A recent discussion in one of our regional chapters Facebook groups covered the concept of course design, with many people voicing strong opinions on the topic. As such I thought I’d take the time to write my thoughts on the issue down.
The following general principles of course design list the criteria, responsibilities and restrictions governing course designers as the architects of the sport of drone racing.
Safety – Courses must be designed, constructed and conducted with due consideration to safety.
Quality – The value of an event is determined by the quality of the challenge presented in the course design. Courses must be designed primarily to test a competitor’s piloting skills, and not their ability to purchase equipment.
Balance – Technical flying and Speed. A properly balanced course will require accurate technical flying in some portions and the ability to fly at wide open throttle in others. Courses must be designed, and races must be conducted in such a way, as to evaluate these elements equally.
Diversity – Course challenges are diverse. While elements will repeat it is important to present them in different ways to keep your events fresh.
Freestyle – Courses should be flown freestyle. Competitors must be permitted to solve the challenge presented in a freestyle manner, and not have to execute specific moves at specific times. However, conditions may be created, and barriers or other physical limitations may be constructed, to compel a competitor into the course designer’s intentions. Gates may require traversing in a specific direction and flags to a specific side (or even defined as a 270.)
Difficulty – Courses should present varied degrees of difficulty. An ideal course layout allows an advanced pilot to take a more challenging line for a faster time, while a novice pilot can take a less challenging line at the expense of speed.