The UK Drone Show

I missed last week’s post as I was at the UK Drone Show in Birmingham flying in the University Agility competition. I don’t think I would have been flying last week anyway, as the wind was ferocious as we were walking across the car park to the NEC. This week isn’t much better, as yesterday’s gale force winds have been replaced by persistent heavy drizzle.

You can find a more detailed post about our visit to the UK Drone Show here:

It was a pity they didn’t let us have a go at the main FPV racing course as I had been practising with our QuadSim simulator, but I don’t think the universities could have managed it. I dumped the Black Pearl screen and Fat Shark Teleporter TX after the Saturday test flight, once they had shown us the agility course which could be flown from a 3rd person viewpoint. I can’t use the Fat Shark goggles and had never flown FPV, so it made sense to fly the way I normally fly, even if I can’t judge the depth very well. None of the other universities flew FPV and Southampton, who won the competition, had an experienced RC helicopter pilot flying for them. Watching the FPV racing through our own goggles was awesome though. Until you see it live, you don’t realise just how little these guys can see. The picture was breaking up all over the place and most of the time they were flying the course by memory.

The video shows some of the main FPV racing. You can just about see some brightly coloured objects whizzing past despite my shaky camera work. It’s not easy to capture something like this using just a hand held camera phone.


The fenced off flying area, with the agility course formed of the nano gate and box, just visible above the white carrier bag. The black “Hoverspeed” holes between the two flags form another one of the obstacles.


This gives you an idea of the size of the FPV course.


A bit more of the course, showing the tunnel. 


A DJI Inspire about to give a demonstration.


This was amazing, a radio controller spider that walked around and show 1 foot foam missiles at visitors.

One thing we discovered at the show was that we seem to have the only open source quadcopter simulator, as everybody else is selling them as commercial products. I’m going to have to spend some time getting the code together on GitHub so we can do a proper release. I’ve even built my own nano FPV gate so I can recreate the agility course in the simulator:


One of the Nano FPV gates built using Blender.

OK, I’ve had enough of quadcopters for a while. Now I’ve got that out of the way I can finally get my autogyro flying.


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