VIDEO: The Aussie giant racing drone just passed its first flight test

Chris Ballard, CEO of Freedom Drone Sports

The Australian team that wants to create a world series for giant racing drones just passed a major milestone.

Their drone flies:

Drone enthusiasts will understand why that’s a big deal. While current racing drones can hit speeds of 160km/h, they’re also tiny, weighing in at 400-800 grams. That makes them difficult to see, from n spectator’s perspective.

Freedom Class drones will tip the scales at 30kg and measure 1.5m in length. “Essentially”, the team says, “we are creating a whole new class of aircraft”.

The giant drones will also race at speeds of more than 200km/h.

A couple of months ago, the FC team gave their prototype its first hitout on a farm in the middle of Tasmania. It lifted a hay bale, which was impressive:

But in free flight, it blew a couple of Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs).

The team has spent a lot of time since then stress testing and working with ESC manufacturers to build something that could handle the power needed to push a 30kg drone at high speed.

This time around, they got several tests in before the ESC issue raised its head again. But technical director Leonard Hall was more than happy with the result.

“We were able to test some more aggressive roll and pitch commands,” he said.

“As feared yaw was very sloppy, however we were able to make some adjustments and bring the yaw control in line with what I would normally expect from a quad using 10-inch props.

“We were very excited by this as it meant that roll and pitch should be very sharp given the size of the aircraft and exactly what we want for a racing frame.”

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