Pilot Justin Kelly has experienced close calls, nail-biting recoveries, and even crashes – all without his feet ever leaving the ground. Want to join him? Come enjoy the FPV drones of the Flying Flea Circus at the East Bay Mini-Maker Faire.
In the world of First Person View drone racing, pilots don virtual reality headsets to see through cameras on the tiny drones. The footage gives the feel of being in the cockpit, even as the drones bank and dive through obstacle courses scaled to their size. The sport has become popular enough to include sponsorship of top pilots like Justin, for contests that attract worldwide talent. A competition in London earlier this year drew entrants from more than 30 countries, vying for a top prize of $200,000.
FPV flying links closely to the maker movement because successful piloting begins long before a launch. Many pilots build their own drones, and even off-the-shelf models have to be adjusted and customized to their tasks. Justin has outfitted some of his with infra-red arrays so they can be flown in darkness, an improvement over simply mounting them with a light. “Infrared travels farther and takes less power to generate,” he explains, making it ideal for small craft. Modifications to existing drones prepare them for new environments, tasks, or obstacles in a particular race.
At the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, Justin will be offering the Flying Flea Circus: an obstacle course navigated by FPV drones. Beyond showing what drones – and pilots – can do, the Flying Flea Circus aims to encourage amateur pilots to learn how to operate a drone safely, to build flying skills, and to improve reaction times through racing.
You can do all that in a safe outdoor flight zone established by the Flying Flea Circus, featuring a DIY Obstacle Course, Head-to-Head Races, and Professional Demos. Bring your own drone if you have one, or just come to experience the world of FPV flight.
Read more about Justin Kelly and the Flying Flea Circus at the EB Mini-Maker Faire here.