During your piloting days, you will inevitably reach a point in time where you would feel that you have hit a bump. You would feel that you enjoy flying but there is nothing more to left to challenge your prowess against. It could be that the only available flying zone for you is turning out to be monotonous. My flying zone is quite boring to be honest. It is a wide open space surrounded with trees and tall buildings.
I have considered myself a freestyle pilot and this is something that I have enjoyed ever since I got my first quadcopter. Moreover, I have never had any opponent to race against. But recently I decided to get a few cones and install a couple of gates to configure a few race courses to fly. I believe that it was one of the best decisions of my life. I wish I had done it earlier.
Even if you are a freestyle pilot and do not intend to participate in drone racing, you can still try your hands on flying tracks.
Let’s discover why that is so important!
1 – You can Gauge Your Competitiveness
I am of the view that it is not possible to determine your level of expertise why flying freestyle. Of course, you will feel with the passage of time that your flying has gotten smoother or you are turning corners with seamless ease or you have been carrying out stunning aerial maneuvers but it might be a bit difficult to determine your competitiveness in the short terms. It can also get a tad monotonous if you are power-looping the same tree again and again.
With tracks, you can try to get better timings by flying faster every time. You can keep track of the time it takes for you to cover a certain course and the more you fly on a certain track, the better your timing will get. It will definitely let you know where you are standing.
Do you remember the time trial ghost in Mario Kart 64? Isn’t it similar to it? You are always pushing yourself to do better, challenging yourself to cover a track in faster time!
2 – You can be Imaginative with Tracks
The thing that makes setting up tracks so exciting is that you do not need lots of space to get the most out of them. You can put together a nice little challenging course even in small space and adorn it with gates and flags and off you go.
For instance, all of the MultiGP Universal Time Trial Tracks can be assembled in an area of about 400 x150 feet. If you are good at turning around corners, you can have plenty of fun even in a small clearing.
Pick up a sheet of paper and start designing tracks as per your desire. You can be imaginative and add minute changes to make the tracks all the more adventurous.
Introduce simple oval shapes, customized figure 8s, orbits, far and wide spaces and may be some freestyle elements. Split “S” maneuvers are a common feature in these kinds of tracks where you have to fly over a gate and come back through it.
You can integrate some obstacles that you happened to come across while flying in the field. You can add some trees or plants to your track for some extra adventure.
3 – Tracks Make You Feel Confident
As I started designing tracks and began to tackle them with my drone, I found out that I was becoming quite confident at what I did. Previously, I was hesitant to pull out maneuvers that would test the boundaries of my aircraft may be due to the scare of a crash and a damaged quadcopter.
I used to carry out the same stunts over and over again while flipping over and under trees and flying the same areas.
Now, if there is only one kind of flying zone accessible to you, then this is really pertinent to you. However, as soon as I started setting up tracks, I began to feel quite confident and started doing things that would defy logic in my past flying days.
4 – Your Control Skills will Improve
While you race at a fast pace along the race course as you avoid obstacles, fly up and over gates, take sharp turns and pull out all those stunning aerial maneuvers, eventually you will get better and better at controlling your drone. You will learn to make those subtle adjustments that will let you pass through gates without even grazing them. You will be able to take your quadcopter to wherever you want and you will become adept at losing the speed and height as and when you desire.
5 – You will Become a Better Freestyler
As you become better at flying by virtue of tracks, you will get better at freestyling automatically. If you are able to cross a gate successfully at decent speed, there is no doubt that you will also be able to go through a tiny gap while diving from a height of 100 feet.
If you can control your quadcopter with insane prowess, you can certainly transform that form into freestyling.
Racing will strengthen your reflexes. While pursuing my freestyling prowess, I discovered that on occasions I used to stop for half a second just to admire my aerial stunt. Mind you that half a second is crucial to recovering and getting ready for performing the next stunt.
While racing, you do not get any time to admire your dexterity. You only get time to concentrate on tackling the next obstacle. You will get rid of this habit and with the passage of time, you will get better even at freestyling.
6 – Victory will be Within Your Sight
If you spend enough time practicing hard, you will get better and eventually start winning actual races.
What to Get?
In order to set up a track at an affordable price, you will be needing a few cones. Cones are the least requirement that you need when configuring a racing course. You can set up cones as and when required while using the natural obstacles as your gates.
You can Get Some from Amazon
As far as race gates are concerned, you would want to get either conventional gates from a typical multirotor retailer or you can get pop-up goals in case you do not find any gates.
The pop-up goals are easy to set up and remove. Gates, on the other hand, are bit complex. You can simply open the popup goals and put them on the ground. Having said that, when it comes to gates, you will have to insert the gate spokes into the ground, open up the fiberglass pole, thread the fabric and carry out other cumbersome tasks.
On the contrary, air gates can be transported with relative ease. Popup goals only fold down once so they are not easy to transport despite being offered with cases.
Matthew Evans came up with the idea of using popup goals. Keep in mind that you will have to get rid of netting, if you want to use popup goals.
You can also put in place some DIY gates using PVC piping.
If you are really in the mood, you may also pick up some flags. If you ask me, I am not at all fascinated by flags when flying alone since they are large in size and not at all easily portable. You can place the cones in a zig-zag fashion and take them for flags.
I am satisfied that I have started flying tracks and I suggest you to start using cones and setting up tracks. If you get hooked, you will definitely look to get some gates in place when you have enough financial reserves.