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Swiss Drone Nationals – My experience

Hey Guys!

Midflight!

Midflight!

So, the swiss drone nationals just happened. It was an amazing three day event! Thank you Yann Oeffner so much for organizing this event – I had a heck of a time and I am sure that a lot of people enjoyed it just as much as I did. I met a lot of new people, talked about so many topics, shared information, new insights everywhere!

My friend Highflyer, my girlfriend and I took an Airbnb close to the location so we were fresh every morning. This is by the way my first time using Airbnb and I can totally recommend it! It is so much cheaper than a hotel and if you lay over for an event like this it pushes your overall costs down!

Day 1

We arrived at our Airbnb house the day before, so we had a good amount of sleep and are ready to tackle the first day. It was more of a relaxed schedule as it had mostly briefing and just practice rounds. As this was a Friday, not all attendants were able to be here yet, which is why the second briefing/practice was on Saturday morning. All pilots already registered, briefed and with two practice rounds were able to sleep longer on Saturday!

Registration Complete!

Registration Complete!

So, our first tasks were registering, receiving the VTX that we have to use and last but not least, the quad security check. Once all this is done, the briefing started.

Briefing was quick, nothing hard. We walked the racetrack. It was an amazing track – enough obstacles for it to stop you from speeding through it but still open enough to build up enough speed for it to be a fast paced action track!

Every pilot receives two practice rounds to see and  check  the racetrack.

The ImmersionRC Tramp HV + TnR (Touch n Race)

This is the new video transmitter made by ImmersionRC. Here is a link to the product page. All the registered pilots received one of those because they make race organisation so, so much easier! We all received a notice weeks earlier to prepare for this VTX. Doing so, once I received it it was just plug and play. Part of the VTX is sort of a NFC tag that can be written and read. Read by the VTX and written by the Race Directors configuration device.

Now, what makes this great? On a big event with over 100 pilots like the swiss drone nationals, we were able to reduce the between heat time ( Time between races ) drastically. No one had to fiddle with any VTX settings. Everything was set and configured by the race staff. If you power cycle the VTX once, it loses the set configuration from the race staff and goes into a so called Pit Mode. Meaning, after the race, you are in Pit Mode and can go back to your place without worrying of disturbing other pilots. Pit Mode reduces the output power to a very, very low amount – you have signal for about 1-2 meters!

Once the event is over, you can unlock from the event mode and have a normal VTX! Soon, you can get a personal VTX configurator and have the same cool features when you go out with your friend. No more button pressing and fiddling with your build! Of course, you still can change all settings (Channel, Band and Power Output) with a button and LED system.

By the way, I’ve never flown so clean with so many other pilots at the same time ( Each race had 6 pilots! ).

Day 2

This was the first day with tension! On schedule for us was the qualifiers and the team race ( Go Dogflyers =D ).
We arrived with a good nights of sleep but still, my nervousness was rising. So far, I had no crash and was able to finish all practice rounds clean, though not on the faster paste. My strategy for the qualifiers – and I am sure for many other – is get a decent time but get it for sure, at least for the first qualifier round.

My first round went smooth and thus I prepared to go faster for my second qualifier. A portion of my nervousness has faded as I have a qualifier for sure so I can concentrate for my second round. I increased the camera angle on my racing machine to match what I had in mind. The second round was a success as well. I was able to push my time further – I was qualified for Sundays finale event.

The Team Race

It was getting darker already but this wasn’t able to stop the good mood and the race! The race directors were able to keep to mood very good so this event was this happening!

I was a pilot in team Dogflyers (woooh!). We had three pilots that flew on the event and together we had to clear the track. 24 rounds without crashing was the goal. Pilots had to rotate between each LiPo. Though, the actual challenge now was the dark! Team Race is so much fun, a lot of stuff is happening and the pit stop changes need to be done quickly. Working as a very good team, Highflyer, Grizzly and I made it to 3rd. place in the team race!

Congratulations on the Backstreetpilots / Coptermonkey.ch for winning the team race! It was a very good idea to use a Runcam Owl!

The Last Day

Getting Ready and Concentrate

Getting Ready and Concentrate

Today was the day! In the morning, Freestyle as a start and the K.O. Finals after.

From the original +100 Pilots, only 48 are remaining. The tension is getting greater and visits to the toilet got more frequent ( Heh. ). We can already be very proud to be the front runners of Switzerland!

Let’s see what the freestyle was all about!

The Freestyle competition

Each pilot is given 3 minutes to show his freestyle, choosing a song of his liking. I studied a song and stuck with it for a long time so I can time my flight with it – remember that his is also a category that gives points!

I have to say though, my nervousness was way higher than at the race. Certainly it’s because over +100 pilots are watching plus all the visitors! Next to that, instead of being one of six pilots, you are alone.

I decided to do my freestyle while standing. It feels more true to what I do in my free time, not bound to a chair, somewhere in the nature and starting the quad. I have a recording ( DVR ) of my freestyle run and I added the song I used during the competition for you to have an idea of what I thought.

Needless to say, my choreography and repertoire was strongly affected by my jello jitter legs and fingers from all the people looking at me :D. I didn’t win but it was still one heck of a fun run! Congratulations to my friend Lord Byron for winning the Freestyle Competition!

The K.O. Finals

This is it. 48 pilots flying head to head in a K.O. race! Each race has 6 pilots and only 3 pilots can continue in the next round. In short, the 48 will be 24 in quarter finals, 12 in the semi finals and then 6 in the small and big final!

I made it to the semi finals where I crashed at a flag post in the first round. I the end, I competed in the small final. I made it to the second place, right after VINCBEE!

This is my quarter final run, the one I like the most! I had a small image breakup but the issue was quickly cleared with the help of the FAI judges. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

Final thoughts

This has been one of the most amazing weekends I’ve experienced! I am ranked 8th Place in the whole tournament and 4th of Switzerland (Not counting foreign pilots) of over 100 pilots. I still can’t really believe this! I have qualified for the ERSA Euro cup in Ibiza and the Drone worlds in Hawaii! I can’t wait to meet all the people around the world – I am really looking forward to have fun and race together! =)

Acknowledgments to people

First and foremost I wanted to thank my girlfriend for staying with me through all of the event. The encouragement helped me so much to keep me calm during all of the races!

I want to thank all of my team Dogflyers, Highflyer, Grizzly, Beat, Simi! We were the most visible  and fun people on the place with our shirts! :D

Thank you Dario and Ivo for offering us to stay and work under your pavilion, you guys are amazing to hang out with and I will most definitely buy the new Xnova motors! :P

Thank you Yann, Daniel and Marin, all the FAI judges and Nigel for being an amazing race staff and director!

And last but not least, I want to thank all the pilots for this amazing event. I hope to see many of you again in future races and events. You guys are amazing and it’s thanks to you that this has happened!


Thanks for reading so far! My adventure will continue with the FPV Extreme Masters in Germany! This will be my first time going international. Other than that, see you soon and have fun!

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