2017 Drone Racing League Season have started on June 20th

After what has seemed like a long wait, the Drone Racing League’s (DRL) second season is due to air this evening. Plenty has happened behind the scenes at the company since its immersive action was last on TV. Here’s hoping that all the changes front of house are for the better.

With all the excitement at DRL away from the track, which has included lucrative partnerships with the likes of Amazon and Allianz and big broadcasting deals with ESPN and Sky, it’s now time to focus on the action.

The 2017 DRL season is made up of six races. Featuring original, three-dimensional racecourses, the new season will play out at several iconic venues around the world. 16 of the world’s best drone pilots have been invited to fly DRL’s custom fleet of 600 Racer3 drones.

The season will air as 16 one-hour episodes beginning on ESPN 2 at 8pm EST. It’ll also be broadcast in more than 75 countries around the world on networks including Sky Sports, ProsiebenSat.1 7MAXX, Disney XD and OSN.

“The 2017 DRL season brings the world’s greatest drone pilots to the most incredible race courses ever designed, testing pilot skill and pushing the custom DRL drone, theRacer3, to high speed crashes and split second finishes,” said DRL CEO and Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski.

“Right from the start, this season will capture the imagination of traditional and new race fans around the world.”

DRL Drone racing league season 2

One track that’s survived from the first season is Level 1: Miami Nights. It’ll be the opener, taking place at the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins.

DRL has promised that the 2017 season will progress “to more unique venues, with dramatic vertical lines and new obstacles to test pilots’ skills, and push the limit of the Racer3.”

After Miami, the 2017 season moves on to Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston, and Munich, culminating in the World Championship in London, set in the historic Alexandra Palace. 

IV Sports Schedule in UK:

drl 2017 season uk broadcasting



When it comes to radio transmitter and receiver, acronyms are often used: PWM, PPM, SBUS, DSMX etc. In this post we will explore the differences of these radio signal types.

These radio protocols are confusing to beginners, but often times we don’t need to be bothered to know what they are. Although it’s good to know the basic differences between these radio communication protocols and technologies, so you don’t buy the wrong one. We will also have a look at some of the technology, and see how it makes flying more reliable and safer.

PWM – Pulse Width Modulation

This is the most common and basic radio control protocol. In the old days when there were only RC fixed wings planes, the receivers were used to control the servos or ESC directly with standard PWM signal, one channel for each servo. Until today the same technology is still being used in many models.

Multirotors require at least 4 to 5 channels (sometimes even more) and you will see the same numbers of servo leads connected between the receiver and flight controller.

PWM stands for pulse width modulation. It’s an analog signal where the length of the pulse specifies the servo output or throttle position. The length of the signal pulse normally varies between 1000µs and 2000µs (micro seconds), with 1000µs being the minimum & 2000µs the maximum.

PWM radio receiver is the most common and usually the cheapest option. However due to the messy wiring, hobbyists now prefer PPM or SBUS over PWM.

PPM – Pulse Position Modulation

PPM is also known as CPPM or PPMSUM. The advantage of PPM is that only one signal wire is needed for several channels (typically 8 channels max), instead of a number of individual wires. So you should only connect the ground, power and signal cable.

A PPM signal where basically a series of PWM signals sent one after another on the same wire, but the signal is modulated differently.

PPM is what they call “analog signal in time domain” (although it can be a bit controversial  at times), channels are sent one after another and not at the same time. Therefore it’s not as accurate or jitter free as serial communications, but it’s more widely available and supported by many Flight controllers.

PCM – Pulse Code Modulation

PCM stands for pulse code modulation, it’s a data types similar to PPM. However PCM signal is digital signal (using ones and zeros) while PPM signal is analogue, which is the length of time the signal is on. PCM has the potential of signal error detection even error correction, but this still depends on the product you buy.

PCM is more reliable and less susceptible to interference, but additional conversion is required so the equipment tends to be more expensive.

Serial Protocols

Serial Receiver is a digital loss-less protocol that uses only 3 wires (signal, power, ground) for multiple channels. As the name suggests this type of receiver requires serial port on the flight controller. This includes SBUS, XBUS, MSP, IBUS, and SUMD.

SBUS (S.BUS, Serial BUS) – By Frsky, Futaba

SBUS is a type of serial communication protocols, used by Futaba and FrSky. It supports up to 18 channels using only one signal cable.

SBUS is an inverted UART communication signal. Many flight controllers can read UART input, but cannot accept inverted one (such as the Naze32 Rev5) and an inverted is required. However F3 FC’s and some FC such as Pixhawks has built-in dedicated signal inverter for this purpose.

IBUS – By Flysky

IBUS is the new flysky serial protocol. It’s a two way communication which means it can send and receive data: one port for servo data output and one port for sensors.


XBUS is used by JR, which supports up to 14 channels in one signal wire. One of the advantages is the tiny time delay between each channel.

MSP (multiwii serial protocol)

Protocol that was created as part of the multiwii software. Basically it allows you to use MSP commands as the RC input and it supports 8 channels in one signal cable.

Graupner Hott SUMD

The Graupner SUMD is a serial protocol like Speksat and SBUS. The channels are encoded into one digital signal and have no noticeable latency. Advantages of SUMD are:

  • Compared to SBUS, SUMD doesn’t require signal inverter
  • Compared to PPM, SUMD has better resolution and no jitter while PPM has only 250 steps and always 4ms jitter

Graupner SumH

SUMH is a legacy Graupner protocol. Graupner have issued a firmware updates for many recivers that lets them use SUMD instead.

Spektrum DSM2 and DSMX

DSM2 signal is more resistant to noise, interference and other transmitters transmitting on the same frequency. It also finds a backup frequency at start-up in case the primary frequency fails. This lower the chance of losing signal greatly, however if both channels becomes unusable you may still lose the connection.

DSMX was based on and improved from DSM2, which also uses the same econding scheme. The difference is the DSMX signal is able to switch to a new frequency channel in case of cut out within a couple of milliseconds, so in theory you wouldn’t even notice the glitch.

DSM2 is still a popular technology, if you are away from sources of radio interference (such as WiFi, microwaves, and wireless security cameras), it should work just as well as DSMX. But DSMX is just more reliable.

Spektrum Satellite

A Spektrum Satellite is an additional antenna and receiver circuit that usually gets connected to the “main” receiver to improve link reliability by providing diversity reception.

What Radio Protocol and Reciever Should I use?

First of all, it depends on your radio transmitter. Personally I would prefer PPM or SBUS for multicopter in general because of the simple wiring. However for drone racing and freestyle I would choose SBUS due to it’s minimal lag.




2016 MultiGP Drone Racing Championship

Pictures & Contents from MultiGP.com


The 2016 MultiGP Nats set a new standard in drone racing. A standard governed by this one simple rule, “By Pilots. For Pilots.”

We believe an open invitation combined with structured competition defines a sport. Our 2016 MultiGP Drone Racing Championship was designed to seek out the nation’s top pilots and it delivered.

Participants competed against well-known pilots and undiscovered talent, giving our sport the foundation and platform it needed to develop and showcase it properly. MultiGP is delighted to share with you our ranked pilot lists, stunning snapshots and heart pounding videos of our annual championship. Enjoy pilots…you deserve it.



The 1st Place: Shaun “Nytfury” Taylor


The 2nd Place: Jordan “Jet” Temkin


The 3rd Place: Siddha “SIDFPV” Killaru


The Fastest 52 Pilots in the Nation