02.03.21BACK TO MENU
Join us for our first Look at DJI’s take off into the Drone Racing Market
A lot of people were hoping for a Mavic 3 but for those of you with ears to the ground you will have seen the unboxing video that made it onto YouTube so yes, it is now Official DJI has its own FPV Racing Quad.
The new drone is a step change from the home built FPV racers far more akin to the quality of the drones created for racers in the DRL (Drone Racing League) or DJI’s Consumer Offerings.
For the un-initiated, FPV or first-person view is where the Remote Pilot flies with a set of goggles linked by radio to a camera at the front of the drone putting them right in the forefront of the action.
With ultra-fast reaction times and high-speed, light multi-rotor drones the sport is exciting to watch and equally exciting to take part in although most of the videos you see don’t show the landings.
DJI has been developing Drones since 2006, In 2019 they released the Digital FPV V1 Goggles and controller. For the FPV racers low latency video is a critical factor in their ability to operate. Traditionally analogue signals provided the lowest latency meaning racers could perform incredible feats of speed and manoeuvring with their drones. DJI has worked hard to get their Digital Offering to the same level and there are many videos out there of the V1 goggles and air unit showing vastly improved visuals over analogue and the ability to get signal around and through more objects DJI have an offering that is likely to define the industry until competitors such as Fatshark develop their own digital competition.
With the DJI FPV Drone DJI have taken things a step further. They have the V2 Goggles which offer improvements in transmission and reception range with O3, offering 6km range in CE (Europe)or 10km in US. A brand new ergonomic controller with 3 distinct flight modes, their brand new racing quad and a first for DJI an Intuitive single hand motion controller. On first sight it looks robust and weighs in at 795g with a 6S Battery allowing up to 20 mins flight time and 93mph. While some naysayers will comment on this as being very heavy compared to some of the mini quads available the DRL Racing drones are all in the region of 1kg too as with weight comes stability. The drone itself is something of a hybrid. It sits in a cross over position between something like the Mavic Air 2 and a true home built FPV Racer. Traditionally FPV racing drones are built and soldered at home with the ability to replace all the parts or modify them to give different flight characteristics.
The DJI FPV Drone has 3 flight modes, from a standard stabilised DJI experience Mavic Pilots will be used to (N) mode, a hybrid sport mode (S) and an FPV (M) mode which is effectively known as full manual. This will make it far more capable and give it the challenging learning curve of an FPV racing drone.
The battery is low slung giving good balance and centre of gravity. The FPV Camera is capable of 1080p at 30fps and is capable of recording too. The controller is nice and weighty to hold and feels like care and thought has been taken in its design and operation. This is great news for content creators maybe not so much for those people who like to avoid regulation at all costs because you will need to register this drone from the outset with the CAA and obtain an Operator ID costing £9 per year.
For those of you interested in FPV or new to FPV Racing Take a look at FPVuk.org for the latest industry info, they offer a good membership product which includes public liability insurance which is a must if you are operating a drone these days above 250g that is not a toy. Capable of recording video, flying at 93mph and weighing in at 795g the DJI FPV Combo is definitely not a toy.
Recommended Retail Price of the DJI FPV Combo is £1249. There should be sufficient units already landed in the UK to cope with demand but as with all things stock will be allocated on a first come first served basis. We have seen with the 30 series GPU’s and the 5000 series CPU’s that market projections can be vastly overlooked in the post covid world we now live and work in.
The DJI FPV Drone is available as a package;
1. DJI FPV combo (Drone, Goggles, Controller, 1 Battery)
2. DJI FPV Fly more Kit (2x Batteries and Battery Charging Hub)
3. DJI Motion Controller
4. DJI FPV V2 Goggles only
5. DJI FPV Drone Only
6. DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 only
For those of you able to get your hands on this exciting new piece of tech there are some caveats which you must be aware of. This I admit is the boring bit but if you want to fly safely and most importantly legally read on.
All drone (UAS) flying in the UK is overseen by the CAA and is governed by the ANO Air Navigation Order. The key aspect of UAS flying FPV or otherwise is this known as Article 241 “A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property”.
The rest of the regulations focus on what a Remote Pilot needs to do to remain clear of uninvolved persons and the limitations placed on UAS flight to keep aircraft safe. We will look into those limitations in more detail in another article as it is incredibly complicated since the new regulations came in. In practical terms this means if you wanted to take a picture of a road and did it overhead at 100m you would in theory meet these limitations. However, you would not be following the spirit of the regulations. You would be accepting the risk that in the hypothetical situation where your UAS failed and a multi car accident was caused as a result of the crash would result in you being prosecuted for breaking Article 241 and reckless endangerment.
There are three ways to fly the new DJI FPV Drone. In all these ways you will need a spotter as with the FPV Goggles you cannot maintain unaided Visual Line of Sight which is a requirement of the regulations.
1. A3 Sub-Category – This means you must maintain separation from uninvolved persons (you can class this is as someone who is unaware you are flying a drone and no idea what do to if there is a problem) of 150m. Imagine it as a horizontal circle around you of 150m in diameter with you at the centre. Most likely the only way to achieve this is on private land such as a farm or other reserved event.
2. A2 CofC – A Certificate of Competency is where you have passed a theory exam and carried out at a minimum self-practical training to fly the drone safely having read and understood the manufacturers manual. This course can be obtained from suitably qualified RAE’s the CAA’s term for a recognised assessment entity or organisation. The price is in the region of £49-£149 at time of writing.
3. Article 16 Exemption – This is a newly granted exemption negotiated by FPV UK a membership body looking after the sport of FPV racing in the UK. It allows for removal of a lot of the limitations at organised FPV racing events and clubs. It is written as an Operational Authorisation the official name of an exemption granted by the CAA. FPV UK membership currently costs £19.99 per annum and includes £5 Million public liability insurance cover provided you are flying legally.
The above methods are the ways to fly the UAS legally outside. There is currently no limitations on flying the drone inside a building, provided Health and Safety at Work guidance is being followed. This presents exciting opportunities for FPV racing tracks. Some of the best tracks seen in the DRL have been inside buildings or tunnels.
Subject to change following Launch
Camera: 4k60fps camera 1/2.3 inch sensor 12mp
Battery: Lipo 6S cell lithium battery 2000mah
Range: 6KM Range (CE) 10 km range (US)e
Flight Time: 20 mins approx. (40kph still air)
Battery Size: 22.2 Volt / 2000 mAh battery
Mandatory Safety Feature: GPS Return-to-Home
High-def low latency image transmission
Two-axis gimbal with Rocksteady Image Stabilisationl
Speed: 140 km/h, 39 m/s, 86mph (M) Mode
Weight drone: 795 gr
Weight remote: 346 gr
Weight goggles: 420 gr