Rules and Judging Summary

Definitions
DNS: Did Not Start
DNF: Did Not Finish
DQ: Disqualified
OOB: Out of Bounds

Requirements

  • All pilots must have an AMA Membership (annual or guest). MAAC accepted. You can register online or at the venue.
  • All pilots must have their airframes labeled with their FAA registration number (Register here) Please note that the FAA website only works within US soil. International participants please register once you arrive in Hawaii. 
  • All pilots must use the approved video transmitters found in our Rules and Regulations section.

Pilot Responsibilities

  • Pilots are responsible for operating and maintaining their own equipment.
  • Pilots are responsible for ensuring proper flight operations through timing gates and recording all official times. If timing is not recorded in the official timing system, or inaccurately recorded, it is the pilots responsibility to prove the accurate time (via an original DVR recording) or other method.

Race Commencement

  • Premature start before the official tone: Pilot will lose 1 Lap.
  • Non launch on starting tone, arming timout, flip, etc – DNF, no rerun.
  • Collision with another aircraft: DNF: no rerun
  • Pilot Loses Video for Unknown Reason – DNF – no rerun unless evidence can be show via DVR of situation beyond pilots control.

Discretionary Reruns

  • Pilots may request a reschedule to another heat due to technical difficulties if the pilot notifies the Race Director prior to the start of his or her heat. Maximum two requests per event.
  • Pilot may request a rerun due to losing video or other technical difficulty beyond the pilot’s control.
  • The Race Director has absolute discretion over approval or denial of any request listed above.

Disqualifications

  • Any pilot not physically present on the flight line fully prepared to race at the time of their scheduled heat will receive a DNF for that heat and will not receive a rerun. Two or more DNFs for no-shows will result in disqualification of the event.
  • Missing a gate, flag or required obstacle: If a pilot misses a gate or obstacle, pilot will receive a DNF. Pilots may have one attempt at retrying the gate or obstacle while race is active.
  • Flying out of bounds: any pilot flying out of bounds, including maximum ceiling height will receive a DNF for the current run. Pilots receiving two infractions will be completely disqualified.
  • No celebration laps or excessive displays of celebration while race heat is still active. Any interference caused by a pilot or airframe will result in a DNF for that heat. Two or more DNF’s will result in disqualification from the event.
  • Unsportsman like conduct will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to refuse admission for any participant or guest  due to the safety and well-being of other patrons and venue.
  • All decisions made by the Race Director or Judge are final.

General

 

Video Transmitters 

There are selected video transmitters required to race at the World Championships.
Power Outputs: All main tracks: 25mw and or 200mw. Exception is 600mw for wings only as prescribed by the Race Director.
Required Channels: Raceband capable, 40 channels.

Powering up (in any mode other than pitmode) at any time when not racing will result in immediate disqualification.

Accepted Video Transmitters
1. TBS Unify Pro 5G8 HV
2. ImmersionRC Tramp-HV 5.8GHz
3. Lumenier TX5GA OR TX5gpro-mini-25mw AND TX5gpro-mini-200mw. Pilots must be able to fly at 25mW or 200mW.
4. FXT based video Transmitter (RMRC Cricket, SBA…)
5. Other video transmitters (not recommended). You may use your own video transmitter, but please be aware that it will have to pass the RF scrutineering process. If it does not pass, then please be prepared to immediately purchase and install one of the available Tx’s onsite.

All pilots must be able to completely understand all operations of their Tx, and be able to switch channels and power as required by the track and the race officials. In all non racing cases, Tx’s must be off or operated in pit mode.  Channels will be pre-assigned before the race and in most cases you will not need to switch channels.

RH and LH Antennas
Recommended Axial ratio: .6
It is highly advisable to bring several sets of both right hand and left hand antennas. Also please update your antennas to the latest iterations (axial ratios of .60 or better) to ensure clean signal with higher number of pilots per course on multiple tracks.

Mini Multirotor LED and Propeller Color Requirements:

In order to help both local spectators and TV/online viewers be able to better see and to keep track of pilots, all pilots are required to select propeller color combinations in advance, and to stick to their selected propeller color combination throughout the event.

OPTIONAL LED: Each quad should display at least two, working LEDs on each of 3 sides. The LEDs should be clearly visible from those three directions, at a distance of no less than 30 feet from the airborne quad. One or two LED colors should be used. The colors choices are at the discretion of the pilot, but must be specified before the first race. Differing colors (e.g. for different arms or front and back) are encouraged. The more LEDs that are mounted the better. This option applies to the individual quad racing, team quad racing, and freestyle competition classes.

Wing LED and Appearance Requirements for Drone Nationals 2016:

In order to help both local spectators and TV /online viewers be able to better see and to keep track of pilots, all wings are encouraged to have LEDs mounted and to select color combinations in advance, and to stick to the selected combination throughout the event.

Wings should at a minimum have LED strips along or near the leading edge on both top and bottom. Other highly visible LED patterns are also encouraged, but LEDs must be visible from both above and below. The more LEDs that are mounted the better. One or two colors of LEDs may be used, and no more than two colors.

Additionally, all wings should be brightly decorated and must include a white circle on the top and bottom of the left wing 6 inches in diameter on which the pilot’s number will be stuck or taped on. A racing theme including elements such as stripes is also recommended.

General Rules and Regulations of Flight

Version 1.9.1 Working
Drone Sports Association

Definition of Racing Terms

DNS: Did Not Start
DNF: Did Not Finish
DQ: Disqualified
OOB: Out of Bounds

General Piloting Rules

  • There is a requirement that all pilots in a host country have a current license or organizational membership to the local body governing model aeronautics then all pilots must meet that requirement in order to compete, and all pilots must adhere to the rules and regulations of safe airframe operation and flight as defined by that body.
  • All pilots must adhere to any applicable regulations by the relevant local authorities responsible for manned aircraft regulations.
  • Unlawful flight, such as flights near an event at locations where flying is prohibited, will likely result in disqualification from the event.
  • All pilots must attend a general safety briefing and sign the appropriate waivers from the race organizer and venue.
  • All pilots must demonstrate effective Failsafe procedures defined by the Race Director. In most cases this is a “Power Down, no pulse” method, where the aircraft will immediately cease flight by stopping all motors and operation if it loses contact with the radio transmitter.
  • All pilots must submit for scrutineering airworthy airframe(s)
  • All batteries must be transported and stored in LiPo safe bags or fire resistant container.
  • Pilots must use FPV to pilot aircraft. This can be with goggles or displays.
  • In events where emitter based timing systems are used, pilots are required to have an authorized timing system transponder emitter properly installed on their airframe for all official lap timing purposes. The organiser will advertise the requirement and spec of the emitter a minimum of 6 weeks out from event and ensure ample supply.
  • Pilots must not power up video transmitters unless they have been instructed to do so, e.g. they are about to take part in a race.
  • RAIN DELAY: In case of rain delays or events beyond our control, the organizer or their designated representative will attempt to make up as many races in the remaining time available. They reserve the right to adjust the number of semi-final rounds and/or qualified pilots/teams or any other logistics as necessary to accommodate limits of the remaining time allotted in the schedule.

Powering up a video transmitter at all other times in most cases will result in disqualification from the event.

 Venue Operations

  • Pilots must adhere to all rules within the competition venue, and will not fly in any other part of the venue unless it is a designated flight zone.
  • Pilots must contain all equipment and, airframes within the pilot pit area and must not solder, weld or cause any spark within the pit area. There will be established workbench areas for soldering, repairs and modifications.
  • A charging station with high quality LiPo balance chargers will be provided for all pilots. The chargers are equipped with XT60 plugs – If other connectors are required pilots must bring adapter leads.
  • General charging of electronic devices including radios or any device is permitted.
  • All batteries must be stored in a LiPo safe bag or in a fire resistant container.

 Risk Management

All stakeholders, including the organizing company, the site location and venue, sponsors and participants must have acceptable and adequate insurance policies (General Liability and Aviation/Event Specific) in place before participating in any aspect of the event. These policies have been defined with the various contracts and agreements executed between the organizers and their insurers. Pilots will be responsible for their own insurance, with AMA membership insurance as a secondary option if the event is officially sanctioned by the AMA.

 Racing category general information

Categories

  • Speed/Agility Course: Primary Multirotor race track, featuring gates, flags and other obstacles
  • Freestyle Competition: Judged using criteria detailed below
  • Team Sport: Teams of two or more pilots grouped into a team are judged upon a cumulative team time or other team based scoring criteria. Pilots may only compete in the team competition with one team.
  • Wings Course: The course is designed to be “big sky” open style races over an area conducive to safe flight operations, and may feature pylons and gates. Races can last up to 5 minutes.

 Judging and Marshalling

  • All races will be governed by an appointed team of judges.
  • All races will follow the general rules and regulations of amateur competition, including those of the AMA or the local, equivalent authority.
  • Each race will be monitored by judges, cameras, timing/lap systems and marshals to maintain fair and accurate competition.
  • In the event of a mid-air collision, pilots can resume the race if they are able to take off again without intervention, otherwise their heat is considered a DNF.
  • Any practice or behaviour deemed unsafe, (i.e. flying above the max ceiling height) will result in an immediate disqualification.

 Airframe General Guidelines

  • All airframes must pass a safety, rule compliance, and airworthiness inspection. Once the airframe has been checked and approved, it must not be modified or changed, or it will need to be re-scrutineered
  • Airframes should be repaired with equivalent parts that were originally used during
  • The inspector has the final decision on whether an airframe is accepted and/or requires changes or modifications in order to be approved for racing.
  • Airframes must use official video transmitters as deemed by the race organizer. At the race organizer’s discretion, competitors must purchase and supply their own choice of at least one the official video transmitters, or, the race organizer may choose to supply video transmitters. If the race organizer supplies pilots with an approved video transmitter, video transmitters will be provided within a reasonable time period for the competitor to install on their airframe. It is the competitor’s responsibility that the Vtx is within spec, installed correctly and is not broadcasting outside of its selected channel or required output. Broadcasting outside of assigned channel will result in disqualification from race.
  • A spectrum analyser will be used during scrutineering to ensure Vtx compliance
  • Antennas will be RH polarised in most cases. Depending upon the RF environment, LH antennas may be required. It is highly recommended that all pilots come prepared with both RH and LH antennas for the best possible transmission.
  • Pilots may have multiple airframes, and each airframe must pass all safety and airworthiness checks before flying.
  • Wings Class airframes will be tested using an industry standard shunt style current and voltage sensor during scrutineering. The test procedure will require installing, inline, a XT60 shunt. The battery used for racing will be used for the test, and must be in a fully charged 4.2V/cell state. The test will proceed as follows: 5 second spool up to full throttle, 10 second hold at full throttle, then the watt measurement taken. Airframes that exceed 850W during this test will require rectification or will be ineligible for competition.

Race Classes

 Mini Multirotor Class (formerly 250 class)

  • 6 inch (152 mm) diameter maximum propeller size
  • Maximum of 4 bladed propellers
  • Maximum frame size 330 mm motor to motor, no minimum size
  • Multirotor craft with 3, 4 or 6 motors
  • 4S maximum LiPo battery, maximum 4.2 volts per cell
  • Pilots must choose and specify propeller & LED color in advance. Two different colors for front and back or left and right are encouraged, but no more than two may be used.

Wing Racing Class

  • Wingspan 30 inches (762 mm) and 40 inches (1016 mm) measured from the extreme end of one wingtip to the extreme end of the other wingtip
  • Limit of one motor for propulsion
  • 850 Watt maximum draw from the propulsion motor
  • Tailless (e.g. Flying Wing)
  • Vertical stabilizers permitted
  • Rear mounted motor in a pusher configuration only.
  • Rudders/Ruddervators or other yaw control not permitted
  • Vectored thrust not permitted
  • 4S maximum LiPo battery, maximum 4.2 volts per cell
  • Pilots must choose and specify LED colour in advance. Two different colours for front and back or left and right are encouraged, but no more than two may be used. LEDs are to be positioned in the wings, near the leading edge.
  • 6” diameter white circles must be provided on the LH wing upper and lower surface, racing numbers will be affixed before racing.

Field, course and venue operations

General

  • The field is explicitly controlled by the events Flight Line Director, as well as the Race Commissioner and the Race Director. Those officials have the ability to disqualify any pilot for any justified reason, and have the ability to stop a race or flight at any time for any reason.
  • All official AMA and FAA rules governing competition and flight are strictly observed and enforced.
  • The field and the venue are governed by the venue’s Fire, Security and Police Marshals.
  • The field is a restricted airspace and only authorized personnel are allowed within the flying grounds.
  • All flights are grounded while there are personnel actively on the field.
  • All personnel in the flight area must wear protective headgear, safety glasses and a high visibility vest.
  • Personnel engaged in active recovery of any airframe must wear high tensile gloves, and must immediately remove all battery power from the aircraft upon contact.
  • Depending upon the field size, the field must have at least four (4) fire extinguishers or sand buckets on the side lines, with two, basic first aid kits ready to be immediately deployed.
  • Metal covers (such as a trash can lid) should be available for all drone recovery crews to use as a shield if other retrieval methods are unsuccessful.
  • A First Aid station is to be located in the Pilot Pit area or an area that is easily and conveniently accessible to the active piloting areas of the event.
  • An EMT Station should be located within the immediate vicinity of the field, as defined by the venue’s first aid policies.
  • Event organizers must have 2­way radios with a specific channel designated for flight operations and first aid/emergency communications. All directors (operations, flight, judging) must have access to a radio. It is highly recommended that any airframe recovery personnel on the field also have a radio.
  • Drone recovery crews must not enter the field until all aircraft have landed. Drone recovery crews must expediently remove all airframe parts, components and various debris from the field and do a quick analysis of the airframe to see if all parts have been retrieved. If an airframe is still powered and props are spinning, crew members must try to safely indicate via hand signals through the pilot camera the Thumbs Down signal to indicate to the pilot to power down their aircraft. In all cases do not attempt to handle an aircraft that has motors engaged, spinning or is on fire. Use the metal plate in order to cover the craft and attempt to neutralize.

Official Course Dimensions and Boundaries

  • Flight paths should have a safety buffer zones for spectators:
    • If parallel to the flight path, a minimum of 50 feet (15.4 meters) from any spectator or building area. There must be natural or manmade barriers (fencing) to restrict spectator movement into the flight path.
    • If flight path is directly into or perpendicular to a spectator area, then a minimum of 200’ with some natural manmade barrier or safety netting is required..
  • Course designs should take into consideration flight and energy direction. Flight paths should not direct 100% energy force of the airframe directly at personnel unless there is substantial distance and barriers.
  • Accidents, loss of control and other impacts that cause the aircraft to alter from its flight path should be considered and implemented into the design.
  • If spectators are allowed within 50’ of the flight path, and depending upon the AGL height of the flight path, there must be netting with a minimum of 10’ to max of 30 feet (9.1 meters) high (or as high as necessary to cover the front of a structure that provides an alternate natural barrier) with a minimum 6 foot (1.8 m) buffer on each side for impact recovery. Spectators must not stand within 6 foot (1.8 m) of the netting.
  • Netting must be high tensile weave, with a 1 ¾ inch (45 mm) max weave size (either square or diamond). This is to ensure there are multiple catch points in case one of the squares is breached by the impact.

 Course Timing Systems

  • A timing system will be used if available and suitable to officially track the time of each competitor throughout the
  • Emitters/Transponder requirements will be announced a minimum of 6 weeks out from event and at the organisers discretion, pilots will be required to either own their own transponder or rent from the organizer at the event.
  • A backup timing system such as manual timing with stopwatches by judges will be used in the case of failure of the primary timing system.
  • If required, each pilot is responsible for mounting the emitter/transponder. The mounting location will be inspected during scrutineering for optimum placement.
  • Pilot is responsible for the safe powering of the emitter, and failed triggers due to improper operation, overpowering, overheating, improper mounting or failed trigger is the complete responsibility of the pilot.
  • Judgments for manually adding times or adjustments may be made.

 Flight line race count­down procedures

It is recommended that the competitions use a four stage process for all racing heats, although individual events may elect to use a different process. Each stage is designed to check for the various conditions, prepare video transmitters, and have all pilots organized and ready for racing. Each stage is staffed by a specialist who will review each pilot and airframe. All heats and pilots will proceed together through each stage. The stages for Mini Class racing heats are as follows:

Stage 4 (Three heats from Flight Line): Pre-flight airworthiness check. All airframes will be checked for valid seals and marks from scrutineering. If they are not present, the pilot must go through the scrutineering and receive a new seal or mark. At this time all cables, connectors, props and electronics will be checked by the Stage specialist.

Stage 3 (Two heats from Flight Line): Pilots will be assigned a race position and frequency. The aircraft should not be powered up at this time.

Stage 2 (Next up on Flight Line): Pilots will hand over their airframe to their spotter and the spotter will take it to the start/finish area to await the next heat. Pilots may power up their goggles or displays but may not power up their radio at this time.

Stage 1 (On Flight Line): Pilots will proceed to their assigned seat in the Flight Line and power up their radios. Spotters will power up the airframes, check their video feeds. The spotter will show by the number of fingers in front of the pilot camera to confirm successful and correct video feed. The pilot must give a “Thumbs Up” to the Pilot Line Director when they have successfully powered up and have the correct video feed. Pilots must not arm until directed by the Pilot Line Director.

If a race is ordered stopped for any reason, pilots will be instructed by the Pilot Line Director and must follow any procedures prescribed.

Once all pilots have given the Thumbs Up sign, the race start countdown will commence. It will proceed as follows:

Multirotor Race Start

  1. Pilots asked to give thumbs up when ready
  2. Pilots, arm your aircraft
  3. Pilots at the ready in 5
  4. Tone will signal commencement of the race

Wings Race Start

  1. Pilots, launch window open – start 60second countdown.
  2. 45 second warning
  3. 30 second warning
  4. 15 second warning
  5. Final 10 seconds counted per second
  6. Race start

Pilots can launch any time during the launch window, but must be in the air before the 15 second mark. During the time from the launch to the race start pilots must loiter inside the start box, which will be prescribed by the race officials.

Pilots must not cross the start line to enter the course before the race start or the pilot will be required to circle back through the start box/line.

Launching can be done via hand launching or via a bungee system in the prescribed location.

Alternative Wings Race Start

If all competitors opt for a bungee launch

  1. Launchers to marks
  2. Pilots at the ready
  3. Count down 3, 2, 1, air horn blast
  4. Air horn short blast will signal commencement of the race

Spotters/Launchers tension all bungees too equal 8kg marks on the track, and release on the air horn.  Course rules

  • Pilots must stay within all prescribed flight paths.
  • Pilots must keep all aircraft in the disarmed state until they have been given the “ARM” signal from the Pilot Line Director. This will happen only when the aircraft has been placed on the starting deck and all field staff have left the area.
  • Pilots must adhere to the prescribed launch sequence. No movement before the starting signal. False starts will incur a penalty.
  • Pilots must maintain control of their aircraft at all times and only fly within their skill level. Any pilot who exhibits unsafe flying procedures may be disqualified at any time.
  • Once pilots have successfully completed all laps, they must return to the start/finish pad, land and DISARM. Pilots must give the Pilot Line Director a “Thumbs Up” that they have completed their flight.
  • Pilots that have crashed at any point during the heat and are unable to resume racing must DISARM their aircraft, give the Pilot Line Director a “Thumbs Down” indication and wait until the heat is over. The airframe will be recovered by the field crew.
  • Pilots must successfully fly through all gates, flags, and other obstacles on the course. If a pilot misses an obstacle, they must safely turn around and attempt the obstacle again. They will have up to two further attempts before being disqualified from the heat. Judges will ride along via FPV with the pilot, and will indicate immediately to the pilot if they must correct any flight path errors. Additionally, the Flight Line Director may signal to the Pilot Line Director and judges that an obstacle has been missed. In this case the pilot must immediately and safely return to the missed obstacle and attempt to successfully navigate it.
  • The default multirotor maximum ceiling height is 50 feet (15.4 m) AGL unless otherwise specified.
  • The default freestyle maximum ceiling height is 100 feet (60m) AGL unless otherwise specified.
  • The default wing maximum ceiling height is 200 feet (60m) AGL unless otherwise specified.

At the discretion of the judge, any breach of the ceiling may result in immediate disqualification from that heat. If the pilot receives two warnings or disqualifying rulings for breaching the ceiling height or out of bounds at any time during the event, the pilot will be completely disqualified from the event.

  • The field staff may use various hand signals in the front of the pilot’s camera to indicate airworthiness status to the pilot. Thumbs Up means the pilot is pre­cleared for flight. Thumbs Down means the craft is damaged and is not able to fly. In all cases if you see field staff in the First Person View pilot camera, you must disarm and wait for further instructions.

 Emergency or Failsafe Procedures

  • Should a pilot lose control of their aircraft, the pilot must attempt a safe landing, fly into a prescribed, crash, ‘catch’ zone net, cut throttle in a safe area or execute a fail­safe procedure in a safe area.
  • If a pilot loses video, they must immediately execute a fail­safe procedure and/or attempt to land the aircraft via Line of Sight. All spotters must assist pilot in determining the location of their aircraft.
  • Spotters must maintain visual line of sight of the corresponding pilot’s airframe at all times and must provide verbal directions or situational awareness details to the pilot. If the aircraft breaches the max ceiling height or goes out of bounds, a judge will indicate to the pilot the infraction and the spotter must immediately assist the pilot in maintaining control and safely landing the aircraft.

 Racing competition structure

It is recommended that the competitions use the following structure, although individual events may elect to use a different structure.

Practice: Pilots may practice at the designated practice fields before the event. Practice runs may be timed and may be used for qualifier seeding.

Qualifiers: Competitions may include one or more rounds of qualifiers, with either seeding or advancement as a result of best single lap time or best complete race time.

Mains: Competitions may include one or more rounds of main heats, with best complete race time, finishing order or a points based system based on finishing order deciding advancement to finals.

Finals: Pilots who advance from the mains compete in finals, with best complete race time, finishing order or a points based system based on finishing order deciding final results.