Things To Know
* Know your video frequency! Not your band, like 5.8GHz, but the specific channel/frequency you're using, and how to change channels on your VTx if necessary. You really don't want to be the person that brings someone else down by turning on the wrong channel.
* Due to the vast numbers of Crossfire systems in use these days, 900 MHz will not be used for video.
* 2.4GHz video is at your own risk as it will be in use for control systems, and does not always play well with video in the same band. If you choose to use those video frequencies then we assume you have made an informed decision and are comfortable with that possibility.
* 5.8GHz (both DJI HD and analog) will use the "chair" method. A reserved flying spot with a chair allocated to a specific channel. If the chair for your desired frequency is available you will claim it (or wait in line until available) and fly until either your battery is dead (one battery max per time slot) or you can no longer fly due to damage. It's your choice as to whether you wish to use the time for racing practice, freestyle, or just casual free flight. There is no need to wait for clock based slots that start on the hour or at specific times.
* DJI HD Users - All pilots utilizing a DJI HD system must set the system to fixed frequency (non-hopping) mode. Additionally, due to the transmitting nature of the DJI goggles, DJI HD users should keep a 10' separation from other 5.8 GHz analog receivers.
* Non 5.8 GHz Pilots - All pilots flying frequencies other than 5.8 GHz will utilize frequency badges based on "virtual chairs". You will "line up" by placing your name tag next to the frequency that you wish to use, and pilots will take turns in the order that they lined up. You are not required to actually fly from the operations tent.
* Do NOT turn on or power up any video transmitter without being in possession of the corresponding video frequency badge or chair.
* When it is your turn and you're ready to power up, turn on your video receiver first and verify that there is not a signal already present on that frequency. If the receiver is getting static and you're ready to power up your video transmitter, call out your frequency. LOUDLY. Wait a second and listen to make certain that no one else is currently running that frequency. Yes, it's your time with the tag, but sometimes people make mistakes. After you turn on your video transmitter, take another moment and listen for the sound of screaming and/or anguish. If you hear that, power down immediately! You may be in the right, but it still sucks to crash another pilot because you turned on.
* Do not power up right next to another pilot's ground station antenna. Even on a different frequency, you may interfere with their video.
* No boosters or megawatt transmitters. This is a group meet. It's a time to chase other pilots around the field in tandem, fly through the race gates, show off for the spectators, and just generally have fun! It's not the time to attempt a new personal altitude or distance record. We'll be flying with managed time slots, so you won't be able to make long distance treks anyway. Play nice with your fellow pilots and leave the super high power gear behind.
* IMMEDIATELY turn your tag back in after your flight is completed. This should be your number one priority after powering down your aircraft. Plan ahead so that you may land, power down, and turn in your frequency badge by the end of your time slot. Do not wait until the next time slot is beginning to start thinking about landing. Be courteous to your fellow pilots; they may be the one ahead of you next time.
* Do not land right next to another pilot's ground station antenna. Even on a different frequency, you may interfere with their video.
* Have fun and be safe!
What To Bring
Lots of fun things to fly, and spare parts!
Bug Spray - It shouldn't be needed in February, but it is Florida.
Flashlight - It's a big camp, and the night is dark and full of terrors. Okay, not so much terror, it's just a quote.
Money - There will be many sponsors on-hand with some great deals, and a food vendor during the days, so come prepared. There's usually a few people with their own personal swap meet going on too.
FM Radio - We will have a full time professional emcee, with lots of announcements that you'll want to hear. The camp is a big area so we'll be broadcasting the PA on a low power FM transmitter. Having a small radio or boombox in your pit or campsite will make it much easier to keep up with what's going on!
Mobile Phone - Okay, so I probably don't have to remind you of that one, but we'll also be sending out updates through a text notification service during the meet. Whether you're in your RV, out at the cabins, strolling a nature trail, or lounging by the pool at the hotel, you can be kept up to date on all the highlights of the meet! To opt in, text the word CFLFPV to 84483.
There are real bathrooms and showers for you to use. This isn't a hotel, you'll need your own soap, shampoo, towel, and anything else required for your daily routine. It's summer camp style, so I'd suggest a pair of flip flops to wear in the bathroom, and a robe or t-shirt and shorts. Please don't scar your fellow pilots by being that guy that is way too comfortable naked around a bunch of strangers.
Blankets - It's Florida in February, it could be in the 80's or the 30's. Come prepared for either possibility unless you've checked the weather just beforehand and feel confident in your weatherperson.
Earplugs - If you're a light sleeper, you may want some of these. A tent doesn't block much sound, and some people like to fly late into the night and/or early in the morning. It's a flying meet, that's what they're here to do! If you get grumpy without your beauty rest then come prepared.
Bedding and linens. You are responsible for providing your own bedding and pillow! Don't show up empty handed unless a bare mattress appeals to you.
Each cabin has at least two full bathrooms. As mentioned for the campers above, bring your own toiletries, towels, and whatever you choose to sleep in or wear around the cabin.
Each cabin will be provided with a basic FM radio. Most cabins are divided into three rooms that may be closed off from each other, so if you're not in the "radio room" you may choose to bring an additional radio of your own for listening to meet announcements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’m brand new to FPV, should I attend an event like this?
A: We all have to start somewhere. You may find that a larger event like this is more intimidating for a new pilot, and it is not the best environment to learn to fly if you’re still getting the hang of things, but it’s a fantastic way to meet other pilots and to learn from more experienced veterans. Even if you don’t fly at the event, it’s a tremendous educational experience.
Q: I’m a hardcore Quad racer, what will the competition and class breakdown look like?
A: This is an FPV “fun” meet with some racing, not a race meet. Please see the Event Details above for a full breakdown of the different races and class explanations. This meet is not 100% focused on competition. We will have some great racing (both multirotor and fixed wing), but will also have unique contests like Limbo and Combat, as well as a few surprises that will be unlike anything you’ve seen before! If a race meet is the only thing you’ve ever done, you may be surprised to see how enjoyable a laid back “fun” meet is!
Q: Is this an AMA meet? Is AMA membership required?
A: No, this is not an AMA sanctioned meet, as some aspects of FPV flight do not fall within the AMA guidelines. The AMA is working to find reasonable methods of managing FPV flight, and we hope that as the hobby grows we will be able to host such events under AMA sanctioning in the future.
Q: I only fly line of sight (LOS), may I attend this event?
A: We welcome modelers of all types to come watch and meet other pilots, especially if you’re interested in learning about FPV. We will offer a few times for LOS flying, however, since this is an FPV specific event, most of the events and contests will require FPV flight. There are some pilots that enter but never fly, just for a chance to meet other pilots, learn more about FPV, and have a shot at the tremendous amount of prizes being given away!
Q: Do I have to register in order to fly or compete in the contests?
A: Yes, due to channel conflicts and liability reasons, only registered pilots will be able to fly during the meet.
Q: I hear that some of you guys are a little crazy, is this a family friendly event?
A: Generally speaking, yes! Some of the pilots may relax around the camp fire at night, and as with any after-hours social gathering a parent should moderate which conversations and environments are appropriate for kids to be involved in. It's probably best for the kids to head out before the evening gets too late, but we always have a great group of entertaining pilots though that are eager to meet fellow FPV’ers.
Q: The announcement says this is a charity meet, but flying RC aircraft doesn’t sound very charitable. What’s the story?
A: In order to give something back to our local community, as well as to highlight the fact that “drone” (let’s face it, that’s what everyone knows them as now) doesn’t have to be a dirty word, we wanted to make the meet about more than just a bunch of grown (mostly) men having fun. As with most charity events, it’s a lot easier to get people involved and willing to help a cause if you can entertain them while doing so. The meet will still be a lot of fun, and thanks to the generosity of our sponsors we aren’t cutting any corners, but we’re also working to be responsible with our funds so that we may donate all net proceeds to Easter Seals Florida.
Q: What is Easter Seals Florida?
A: Easter Seals Florida is a charity headquartered here in Orlando that has been helping others since 1948. Their mission is to provide exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities. ESF is part of the national Easter Seals organization that has been helping those in need live better lives for nearly 100 years.
Q: I have a store/website/trunk that I sell RC gear from, may I setup a store onsite?
A: In order to keep things fair for our paying sponsors we do have some rules in place regarding product sales and advertising. There are many levels of sponsorship available, so if you'd like to join us as a sponsor please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.