The drones

Where engineering meets design

DCL racing isn’t only about the pilots on stage. It’s also a contest of engineering and design. All teams are encouraged to build their own RC quadcopters and develop innovations to get an advantage. As long as quads comply with league regulations, they’re good to fly!


DCL Drone Spec

DCL provides the following parts for team drones: LEDs, UniSense–E (telemetry), canopy, HD camera system, DC-DC converter, frame, timing transponder.

Mains system

A racing quadcopter is substantially different from a common photography drone. Built for extreme speed, agility and durability, it’s controlled directly by the pilot without the use of GPS navigation or other computer assistance. With incredible acceleration and agility, it can reach a speed of over 160 kmh and fly for several kilometers given the right conditions and setup.

Thrust system

The copter’s thrust is generated by plastic propellers, spun at variable speeds by brushless electric motors. The ESC (electronic speed controllers) are responsible for delivering the correct amount of current to the motors. The most common racing propellers are 5 or 6 inches in diameter, with three blades.

HD camera

As the FPV video system is optimized for extremely low latency, its video quality and resolution are generally poor. For this reason, most pilots use an HD action camera to capture stunning HD footage. The most commonly used is the GoPro Session, because of its form factor and the quality of its footage.

Weight

The weight of a copter is measured just before the start of every heat, with the quad in full racing condition. (That is, including all components: canopy, props, HD camera, battery, LEDs, etc. Minimum weight: 850g. Maximum weight: 1,000g.

Frame

Any quadcopter design is allowed. However: The minimum diagonal between motors (measured from the centers of the motors) is 360mm. Steering must be achieved exclusively through variation of propeller rotation speed. Aerodynamic components like fins or wings are allowed only if they are not moveable or steerable, and carbon or glass fiber parts must be black or the team color.

Canopy

Every copter must have a DCL-provided canopy covering the top of its main body. The white color issued must be changed to comply with team color regulations, and teams may attach parts like aerodynamic fins to the outside of the canopy. The mounting of the canopy must be within roughly 10 degrees (plus/minus) of parallel to the propeller rotation plane.

Motorisation

Every copter must use electric motors. The size of the motor’s stator is limited to a maximum diameter of 22mm and a maximum height of 7mm, and motor size will be verified at Copter Check-in. Motors can be installed with a maximum static tilt of 10 degrees.

Battery

Any “C” rated LiPo batteries up to six cells (6s) may be used, and connecting the batteries must be quick and easy. Each battery must be anchored to the frame using 3M™ Dual Lock™ adhesive tape or equivalent, as well as a minimum of one battery strap.

Propellers

Propellers must be polymer plastic. However, the size, pitch, number and geometry of the blades is not regulated. All propellers should be black, transparent or the team’s color.

FPV system

Every copter must use the 5.8GHz Tramp HV video transmitter, and it must be possible to control it with the Touch‘n’Race wand (commonly known as the “magic wand”).

How to build a racing drone

Watch the tutorial here

Want to fly?

There’s a drone for everyone. The following are recommendations based on experience level, but there’s a lot out there. Find one that’s right for you.

  • drone-01-01

    Tiny Whoop

    The Tiny Whoop is perfect for beginners. It's a small first-person-view drone that helps you get used to the feeling of flying before moving up models to the intermediate level.

  • drone-01-01

    3"

    Now you've practiced with the Tiny Whoop, it's time to step up and move on to a bigger, slightly more expensive drone – the 3 inch is just that. Practice makes perfect and before long you'll be stepping up to advanced level.

  • drone-01-01

    5"

    A typical FPV quad is a 5 inch, so once you've masted the 3 inch, this is the next step up. Master this and you'll soon be racing with the pros!