Formula FPV – Summer Rush 2016

Formula FPV – Summer Rush 2016 . What a difference a year makes.  This time last year I attended the Formula FPV (First Person View) mini quad racing meeting in Cheshunt. My attendance this year at the Formula FPV 2016 Summer Rush Event, has inspired me even more to try harder and improve my own flying skills.  The track was bigger, faster, more technical for the Pro racers, had two tunnels one with a 90 degree turn in it, had a high gates with a 3D element, were you had to pass through the high gate and immediately loop 180 degree and loop back under yourself.  The event was held over 3 days 19th-21st August 2106. Photo by Freddie Bonner-Davies

The Main Organisers – FPV Summer Rush

Formula FPV London was founded in 2015 by Neil Cody (left) and Cemal Kucuk (right).  These two guys are so passionate about FPV and all things quad related.  They have worked so hard over the last 6 month to bring the event together and the effort extorted clearly showed.

Formula FPV - Summer Rush 2016

The Pits Crew – FPV Summer Rush

The  Rotor Racing Team, run by Eric Li-Koo, Chi Lou, Craig Leong, Terry Mansell and Phil Upton(www.rotor-racing.com) made the massive task of running the event, commentary, time keeping and photography look easy, that’s because they are well rehearsed and professional and independent from the main organisers.

Formula FPV - Summer Rush 2016

The venue – Tesco Country Club – Cheshunt

I am sure that many other people have helped in the background setting up the track and organising the things the pilots do not even think about, that need to be organised.  Like all events those attending just think the things happen overnight. The event was held within the Tesco Country Club – Cheshunt, where the large grassed football pitch area was used to lay out not one, but two interlinked tracks.

The venue provided a large car park for those who were sleeping overnight in caravans and camper vans, whilst a dedicated grassed area provided a camping area. The venue has a large indoor area, large bar and good catering facilities, the cheese burger I had was very tasty.

Formula FPV - Summer Rush 2016

The Spanish Team – Gracias por asistir

72  pilots had registered for the event though sadly the pilots from Germany and Holland could not attend.  It was great to see four pilots over from Spain. One of them “Lumpy “ being personally invited to the event has he had won the FPV simulator competition.  More of that later.

Pilot Briefing

The pilots briefing was well structured and every pilot left knowing what they had to do. As with any FPV event transponder and FPV channels have to be strictly controlled.  All pilots required insurance to fly, more information can be found on the British FPV Racing Association web site www.bfpvra.org

Tent Down! – British Weather

The British weather did not help on Saturday with many heavy showers.  This did not dampen the pilots spirt, from battling against each other between the downpours, although some time was lost during the day, it had been recovered by the early evening.  The flags poles were blown horizontal and one of the gazebos lost its battle against the force of the wind.

The interlinking tracks allowed sports and pro racer to share some of the gates and obstacles.  This worked really well and everybody I chatted with within the pits had enjoyed the rush of excitement the tracks were giving.  It was great to chat with pilots where this was their first event. Even though some had only managed a few laps for the track, during most of their heats, you could easily tell that they had enjoyed the experience.

A massive technical challenge was overcome by the team of people that managed to get the large video screen working to display live race data. Dom Robinson provided the screen, Clinton Roberts did the coding, which pulled live data from the “ilap” database in real time whilst, Timour Chomiller  handled the production on the day.  This technology and display may be used for other racing events, please contact Formula FPV London for details.  It’s all about the love and passion for the fast growing sport.

Smoke On!

Demonstration flights were given by a few of the pilots showing of their freestyle skills during the weekend.  One of them on Sunday with Chi, part of the Rotor-Racing Team gave a demonstration where his quad was fitted with two blue smoke grenades which truly helped you to follow the quad around the track, and it just looked awesome

Smoke Grenades!

The grenades were electronically controlled and ignited via Chi’s TX, I did not time the burn time, but the effect lasted well for around a lap and a half with some stunts being thrown in.

Time To Cut The Grass

A demonstration of an Align Trex 700L top combo helicopter was given by Russel Clever who cleared knew what he was doing, easily completing an inverted and twisting freestyle routine.  Here Russel has gone inverted cutting the grass.  Kindly supported by www.align-trex.co.uk

Time To Relax

Taking it easy watching the fun through your own headset.  Anybody watching was able to tune into the action of their favourite pilot and watch the action as the pilot would be seeing it.   Observations The positioning and spacing of the starting grid worked really well I did not see any quads touching during the initial start.  Though, through the first couple of bends it was another story.  Each starting position had a 300mm square take off plate and these were spaced around 2meters apart. A few things that I have noticed from last years are.

  1. The quads are now smaller and fasters.
  2. Most people are flying “X” frames.
  3. Tri props are now the norm.
  4. Frame size 180 to 220mm.

Around the Pits Looking around the pits at the brightly coloured quads, it was clear that there is no one set up or manufactures that leads the way for a complete setup.  These racing frames are made up from many different suppliers, the only common factor being the DAL tri props.  Regarding the transmitters I saw more Taranis TX, than any other make.

Video Aerial Systems & Acehie Batteries

Batteries have improved over the year with a C rating of up to 75C being common. Positioning was still mixed with and equal split between top and bottom mounted.   In a few racers you could see batteries hanging off, only being held on by the XT60 connectors, this plays havoc with the flight characteristic, some pilots were lucky that they held, other’s were no so. Although the pit straight was short in comparison to other parts of the course speeds up to 50mph were still being recorded just before the first bend. Alex Greve (Video Aerial Systems, left) and Ke Cai (Acehe Batteries)

It’s Not All About Money!

Another observation was how agile these quads have become.  It’s not all about having the lightest, best power to weight ratio, best motors, flight controller etc,  its all about setup and how you control your craft.  Talking with the pilots some add weight on to the models by using different batteries or added the weight of an HD sports camera, to allow them to feel more connected.  I am sure that the advancement of electronic speed controls (ESC) and Flight Control Boards (FC) has also helped.  The other reason they add an HD camera, is because if its not recorded it never happened.  You only have to look on the Formula FPV FaceBook page to see some great footage. So don’t be misled, you don’t need the latest and greatest parts, ok it helps, if you are at the top of your game, but learning how to set up what you have is key.  Don’t be afraid to adjust setting, by keeping a note of them, you can always re-adjust them back, experiment with you flight control board setting as well as you TX settings, expo and end points.  The best thing you can do it charge your batteries and go out and have fun.

Pilots getting ready for the grand final

FPV Racing Using A Simulator

Throughout the weekend Vmach Media Ltd were demonstrating their drone simulator.  This system uses real life tracks that have been very accurately digitised.  Every time I passed their stand somebody was always racing on it.  Some of the available tracks include lasts years Formula FPV course, Weston Park 2016, Farnborough 2016 and Montreal Drone Expo to name a few. More info at [email protected].   Both of the organiser also run their own web shops, that not only have financially supported the event but,  Neil Cody, www.i-drones.co.uk onsite shop helped with spares that the pilots required though out the weekend.  And Cemal also runs www.Dronejunkie.co.uk who specialise in mini and micro quad, watch out for him at this years Birmingham NEC Drone Zone event 3-4th Dec 2106

 

Not this years track but 2015, just to give you an idea

Saturday Evening

SATURDAY EVENING   The venue provided a BBQ Saturday evening, cooked outside in the rain, the food was well received by the hungry racers. The planned night racing event  had to be re-planned on the fly, in to a fun fly between the heavy rain, a few models managed a brief flight.  Whilst in doors in the dry “Tiny whoops” were flown.

Alex Greve Is In The House

No event runs without a main sponsor who again this year was Video Aerial System (VAS) , Alex Greve flew over from the USA to attend the event.  The Video ground stations  were using the VAS 5.8Ghz RHCP (right hand circular polarised) crosshair antenna as well as a Dura Spec Airscrew.

For those of you new to FPV having a strong clear video signal is key, as this is how you fly.  Through out the weekend these worked flawlessly, nobody complaining of video drop-outs.

For anybody that gets a chance to meet with Alex, you will find him a pleasure to chat with, very knowledgeable, and a master of FPV antenna systems and developments.  Alex is also a great engineer he custom made the wire bending machines for his clover leaf antenna.

Alex Greve being interviewed by “The Man on The Mic”  Mr Craig Filmz

Pilots during the prize giving

Its not about wining or loosing its about taking part, learning, making new friends and having fun.

Ke Cai of Acehe Batteries supplied batteries as part of the prizes, pilots also were flew with them during the event.  Though I have not tested these batteries, they look great and come supplied with three great things.

  1. A battery strap
  2. A rubber cover to protect the XT60,
  3. A plastic connector on the balance lead. These I have used as add-ons to my batteries they allow you to connect and disconnect the balance lead without stressing the wires.

Lastly the main power wires come out of the centre of the pack, apparently giving it more strain relief. FXT Technology supplied 25mw Video 25mw Transmitters as prizes  and spot prizes were also provided  hobbyking.com

Formula FPV – Summer Rush – Pro Class Winner

The Pro Class was won by Luke Banister, who also had the fastest lap. Luke is the current World Champion and who at the moment is winning everything he enters, well done Luke.

Formula FPV – Summer Rush – Sports Class Winner 

Congratulations to Chris Knight

Sorry no photo of Chris.  Has anybody got one they cold sent me

Formula FPV – Summer Rush Best new Comer

Congratulation to Ian Davis

Drone Racing NEC – Droneshow

Well it was great to get away from my routine of CNC machining carbon fibre and cover this event.  I look forward to attended the Droneshow this year, I am sure that the Micro quad FPV racing is going to be interesting.  If any of you have not heard about this new crazy search YouTube for Tiny Whoop.   I will be posting a YouTube video myself covering The Formula FPV 2016 event,  you will be able to find it hear https://www.youtube.com/user/gaatech   Stay safe & happy Flying   Andy Shrimpton www.gaatech.com

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