by: Dahlton Grover / @That_Robot_Girl
In July 2016 Thrust UAV jetted across the country to set up a track for 60 ambitious pilots in Lynchburg, VA. The plane rides were long, the gear was heavy and the weather was blazing hot. The outcome? A wicked track that transformed from a day track to a night track easier than any other track has managed to pull off successfully. Thrust UAV reps, Dahlton Grover and Marc Young, changed a baseball stadium into a drone pilot’s dream with a fast track full of turns, an elevation change and a speedy slalom.
As a qualifier for Drone Nationals 2016 on Governor’s Island, pilots were prepared to race their hardest. Many a prop was lost, some epic crashes temporarily took down gates, quads became entangled in tall netting and a LiPo burned in a blaze of epic glory on the field. Pilots and volunteers alike worked long days in the humid Virginia heat, but the event keep the good times rolling, especially as night fell and the LEDs lit up the night.
Friday was day dedicated to practice, and of course some playtime. As FPV racing continues to grow into an emerging mainstream sport, OG pilots show new pilots the ropes and how to keep the flow between heats running smoothly. Our pilot-in-chief, Adam Negron of DSA, MC’d the show and ran tech ops. With sensors on the inside of the first gate, Negron was able to capture exact times for each pilot, something that in the past has not been possible. From 10am until 11pm, Adam ran through a variety of heats to give each pilot adequate preparation for Saturday: the first round of qualifier races.
The morning of Saturday started off strong with pilots full of energy, prepping quads and charging LiPos. A few major players began to emerge, and a few unexpected pilots shook the status quo. After a long day, and the last of the LED night racing experience, many pilots congregated in the lobby of the local Holiday Inn for an FPV cult favorite: Tiny Whooping! Tiny Whoops are modified Inductrix micro drones with upgraded cylindrical, brushed motors, a 205mAh single cell LiPo and of course a mini FPV enabled camera. Check out a feed from the party from ArchieFPV here. A few lucky late-nighters even trekked to local late-night food joint called the Texas Inn for some Tiny Whoop grub that wrapped up a night of true FPV camaraderie.
Despite the lack of sleep for many a pilot that attended the Tiny Whoop party, Sunday’s events started right on time. This was the day where Qualifier spots were awarded to five individual pilots and one team. Who stole the show? Top three 1. Mad Air (Cain J Madere) 2. Zoomas (Steve Zoumas) and 3. RealEyez (Frank Mainadé Jr) went home with some serious cash and swag. Mad Air and Zoomas were already qualified for nationals, so the following pilots snagged their golden ticket to the biggest event of year to be aired on ESPN: 1. RealEyez (Frank Mainadé Jr), 2. Race Day Quads (Tyler Brennan) 3. Bozi (Joe Bosack) 4. Beaupre (Justin Michael Beaupre) 5. Archie FPV (Andy Boehm). As for the team races, Gravity Goons from Florida earned their way to the Big Apple to goon-it-up on Governor’s Island. Overall, the MRR was an impressive event that truly demonstrated where the sport of FPV is headed, and Thrust UAV was beyond honored to be a part of it. Interested in setting up your own event? Let us know if you’d like Thrust to be involved! More than likely we’ll jump at the chance.