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Day 2: US Drone Nationals 2016

Written by Toby

Day two at US Drone nationals 2015 is off to a great start. Wing practice is in full swing as the wing pilots are rip through the grey skies with ease. However, the dark clouds are descending giving an ominous and forboding sense to the day, only adding to the tension as to whom will be #1!

After practice come the Wing qualifiers which resulted in many great times, the top 3 qualifying times belong to Ian Jefferies, Gab707, and Bond.

After the wing qualifiers the individual pilot quad qualifiers start. There were 12 heats and several re-races due to a number of different reasons mostly involving video signal problems. Where is our digital FPV solution?!

Pilot Meeting

In between heats there were freestyle practice sessions happening with the individual freestyle pilots flying to music, always a crowd favorite. A couple of the freestyle pilots were using a new HD video system called Pro Sight made by Connex, those flights were broadcast on the jumbotron and boy what a world of difference! I had a chance to sit down with President and CEO of Amimon (Parent company of Connex) Ram Ofir who said “if this takes off we will be able to flip the fpv community from Analog to digital”.

Amimon has a solid history of making wireless video transmission systems with zero latency for different industries like Hollywood film production. Ofir explained that 2 years ago Amimon got into the UAV market with their subdivision called Connex which is used on camera drones for many purposes including filming. It’s was only 6 months ago that they got into the fpv racing market by way of their system called Pro Sight which is a 3 piece system consisting of a camera, transmitter, and receiver. Next weekend in Shenzhen China they will be testing the system on a race and If successful they will be the first to have a wireless HD video system drone race. One of the freestyle pilots who flew with this exclusive system today was Ricky Martinez who said “It feels like I’m flying longer because there’s no break in signal and I’m not constantly recovering. I can fly the whole battery and I have a smile on my face the whole flight.”

Later on during the day, smiles quickly faded as a rain storm blew over the island putting a stop to all flying and a chance for a second round of qualifiers. Without this second round, many of the top pilots would be eliminated after the first round of qualifiers mostly due to video signal issues. But alas, in true dramatic fashion the clouds part and the sun is shining on again. Race Director Scot Refsland decides to have a second qualifying round tonight. Which means the team qualifiers are pushed back to tomorrow.

The men and women working on this US Drone Nationals have their work cut out for them tomorrow. They have four events to run and finish: Wings, Team, Freestyle and Individual races, each with quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. Tomorrow will be one of those high action high drama days in our beloved sport of drone racing and we at are here in the middle of it to show our support and to bring you up to the minute news all day.


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