Drone Derby 101: Rules for FPV Racing

Drones Drones & Vehicles Fun & Games Robotics
Drone Derby 101: Rules for FPV Racing


Build this project and more in Make: Vol. 44. Don't have the issue? Get yours today!
Build this project and more in Make: Vol. 44. Don’t have the issue? Get yours today!

FPV racing is an emerging sport combining multicopters, live video, and high-speed racing. As of yet, there aren’t any official rules, but here are some guidelines based on our experiences.

Classes: Most racers fit into one of three classes based on their size. Race organizers may implement additional criteria, such as weight limits, for safety reasons.


Micro / 150
Suited to beginners and indoor racing events.
Up to 150mm (measured diagonally from motor to motor)
4 motors
2-cell LiPo battery

Mini / 250
Currently the most popular class for FPV racing.
Up to 250mm
5″ props
4 motors; 1806 or 2204 brushless
3- or 4-cell LiPo battery

Fewer restrictions for faster races (and more spectacular crashes).
Up to 300mm
6″ props
4 motors

Frequencies: Prior to the event, the organizers should provide participants with a list of available video channels. Pilots should then choose a unique channel and this should be noted on the list. On race day, pilots should switch on their goggles and ensure that nobody else is using the same channel before switching on their video transmitter.


Rules: Multicopters must
Meet the criteria for their class
Be piloted exclusively via FPV
Be capable of taking off and landing vertically

Pilots must not:
Interfere with any other pilot or his /her equipment
Walk onto the course while a race is in progress
Fly multicopters close to other pilots or spectators
Be intoxicated


Courses: Find a large, open space to set up your course. If flying on private property, you will need permission from the owner.

Forests and parking garages offer more challenging and exciting races for experienced pilots. However keep in mind that solid objects such as trees and pillars may block video signals.

You can create pylons or arches using pool noodles stuck into the ground with poles or PVC pipes. To keep races interesting, try to incorporate different types of turns — such as hairpins, slaloms, sweepers, and chicanes — straightaways, and various over-and-under obstacles. Some people lay Coroplast arrows on the ground as course markers.

Typically a race will consist of at least three laps around the course, but this is at the discretion of the organizers. Most races last between two and four minutes.


Choose a secluded location where people won’t inadvertently walk onto the course
Handle LiPo batteries carefully and dispose of damaged cells
We recommend that children not be present at racing events

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Donald Hills

Donald Hills is the founder of Drone Hire, an international directory of commercial drone operators, and the Ultimate FPV Racing League, fpvracing.tv. He loves aerospace, robotics, and innovation.

View more articles by Donald Hills