Advances in drone technology have given rise to an exciting new leisure activity. Drone racing offers the thrills of formula one, but it’s affordable and accessible to all. All you need to start is a quadcopter, space to fly and a few friends to race against. Part video game and part action sport, drone racing is a unique way to experience thrills and exhilaration with little risk.

Most racing drones allow you to experience the action from a first-person view (FPV). This adds to the excitement, as you watch from the drone’s perspective as it speeds along dodging obstacles and other aircraft. FPV drone racing is a growing community, and there’s even the opportunity to turn professional if you excel.

The following tips will help you make a start as a drone racer.

Do some research

There are some great forums and YouTube channels for drone racers, and you’ll find plenty of tips and advice to help you. Safety is one of the key things to understand. It may look as if people are taking risks with their aircraft at high speed, but good pilots are always in control. Joining a local club is a great way to meet like-minded pilots and learn more about the hobby before you buy a racing drone. Simulation software allows you to experience racing different models of quadcopter before investing in an aircraft.

Know your drone

Most accidents involving unmanned aircraft are due to pilot error. Read the manual and get to know your drone before flying. For racing, you’ll need to know the range, battery life and top speed of your aircraft. A small, inexpensive quadcopter is a great aircraft to use for developing your skills. Once you’re confident that you can control a drone at speed, invest in a more advanced machine ready for racing.

Enter events and competitions

Competing is the best way to improve your skills and take your racing to the next level. Drone racing events are becoming more and more common, and most cater to different skill levels. As well as testing your ability at an event, you get to meet other racing fans and discuss ways of improving your aircraft. Drone racing is still a fairly new sport, and new events and leagues are appearing all the time.

Build your own racing quadcopter

If you look at the results of competitions, you’ll notice that most winning pilots use custom-built drones. Small tweaks to aircraft can make the difference between coming in first or last, so building your own machine can give you a significant advantage. The technology is advancing very quickly, and building your own drone means you can keep it up to date as new hardware becomes available.

FPV drone racing is becoming popular internationally, and it’s now being televised in some countries. If you make a start now, you could become a future champion, win cash prizes and make a serious career from it.