DDC (DRONESDECARRERAS.COM), is the largest Spanish-speaking community that currently exists of FPV pilots where they train all the new pilots who want to enter this exciting world. In addition, DDC has been organizing events related to the FPV races at the highest level for many years.
Interview with: Jordi Murcia, “Cipo”, Technical Director DDC.
DDC is created at the end of 2014, by the hand of Fernando Abascal and with the help of Herbert Stade and mine. “Fer” saw that there was a lack of information and a meeting point to share our experiences, which made it difficult for new drivers to enter, and decided to create DDC. So, we could say that DDC was born of the passion of a person for this modality and that has managed to transmit his way of thinking to many people, something that has made the national panorama grow in all aspects.
– Who are DDC members?
Currently it is formed mainly by 5 areas: DDC Community, DDC Tech (Daniel Sáez), DDC Racing (Fernando Abascal and Jordi Murcia), DDC Events (Joan Lesán) and DDC Staff (Judges and management of the events in which we participate)
DDC’s main activities are the dissemination of this discipline of racing drones, the training of new drivers, the organization of careers and technological development so that pilots and spectators can enjoy more FPV races. Our motto when organizing events is always “from pilots, to pilots”.
– Inside the “dron” phenomenon .. Why do you think there has been this explosion of racing drones?
Because it is a hobby / sport that exceeds the 2D plane so far known. The pilot’s immersion in the aircraft (FPV), which he has set up with his own hands, provides a virtual dose of adrenaline never seen in other radio control modes.
– As a normal evolution of the boom of drones in general?
The rise of the drones in society has greatly helped the growth of this specialty of the drones. Almost all the technology we used was first developed for recording drones, but for a long time we have created a side of our own and the components we use are more focused on speed, acceleration and response in flight than stability and efficiency as in their brothers greater.
It is clear that the cheapness and ease of access thanks to the internet is an important factor. Now anyone can surf the internet and buy for a small price the components needed to set up a race dron. In addition we believe that we have done a good job from DDC simplifying their learning so that everyone, has the knowledge that has, can put on glasses and start flying.
– In the web of DDC I see that there is an extensive tutorial so that each one can mount its own race. In this sport do you think it is essential that the rider builds his own dron?
We believe that it is one of the bases of this modality if you want to get far. The pilot must also be a mechanic and must possess some level of knowledge of technology applied to the drones. Still, you should not be afraid of it. This technology is available to any user who wants to learn, and should not necessarily have a technical background to successfully develop this hobby. We believe that everyone can learn the basics to succeed in this mode.
Given the speed, the stress to which we submit the different electronic components and the impacts that these drones receive, I would not say that they break easily. The level of control influences, since the more skilled you are, the less you break. Anyway, as we said, the prices of components make it possible to have spare parts very easily so it is not a tragedy when we break something.
– The one who is not willing to learn some minimal notions of electronics and to use the welder …. Not useful for this?
I would not be so drastic. If someone does not want to learn the minimal notions about electronics and soldering, he can always use RTF models (ready to fly), although we do not advise him at all. The day you have a problem you will not be able to solve it by themselves and will cause them to spend more time and money. Pilots who want to immerse themselves in this world are true that they will require a minimum of skill with the welder. But from there … everything is to learn! For example, before going into this world, I had no idea of electronics or soldering, and today, 3 years later, I defend myself well.
– Give us a budget so we can start flying and practice with a racer.
We are talking about 400-500 euros for a complete team. FPV system, batteries, charger and transmitter.
– And now a budget (more or less) annual maintenance of the equipment.
It will be about 200-300 euros per year in multi electronic components. Always depending on the level to which you want to arrive and with which you conform. Each month new components that improve the performance of the previous ones come out. Someone who wants to be always in the latest fashion can get to spend 100-300 euros every month. The limit is the budget of each. The most expensive part of the equipment: charger, transmitter and FPV glasses, is the only thing that stays on the ground with you and does not usually break fortunately.
– What should be the main qualities that a good racing drone pilot should have?
Constancy, reflexes, mental agility, good space-time perception, perseverance and love of speed and new technologies to be always up to date.
– Do the simulators help?
They do help, especially at first. It’s a good starting point if you’ve never ridden a racer. Advanced pilots also use simulators to practice some tricky maneuvers or to train circuit layouts. Of course …. You must always face reality in order to progress. The sensations can seem like but it is not the same to fly in a simulator that to fly in the reality. Therefore not all pilots use the simulator.
– The racing drone pilots seem to have a different spatial conception than other people! Are you within a third dimension? Or fourth, or fifth? Tell us about it … because space-time management of drone pilots is quite particular.
We could say that we fly with our feet on the ground. Our body stays in the same location but our brain is flying along with the dron so many call it a kind of extra body experience. At first it is especially strange to see yourself sitting in a chair or standing while you are flying with the model. The more you fly, the more you control that virtual sensation and it becomes a reality, making the pilot believe that he really is inside the device.
The top drivers should be training almost daily between one and three hours.
– How many racers have you had in your life? How many have you broken or lost?
I currently have 5 racers, of different sizes. From the largest 450mm engine to the smallest 130mm. I lost one 2 years ago and it was my fault. Breaking, I must have broken some 5 or 6 chassis and other components that better not count. I do not have a list of all the components that I have broken after these years.
– Just finished 2016 … A very complete year for DDC. You have organized many events and collaborated in very important competitions throughout Spain. Do you think 2016 has been the year of the drone races?
2016 has been a good year, but 2017 can be even more so. We expect to announce the first DDC League in Spain with 5-6 scoring tests and many other surprises such as the second edition of the MDP (Mollerusa drone Party), the only non-stop FPV 48h concentration worldwide.
– DDC has also made the leap to television. How was the experience?
The experience has been really wonderful. A bit stressful, because we already know that television is “everything for yesterday”, but we are very proud of what we have achieved. The Drone Riders program has been pioneering in Spain and already has 3 Grands Prix disputed and retransmitted by television. And above all means, 9 programs of experiences and dissemination of our modality. We are grateful to have experienced the sensation of being “behind the TV cameras” and thanks to the professionalism and support of Mediapro and BTV we have learned a lot in this regard.
– Do you think that you have contributed to increase the hobby for the drones races?
It is clear that yes. Television is a great platform to reach the public. BTV broadcasts in a local area of the city of Barcelona and surroundings and we have already noticed an increase of the liking for that zone. Both YouTube and the web have gone around the world and received feedback from Germany to Korea, for example. The pilots have liked what we have done and many of them support us to bring our experience to a larger field.
We believe so. We are doing our best to bring our passion to the public. With experiences like Drone Riders, we are getting closer to reaching the US level where it is already a regular sport on the television networks. We are sure that this year 2017 we will surprise you with many innovations in this aspect.
– You who have been in the production of a TV program dedicated to the racer What has been the main difficulty? Get the excitement of the pilots across the screen? Because it is obvious that the pilot feels many things … but how does that emotion transfer to the spectators?
This has been one of the biggest challenges and the goal of Drone Riders, to bring the excitement and passion that we live the drivers in a race to the viewer, and I think it has been achieved to a greater extent. We have encountered several problems, but with the close collaboration between Mediapro and DDC, we have been able to live the emotion in the 3 GPs that have been played to date on TV.
– You know pilots all over the world. Where are the best?
In the US, Europe and Asia are many drivers flying but in Spain we also have a great pilots’ cradle.
– And at what point are the Spanish pilots?
Thanks to the talent of drivers like Javier Verdegay (El Verde FPV), Daniel Pachón “Dani Pacha”, the Lopez brothers “DARC” or Fernando Abascal “Fer DDC” … and I leave many, there is a good pool of pilots in Spain Which has nothing to envy any European country. Unfortunately, the lack of institutional support for our sport and the lack of investment in Spain has relegated us a bit. This year we are sure to see the existing level.
– Since DDC began to organize the first events … to this day … What evolution have you detected? Are you moving from that amateur attitude of game between friends to a really competitive attitude?
The competitive attitude is inherent to our sport. The overall level of piloting has improved considerably in just one year. We have seen how many pilots have moved from a more amateur attitude to a more competitive attitude but without losing the humility and companionship that we believe should always be present. There will always be pikes and there will always be someone who wants to prove that he runs more than another but that has a very easy solution on the track. Another point that has also evolved a lot from the beginning to date is the technological level applied in races. Having raised the level of the drivers and improved a lot in aspects of organization of races (chrono, video, etc …) the competition has become more exciting.
For the last few laps is giving the legislation seems to want to leave our modality as now. Regulated by the rules of the hobby-focused model aircraft, but until the day it is officially announced we can not know exactly what will happen. We know that the RFAE and other European federations are working together with EASA to protect our sport and to continue as before.
– Do you give us some channels of contact with DDC?