There’s a lot of fun to be had when taking a simple idea and expanding upon it. FPV Racing is still limited to tracks and gates that are attached to the ground. We wanted to see what it would be like to have to fly through gates that were up in the air. Thankfully hula hoops are super easy to throw up into the air, but then there’s that pesky problem of them constantly moving.

Thankfully our team pilot Novuh is a goldfish-flippin’ flying ace. The video above is mostly a proof of concept at how possible it is to fly through a moving-air-gate (a hula hoop we threw). Given the small size and motion, it created for an incredibly exciting challenge. I will tell you, it seems like it would be easy, but it really takes a lot of coordination and focus. We would love to see your attempts, shoot me a tweet with a link!

Vesp and I worked tirelessly developing drills and practicing getting the perfect hula hoop toss. We put together mathematically algorithmic recursive functions to plot out exact force and angle for perfect throws. Okay, full confession, that clearly didn’t happen. I’m not even sure I understand what those words mean. Really, the added difficulty of not having a consistent movement of the hula hoop adds even more difficulty in trying to fly through a hole that’s probably only two to three times bigger than the quadcopter itself.

Preparing before making the video

How much would you guess a hula hoop costs? Couldn’t be more than a few bucks right? Surprisingly they can be pretty pricey. Let alone you want to buy a weight hula hoop. Having our minds blown by how expensive hula hoops are, Vesp was tasked with the mission to find one on the cheap. It’s not that weird meeting a guy behind a 7-11 and selling him a hula hoop right? Right?

We are by no means professional filmmakers. We certainly love everything about the process of creating films, short videos, production, etc, but we can’t really say we have that much experience with it. We do our best to improve and prepare as best we can. Storyboarding is really fun and absolutely helps in planning ahead for what we plan to record on the day of filming. Though, sometimes it can get a little weird and complicated when planning out our shots. I would still highly recommend to anyone planning on filming to give it a go. It really helps identify potential challenges as well as give some structure to what you’re going to be doing while out “on set”.

planning

Storyboarding is always clear!

We came up with a short list of ideas for how we could combine throwing a hula hoop and flying through it. We really had no idea how the difficulty would scale. Looking back some of my ideas were pretty damn ambitious. One of my first thoughts was it would be amazing to fly through a hula hoop one direction and then do a type of hyper-u-turn-barrel-roll-flip-floozy back through the hoop. I’m pretty sure with another day Novuh could probably do it. Having a list of ideas though for ways in which we could really helped and all comes in the planning phase.

Flying through a hula hoop

I am still a pretty novice pilot and I can tell you, I probably could not fly through a hula hoop thrown in the air. Understanding the timing it takes flying through a hula hoop is pretty challenging. It certainly isn’t impossible, but it’s a really fun challenge for pilots of any skill level.

Novuh’s experience on flying through hoops

Novuh: When Vesp and Chococopter originally proposed this idea, I didn’t think I was going to make it through the hoop more than once or twice. Truthfully, if I was flying FPV, that would likely have been the case. Our FPV cameras simply do not have the field of view you really need to track a hula hoop with the precision needed to fly through it. With some clever positioning and practiced timing, though, we were able to fly through the hoop pretty consistently when flying from 3rd person view. Still, I’m still shocked I was able to fly through the hoop on some of the toss shots. It was a fun day at the field – I don’t get a reason to fly 3rd person much these days.

Like a hula hoop, it comes back around

I would love to revisit this idea and get some more attempts in. You may see another shot at this concept from us seeing how we can up the ante. Understanding now the challenges and difficulty in actually flying through a hula hoop really helps to set our expectations of what we can accomplish. If anything, it’s also amazing motivation to try and get better at flying. Having such an incredible challenge is really great for pushing yourself to improve and be really amazing. It really differs from your typical trick style video because you have a clear goal and there is that element of time that pushes you forward. With a normal freestyle trick video, there are no limitations on where you need to fly and when you need to get there. You get familiar with an area and do what you feel comfortable doing. Doing this video really pushes the envelope on future possible challenge.

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