Cycle Times are the key to a smooth running event. When people come to a drone race they want to see drones racing, or be drones racing. No one comes to watch you run the event. It’s important to keep a few things in mind when designing your event, but the “why” comes down to Cycle Times.
Assuming you are running a Most Laps, 2 Minute + Finish your lap format, a well run event will have an average cycle time of 6 minutes.
- 2 minute most laps format.
- 20 second fastest lap (pro level pilot)
- Course designed to fit football field (100ft wide, 300feet long max)
- 50ft pilot safety setback
- Average walking speed 4.5ft/s. Rounding to 5 for easier musing.
Actual Race = 155 seconds
- 10 second countdown (goggles down/thumbs up… confirm… less than 5… horn!)
- 120 seconds race
- 20 seconds finish race
- 5 seconds announce it’s safe to retrieve/stage.
Pilot Setup = 40 seconds
- 100ft walking, this is 50ft to stage craft, 50ft back to pilot area (20 seconds)
- 10 seconds plug in/exit pit mode/verify video/sacrifice chicken/start gopro
- 10 seconds goggles down/thumbs up/transmitter ready
Retrieval = 20-170 seconds
- walking to retrieve quad and back
Retrieval and Pilot Setup run concurrently.
So in the end…
The fastest possible cycle times are 195 seconds (3:15), and the worst assuming nothing goes extra-wrong are 325 seconds (5:25)…
This definitely lends its self to the “taskmaster” approach of making pilots ready soon as as possible. Because a single treed or lost quad can delay everything significantly.
It also shows the importance of course design. If you are going to have a technical obstacle likely to cause crashes, put it close to the pilots. The far end of your course should be about how fast they can cover it, less risky components.