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FPV Racing Gates & Flags
Stepping up our FPV racing world
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
On board video by Clark Ponthier
Posted – 12-8-2015
The FPV folks in our RC club found out early on that making gates that are easily visible and non-lethal to the quads at the same time isn’t as easy as you might think. One of our club members invested a considerable amount of money and effort in producing gates made of PVC plastic tubing covered with segments of colored pool noodles. Aiming my Spedix S250 Quadcopter through those gates was challenging to be sure but what surprised me even more was how those colored pool noodle segments could blend in with the fall foliage at our field when viewed through my FatShark DominatorV2 FPV “Goggles”.
While organizing our clubs first FPV gathering that same club member bought some commercially made gates that when combined with his homemade versions allowed him to lay out a few courses on our field. Being able to fly through the commercial gates and the homemade versions on the same day demonstrated that there was something to the commercial designs.
Clark, another member of our club bought the gates and flags in this review from GetFPV.com. The primary job of these gates and flags was for a quick course setup for casual weekend flying/racing. In addition to refining the skills needed to fly through, not around the gates was one thing but we also learned more about the visibility and durability of the gates and flags.
Lumenier Race Gates (small)
The premium Lumenier race gate was designed for FPV racing with generally small aircraft like the 250 class quads that are so popular today. These gate kits include tough but flexible fiberglass poles that connect to thoughtfully designed chrome plated steel base stakes. The stake has a separate “pounding” surface for driving it into the ground without damaging the smooth turning ball bearing posts which the fiberglass poles are attached. These stakes might be overbuilt but for people who intend to use them with any kind of regularity this heavy duty design means many years of trouble-free racing.
The Lumenier Race Gate kit comes with the four section fiberglass poles. Using the four segment design makes transportation and storage of the gates simple. You also get the 4.5' x 5' (gate area) Lumenier-branded race gate banner along with a pair of the heavy-duty base stakes. These base stakes have a dedicated driving pin that lets you hammer them into place without damaging the bearing-equipped mount for the banner poles.
The instructions recommend that the mounting stakes be driven in vertically and be spaced about 4.5' apart. We found that you can alter that spacing somewhat to produce slightly wider gates. The modular design makes setting up and tearing down the Lumenier Race Gates fast and easy.
The Lumenier Race Gates have a street price of $69.99 each. (12-8-2015) GetFPV.com offers quantity discounts of 2 for $59.99 each (save 15%) and 5 for $54.99 each (save 22%). I know this is not cheap but neither is the construction. The super rugged design of the mounting stakes is a key to the long term usability of the Lumenier Race Gates.
Since getting the Lumenier Race Gates they have been “tested” by quad FPV pilots that grew bold and whacked the sides of the gates at speed. So far we have not found any damage. We do expect to find cuts in the fabric at some point as racing speeds climb but to date that fabric is proving to be very tough as well.
GetFPV Race Flag
The GetFPV Race Flags are 13-feet tall and the banner 2-feet wide. These flags are great for marking high-speed turns for everything from FPV racing quads to airplanes. The size and coloring of the GetFPV Race Flag mean they are highly visible in nearly any environment we can think of this side of darkness.
The GetFPV Race Flag comes with a tough, sectional aluminum flag pole with a fiberglass whip top piece that lets the flag wave while holding its shape. Making the pole sectional means transporting even a bunch of flags is simple. You also get a rugged steel stake that is similar to the ones included with the Lumenier Race Gates. The GetFPV Race Flag also has a durable hammering post to prevent damage to the bearing-equipped mounted post for the flag pole. The bearing mount allows the flag to rotate freely so that it always points into the wind which can be a great help to pilots. The GetFPV Race Flag comes with a carry bag that keeps everything together and protected from damage.
The flag itself is made from light weight, UV resistant fabric to keep it looking good for a long time. The overall size and color of the GetFPV Race Flag make it easily visible in nearly any environment. We tested the performance of the GetFPV Race Flag on a day 15 to 20 mph winds and the flag stayed upright all day.
The GetFPV Race Flag has a street price of $49.99 (12-8-2015) each. Like the Lumenier Race Gates you can save money with quantity buys at GetFPV.com. You can get 2 GetFPV Race Flags for $44.99 each (save 11%) of get 5 flags for $39.99 each. (save 21%) However you do it the GetFPV Race Flags are a great thing to have for FPV or other forms of RC aircraft racing.
In the Field
After using the GetFPV Race Flags and Lumenier Race Gates their visibility from a fast moving FPV quad racer makes getting lined up and flying through the gates and around the flags much easier. As even our best pilots have found out, go fast enough and there will be contact with these gates and flags. Despite having quads flat-spinning at speed after striking the obstacle we have yet to find any damage to the gates or flags. Because we are talking about RC pilots here we know that someone will figure out how to inflict some level of damage but so far the Lumenier Race Gates and GetFPV Race Flags are proving to be very tough yet surprisingly gentle on errant flying machines as well.
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