concentration. Additionally, pilots learn and train their electronics and manual skills through building and repairing their drones.
  • Affordability: After the initial purchase it is easy to maintain and build up the fleet of drones for drone racing events. There’s also a possibility of getting sponsored by FPV Brands with time.
  • Safety: With the proper precautions and equipment, the sport poses minimal physical risks to participants.
  • Physical Activity: While it may seem counterintuitive, piloting drones can be physically demanding. It’s an engaging way to get some exercise (especially while training and walking for the drone a lot), and breathe in some fresh air. During the race the heart rate goes up.
  • Social Engagement: FPV racing fosters a sense of community. Racing with friends, joining clubs, or participating in competitions can lead to lasting friendships and networking opportunities.
  • Competitive Spirit: For those with a competitive streak, this event offers a platform to challenge oneself and compete at higher levels.

Overview of Racing Organizations and Their Impact on FPV Drone Aerial Racing

In the fast-changing world of drone racing, organizations such as MultiGP, DRL, DCL and FAI play a crucial role. They provide rules, organize significant events, promote the sport, and make sure it’s accessible to everyone. Thanks to them, Drone Racing events have a bright future.

MultiGP

MultiGP is the largest Drone Racing league globally, boasting over 760 chapters and registering over 30,500 drone racers. This non-profit organization’s primary mission is to foster the growth and advancement of FPV (First Person View) drone racing. MultiGP has organized and sanctioned drone racing events, from local club races to internationally recognized competitions. With a crown of their events – International Open – hosted every year in Muncie, Indiana. The event usually gathers around a 1000 racing pilots each year and lasts for 4/5 days.

Impact Of MultiGP On First Person View Drone Racing

MultiGP has significantly influenced the rise of FPV racing by:

  • It offers accessibility and affordability, allowing more individuals to participate. (Joining their events is usually cheap and provides pilots with enough flight time)
  • It provides many resources, such as online tutorials, training programs, and a welcoming community of seasoned pilots eager to guide newcomers.
  • It successfully partnered with significant media outlets to broadcast events, bolstering its social media influence introducing FPV Racing to a broader audience.

Drone Racing League (DRL)

The DRL is a professional drone racing league spotlighting the world’s elite pilots. What sets the DRL apart is the fact that it is a “spec race” meaning that all of the pilots fly the exact same drones and have the same equipment. Making it the most uniform type of a race. DRL was also the first league to be televised and now its widespread television coverage on global networks, has positioned FPV racing as a mainstream sport.

Impact Of Drone Racing League (DRL) On First-Person View Drone Racing:

  • It amplifies the visibility and appeal of FPV racing by presenting high-octane races with world-class pilots.
  • It fosters innovation within the sport by creating an uniform race of their custom-built drones tailored for competitive racing. While the pilots rely only on their skills to prove their greatness.

Drone Champions League (DCL)

Drone Champions League (DCL) is a professional drone racing league that brings together top drone pilots from around the world to compete in high-speed races. The difference is that the pilots compete in teams. Previously, DCL has been organizing events in the most mind-0bogging locations (mines, streets of Paris, Mountains etc.), but after the 2020 Pandemic they moved towards e-sports with their own simulator. The real-life racing started again in 2023. With its exciting and dynamic nature, DCL has gained popularity as a thrilling spectator sport and a platform for innovation in drone technology.

Impact of Drone Champions League on FPV Drone Racing:

  • The first and only team-racing league
  • Astonishing locations
  • Most affordable – as the races now take part online within the simulator

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)

Established as the global governing entity for air sports, the FAI plays a pivotal role in endorsing FPV racing events. Their events include esteemed competitions like the FAI Drone Racing World Cup and the FAI World Drone Racing Championship.

Impact Of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (Fai) On First-Person View Drone Aerial Racing:

  • Added initial credibility to FPV racing
  • Pioneered the establishment of safety norms and regulations, ensuring that drone racing not only thrives but does so within a safe and standardized framework.

Types Of First Person View Drone Racing Competitions

The diversity in race formats is part of what makes this event so captivating. This FuturePlay News review will examine the different types of these drone race competitions. The most prevalent is the heat race,

Heat Race

The heat race is a favorite format in FPV (First Person View) drone Racing. Pilots are initially grouped into small sets called “heats.” The number of pilots in each heat varies based on the event’s size and rules. (4 to 8 pilots per heat)

When these heats are set, the race kicks off. Pilots race their drones within their specific heat, outpacing everyone else on the race. This time is usually called “qualifications” during which pilots mostly race themselves to get the quickest time possible. As the event unfolds, only the speediest pilots from each heat progress to the next rounds(again, depending on the race). After the qualifications are over and the pilots have been added to their new groups (grouped by timing) the event starts the knock-outs. Depending on the league or rules – this process may vary. It’s main goal is to gradually reducing the number of competitors.

Heat races culminate in the final round, where the best pilots from earlier rounds compete in a one-shot race. Only the quickest pilot, finishing the course in the fastest time, clinches the title. The heat race method is not just a test for pilots but also a captivating show for everyone watching.

Time Trials

In FPV racing, time trials are all about racing against the clock. It is often used in heat racing as a qualification round. The main objective? Fly the course as quickly and smoothly as possible. At the end of the time-trials the pilots are grouped and listed accordingly to their best times. 

Team Races

Team races represent a collaborative approach to FPV racing. In this format, pilots join forces to compete against rival teams. The performance metric here isn’t just individual prowess but the combined effort of the team members. FPV Racing

A team’s overall time is determined by aggregating the times clocked by its pilots. Ultimately, victory is claimed by the team that manages to navigate the course in the least collective time.

Freestyle Competitions

Freestyle competitions in stand out distinctly, as they prioritize artistic flair and style over raw speed. Pilots are evaluated on their prowess in executing tricks, stunts, and intricate maneuvers while airborne, unlike traditional races, where timing is everything. 

The criteria for success revolve around creativity, technicality, and the precision of their execution. This combination of elements ultimately determines the winner in such competitions, highlighting the versatility and skills of the pilots beyond just racing.

The Future of First-Person View Drone Racing

FPV Drone Racing’s fusion of cutting-edge technology, global outreach, and intrinsic thrill sketches a bright future for the sport. Tin this FuturePlay article, we’ll explore recent developments and how they might shape the future of first-person drone aerial racing. 

Technological Prowess and Innovations

FPV Racing stands at the cusp of significant technological transformations. Advancements in drone engineering are propelling the sport into new horizons, with enhanced efficiency and ease of use for pilots.

A testament to this progression is T-Mobile’s recent investment in the Drone Racing League (DRL) to forge a groundbreaking 5G partnership. Neville Ray, at the helm of technology for T-Mobile, envisions this collaboration as a catalyst to drive innovation in drone dynamics and tech-infused sporting arenas.

Such partnerships could revolutionize this event, providing faster and more immersive experiences and reshaping how pilots race and audiences engage.

FPV Drone Racing has also been featured by Airspeeder – the soon-to-be first flying car racing league. Airspeeder’s “EXA Series” Features FPV Drone Racing Pilots flying over 200kg, car-sized drones with the use of Virtual Reality tracks and gates. 

The EXA Series popularity gained them a tv series as well as many sponsorships and interest for the real-life racing. And the sport will only grow from there. EXA series plans to stay around for the future pilots, who will be able to use it as an academy before becoming the Airspeeder pilots.

Broadening Horizons: A Global Phenomenon

The allure of FPV Racing transcends borders, making it a universally celebrated sport. This global appeal manifests in the burgeoning number of racing organizations. With MultiGP as the leader with a staggering 760 chapters and a community of over 30,500 dedicated racers worldwide.

Taking the excitement to living rooms worldwide, the DRL collaborates with media giants like NBC, Fox Sports, and Sky Sports to broadcast thrilling races. Such widespread exposure propels the sport further into the limelight.

Adding gravitas to its international significance, the acknowledgment by the International Olympic Committee via the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) allowed the sport’s debut at the winter sports in 2022.

On the Brink of Mainstream Success

The stars align for drone racing integration into mainstream sports culture. Several factors contribute to this optimistic outlook. The sport offers an enticing blend of heightened safety standards, adrenaline rush of navigating a drone in three-dimensional spaces and technology.

Through strategic broadcasting ventures by groups like the DRL or DCL, drone racing isn’t just for the fans anymore; it’s reaching a diverse and expansive audience it is likely to become prominent spot in the sports industry.

  • DRL FPV Drone Racing

  • Lexi Janson Machina Sports

  • FPV Drone Equipment

  • DRL FPV Drone Racing
  • Lexi Janson Machina Sports
  • FPV Drone Equipment

Sport Enthusiast, Builder of brands, and proud founder of Machina Sports, dedicated to pioneering the fusion of human athleticism with cutting-edge technology. Committed to creating a global platform and brand that celebrates the excitement and innovation inherent in Machina Sports while engaging a diverse community of enthusiasts and athletes worldwide.

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From Passion to Full Time career — how Thomas Bitmatta changed his life — and so can you

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Changing Passion in a lucrative career

Thumbnail from YouTube interview with Thomas

There’s a moment in life when you stand at the edge of a decision. 

Before you, lies the comfortable, the known. Behind you, the whisper of what could be beckons — a call to adventure that won’t silence. For Thomas Bitmatta, known in the drone racing skies as BMS Thomas, that moment wasn’t just a fleeting thought. It was a crossroads. And his choice? To leap.

Thomas’s story isn’t one of overnight success or serendipitous luck. 

No. 

It’s a narrative hewn from the bedrock of passion, a relentless pursuit of mastery in the fast world of FPV (First-Person View) drone racing. In the grand scheme of life’s pursuits, Thomas chose a path less taken, and it has made all the difference.

The Ascent Begins

Imagine, for a moment, a hobby. 

Now watch as that hobby turns into an obsession, that obsession into a calling. This is the genesis of BMS Thomas’s journey from an intrigued enthusiast dabbling in drone flights to becoming a beloved icon in the global drone racing community.

“Today, I bring you the story of a dreamer who dared to chase his dreams across the skies.”

Thomas’s story began quietly in Australia, sparked by a simple YouTube video. 

Fast forward through years of tinkering, learning, and countless flights, and you find the moment where hobby crossed into destiny. Thomas didn’t just enter the world of drone racing; he redefined his life’s trajectory with a racing drone’s throttle.

Racing Against the Wind

In conversation, Thomas shared insights of his early days, reminiscing about the makeshift races in Melbourne, the allure of the Japan drone league, and his subsequent ascension to international fame. Each race, each flight was more than competition; it was a chapter in his ongoing tale of self-discovery and perseverance.

“It’s more than just flying,” Thomas reflected. “It’s about pushing boundaries, both the drones and my own.”

His journey highlights not merely the evolution of a racer but the transformation of a life through passion. Amidst talks of tracks, technicalities, and tournaments, there’s a subtle yet profound message: dedication, coupled with a love for one’s craft, can elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Navigating Through Turbulence

Yet, the path was not free of challenges. In his chase for passion, Thomas navigated through rough moments — balancing the demands of competitive racing with the rigours of building a career. Sponsorships didn’t come easy, nor did the recognition. It demanded more than skill; it required visibility, influence, and a deep-seated belief in the value of his pursuit.

“And then, something clicked. The right place, the right time, and suddenly, the support came.”

Thomas’s narrative serves as a beacon for anyone standing on the brink of pursuing their dream. It’s a testament to the truth that success, in any field, is a concoction of passion, persistence, and a willingness to forge ahead despite the odds.

Can you do it as well?

Today, BMS Thomas continues to race, not just as a competitor but as an inspiration. His journey tells us that to follow one’s passion is not to walk a path free of obstacles, but to navigate through storms, propelled by the heart.

“If there’s anything my journey has taught me,” Thomas said, “it’s that dreams are not just fleeting whims. They are the seeds of our future.”

See, life, much like drone racing, is not about the fear of falling. It’s about the thrill of flight, the pursuit of passions, and the unwavering courage to chase the horizon, no matter where it leads.

And so, to anyone teetering on the edge of decision, remember BMS Thomas. Remember that when passion takes flight, the sky’s not the limit — it’s just the beginning.

Watch the full interview with Thomas here

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What Makes Killian Rousseau Such a Dominant Drone Pilot?

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Drone Racing Pilot

Killian Rousseau, hailing from France, has been ripping up drone racing competitions since he was just 14 years old. The French ace pilot became the 2018 FAI Drone Racing World Cup champion as a teenager!

In 2023, Rousseau once again won the FAI Drone Racing World Cup. The young pilot was in a close back-and-forth battle with Pawel Laszczak. In all six races, Rousseau managed to climb onto the podium, racking up three wins, two silvers, and a bronze. This level of consistency ensured he added another title to his already impressive collection.

In a recent interview, the world champion shared his secrets and what it takes to become a professional pilot.

Rousseau Trains Everday!

The French pilot has put all other things on the back burner and has committed 100% of his efforts towards racing. He spends every day on the simulator fine-tuning his motor skills and perfecting his strategy. Then, every two days, he pilots actual drones.

Rousseau is extremely keen to defend his world title. He’ll be traveling and competing full-time throughout the season. He’s keen to avenge his poor performance at the last World Championships, where he finished 18th.

Another event you’re likely to see Rousseau compete in is The World Games in 2025 in Chengdu. He considers this event to be particularly tough and an honor to be invited. Rousseau is hoping to repeat his 2022 World Games performance, in which he took gold.

French Pilot Looks for New Ways to Make Money From Drone Racing

Rousseau has recently finished studying commerce and can now dedicate even more time to drone racing, which is a scary thought for his opponents. Traveling to different competitions and daily training takes up a huge amount of the 20-year-old’s time.

As prize pools for drone racing are still modest, Rousseau has decided to boost his income by starting his own drone filming company. However, his first love and main focus remains drone racing.

The French drone maestro can’t get enough of the feeling of beating other talented pilots on beautiful tracks around the world. Even though traveling can get tiring, he loves exploring new places with his fellow pilots.

Simulator and Never Quit Attitude Is Key to Rousseau’s Success

Rousseau first started drone racing when he was just 12 years old, back in 2017. Since then, he hasn’t taken any time off. He’s incredibly diligent when it comes to training and is constantly looking over his shoulder at the next generation of pilots.

He says the race meta is changing radically from year to year, so it’s a never-ending battle to stay ahead of other competitors. He has to dedicate a huge amount of time to practice.

Rousseau credits purchasing a simulator with allowing him to continue to improve. He spends hours everyday, often practing into the early morning, pumping out lap after lap. F1 champion Max Verstappen is also known for his love of simulators.

Before and after every race, Rousseau will hop on the simular and race over and over again. He’s gained so much experience over the years that racing has become second nature to him. He demands perfection from himself, repeatedly tweaking his strategy and chasing consistency.

Rousseau Shares Advice for Up-and-coming Drone Pilots

Even though Rousseau has managed to become a full-time professional drone pilot, he doesn’t recommend others to follow his path. He believes young pilots should still focus on school and work and make sure they’re racing because they love the sport instead of trying to make a career.

Rousseau said what helped him the most was meeting experienced drone pilots and flying with them. He also emphasized the importance of competing as much as possible. Finally, he said there are a lot of ups and downs in drone racing, so it’s incredibly important that you never quit until you finally succeed.

The 2024 FAI World Drone Championships will take place in China from Thursday, October 31, to Sunday, November 3, 2024. The event will be held in Hangzhou at the Shangcheng District Sports Center. Tune in to see if Rousseau can take out defending champion MinChan Kim. It’s set to be a battle between the two ace pilots!

Read more: FPV Drone Racing Explained

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From Classroom to Pro Drone Racing Pilot

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PawelosFPV origin story


In an age where conventional education is often challenged by the fast pace of technological advancement, the tale of Pawel Lasszczak, known in the FPV (First Person View) drone racing community as PawelosFPV, is a testament to the power of hands-on learning experiences. 

While traditional classroom settings and textbook learning remain the base of our educational systems. The innovative, project-based learning approaches that are increasingly proving to shape the minds and futures of children and teenagers more effectively. 

For real though: Who’s shocked?

This blend of creativity, curiosity, and practical application not only ignites passions, but also paves the way for remarkable achievements.

“A Genius Hour” That Sparked a Revolution

It all began in a classroom with a concept as simple as it was brilliant — Genius Hour. This initiative granted students an hour each week to explore a project of their choosing. Anything that fueled their interests and stretched their imagination beyond the standard curriculum.

For Pawel, what started as a quest for an engaging project during this Genius Hour quickly evolved into a journey that would see him fly to incredible heights — quite literally.

Stumbling upon FPV drones on YouTube during his project research, Pawel was instantly captivated by the perspectives this hobby offered. The mix of technology, speed, and skill presented a challenge he couldn’t resist. 

Trial and error

However, following up with the process wasn’t a straightforward path; it was filled with trial and error (many, many errors). A testament to the real-world nature of hands-on learning. From reversing propellers that dug his drone into the ground, Pawel’s initiation into drone flying was both grounding and ambitious.

But isn’t this how we learn? 

Despite the setbacks, his determination only grew, driven by a desire to decode the mechanics and master flying. This journey from novice to mastery was also a crucial lesson in resilience, innovation, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge . A lesson that traditional textbooks could never impart with such impact.

Rising to the Top: From Local FPV Races to the Drone Racing League

It was obvious he’d get into it.

Pawel’s entry into the competitive world of drone racing started with local FPV races and small gatherings of hobbyists. Little did he know that this would lay the foundation for his racing career. He was hooked from the start, the competitive spirit and community fueling his passion further. It wasn’t long before his skill and dedication catapulted him to the front of the FPV scene, eventually earning him a coveted spot in the Drone Racing League (DRL) — a dream platform for any FPV racer.

His success story is more than just personal achievement; it’s a beacon for the FPV community and beyond. It showcases the potential that lies in marrying passion with education, and how nurturing individual interests can lead to groundbreaking success in fields that once seemed niche or inaccessible.

Crafting a Future with STEM and Hands-On Learning

Pawel’s journey from a school project to becoming one of the world’s foremost FPV drone racing pilots is a powerful narrative that challenges and inspires. It serves as a clarion call for the incorporation of more STEM and hands-on programs in schools. 

These programs are not just supplementary; they are essential in preparing students for a future that is increasingly reliant on technology and innovation. Much more than books and “imagine that” will ever be able to (speaking from experience).

In a world where the landscape of careers and skills is constantly shifting, the story of Pawel emphasises the need for educational systems to evolve.

And to do it RIGHT NOW.

We must foster environments where creativity meets technology, where students are encouraged to explore, experiment, and engage with their passions. Only then can we unlock the full potential of the next generation, ensuring a future that is bright with innovation and boundless possibilities.

Before they start fearing that AI will take over. 

As Pawel continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of drone racing, he stands as a shining example of how hands-on learning and personal passion. A proof that they can elevate one’s aspirations from the ground to the skies. 

It’s a lesson for educators, policymakers, and students alike: the future belongs to those who dare to dream, explore, and most importantly, do.

If you want to listen to the full interview and see Pawel in action: check out video


Thank you for reading!

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