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Competition among flying robots was today’s theme.

Competitive flying, glass miniatures, and hovering apparitions were all part of the First Annual Multirotor Challenge held in Fallbrook, Calif., about a hour north of San Diego. For this brainchild of the Palomar Fly Club over 50 pilots registered to compete in a variety of events. This family-friendly competition was an exciting exhibition of what multi-rotor craft can do.

Late last year three flying friends got to thinking how their club should do something in support of the new but fast-growing segment of radio control flying. Multicopter flying craft have only been available to hobbyists for around three years but, judging by the adoption and buzz, they’re taking off! Best to support this emerging segment, they thought, so planning began.

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Lucian Miller flew these costumed quadcopters up and down his street on Halloween night!

Drawing from their combined decades of experience Lician, Tom, and Scott mapped it out. They’d use the club’s flying field and they’d stage classic challenges such as weight lifts, pylon races, obstacle courses. However they’d insert challenges distinctly suited for technology-rich multi-rotors. With sensors to measure geo position, elevation, orientation, motion, and more, a multirotor craft can do things such as fly programmed routes or return home autonomously. The variety was great and it was a delight to watch the action.

Weren’t in SoCal? Couldn’t attend? Then why not stage your own event?
Find quad copter enthusiasts or an R/C flyer club and get planning!
Multi-rotor craft are all the rage…and they’re great fun to fly.

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Best to land this glass-frame quad with great care … you only get one mistake!

Travis Good

Speaker. Maker. Writer. Traveler. Father. Husband.


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Comments

  1. Charles Haase says:

    Hi Travis. Would you mind replacing the word “drone” in your article with “multi-rotor”? There is currently a movement that is gaining traction in several states to regulate or criminalize the use of “drones”, and we in the Radio Control flying hobby are concerned about the wording in regulations recently proposed in Texas and Oregon. Anything that flies in the air without passengers is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). To much of the non-RC public, “drone” implies one or more of the following attributes: autonomous flight, cameras with live feed to an operator, ability to fire weapons, and ability to carry payloads of significant mass. The AMA and the RC community have an excellent safety record with our planes, and as our toys get more and more capability (stabilization systems, FPV systems, more powerful motors and batteries) we would like to make sure we can continue to enjoy our hobby in the future. To that end, we would like help from those in the media industry in separating our hobby from machines used by the military and law enforcement. As we see them on mass-media sites today, drones are used for surveillance and for destroying military targets. Small multi-rotors, on the other hand, have so many other potential uses: mapping farmland, parks and real estate, aiding search & rescue operations, collecting atmospheric data, film-making, photography, firefighting, etc. Please help us educate the non-RC public to differentiate them so that we can all make informed choices as the debates about privacy and homeland security intensify around these new (or newly inexpensive) technologies. Most drones are not mult-rotor vehicles. And most multi-rotors are not drones.

  2. Charles Haase says:

    Thanks, Travis, on behalf of the RC community! Score one for responsible and responsive journalism. Are you listening, CNN, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NYT, etc.?

  3. Charles Haase says:

    “quadcopters”. Can’t seem to find the edit button for Comments.

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