The Ultimate Drone Racing Guide
As we’re sure you already know, or are soon to find out, there is a lot of learning involved in flying these amazing machines. When we got into this hobby, we were flabbergasted by the lack of cohesive knowledge regarding building and flying miniquads. Don’t get us wrong, all of the information you need to know is out there, it’s just spread out across several forums, hundreds of blog posts, and tons of YouTube videos.
Our goal is to organize all the information you need in one place. This comprehensive guide will get you through the entire process of learning to fly, researching and buying parts, building your quadcopter, and finally flying it. Think of it as your “Drone 101” learning guide. Our articles also serve as extensions of this guide, providing even more references to valuable blogs, videos, and forums you can review for even more information.
To summarize, the goal of the drone racing guide is to:
- Provide a neatly-organized directory of articles and videos that can get a newbie with absolutely no experience in the hobby flying.
- Keep this directory up to date so that the miniquad you build will have the most up to date hardware and software. This means you spend less money avoiding making the same purchasing mistakes we, and others in the hobby, made.
Having said that, let’s get into it!
If you are totally new to the hobby, we highly suggest you start from section one. Reading as much as you can from sections one and two could save you a ton of money or prevent a dumb accident like cutting up your fingers or burning down your house.
If you’re experienced with RC aircraft, be it quadcopters, planes, or other multicopter devices, you can probably skip around a bit. You can use the section titles to direct your research to topics you are interested in.
Section 1: Radio Control, FPV, and miniquad basics (learn to fly)
This section documents the basics on drones / quadcopters / multicopters / etc. This is a great place to start if you want to learn the basics, refresh on terminology, or want to start training without actually buying anything too expensive. If you are looking for information on how to start flying quadcopters, simulators for training, and introductory knowledge, this is definitely the section for you!
- Types of drones – toys, racers, and more!
- What you need to know before getting into the hobby
- Anatomy of an FPV miniquad
- Starting FPV Racing FAQ
- Common terms and acronyms in the hobby
- FPV Racing Simulators: the ultimate list of FPV simulators!
- Learning to fly using a micro quad – the ultimate beginners guide to flying.
Section 2: Advanced Learning & Research
So you’ve decided you want to build a quadcopter. The articles in this section will help you understand what decisions you need to make before buying parts, what the parts do, how to pick the best one, and where to buy it from. It also touches on some of the legal issues in the hobby as well as some important safety topics you should be aware of.
- Decisions you will need to make before purchasing anything..
- Buying your gear
- Everything you need to know about antennas
- What to look for when selecting miniquad components..
- Buying options: build from Kit vs RTF vs parts
- Where to buy stuff
- Do you need to register your drone with the FAA?
- Is flying FPV legal where you live?
- Do you need an amateur radio operators (HAM) license?
- Bringing your quadcopter with you while traveling
Section 3: Equipment and Tools
Having the right tools available will make your life a lot easier when it comes to building your quad. In this section, we go over all of the one-time-purchase equipment you will need. We also discuss nice-to-haves and explain why you may want to buy them. Finally, we link some tutorials for some of the common things you may want to do with this equipment.
- Purchasing Tools
- Using your tools
- Advanced video receivers (diversity / ground stations / etc)
- 3D printing and quadcopters
Section 4: Building your miniquad
So you have all your equipment and parts and you’re ready to build your miniquad. This section covers the basics of miniquad assembly.
- How to build a racing drone
- Software Setup Guide
- Configuring your RC Transmitter (Taranis/Spektrum/FlySky)
- Flashing firmware
- Configuring BLHeli ESCs
- Configuring Betaflight
- Advanced software setup tips (filters, srates, etc)
- Blackbox Logging
- Advanced components:
- Getting your first tune with in-flight adjustments
- Basic guide Link (Oscarliang)
- Advanced guide Link (iflyquad) Link (Joshua Bardwell)
- Building tips
Section 5: Flying
Section 6: Community and Drone Racing
This section will cover the community and hopefully help you find other like minded individuals interested in flying!
- Quadcopter YouTube channels to check out
- Active miniquad blogs and community sites
- Propwashed.com (this site!)
- Multicopter subreddit – Great resource for information, entertainment, and information on quadcopters
- OscarLiang.net – resource for technical topics mainly covering quadcopters
- FliteTest – Build videos, reviews, and details on all things RC aircraft (not just focused on quadcopters)
- Active online forums for miniquads
- Drone racing
- Things to bring to your first drone race: a complete list
- Video frequency management: keeping multiple quadcopters in the air
- Course design: Building a challenging and interesting drone racing circuit
- Organizing your first drone race: a complete guide to drone race event management!
- Drone racing organizations and leagues:
Do you have any links that you think would fit well into the framework above? We are always willing to link to good content, send us an e-mail: