Sporting Code for FlyFPVSA
Introduction Definitions and Abbreviations
Part 1 – Contest Organisation and Race Rules
- Qualification Stage
- Final stage
- Faults during official flights
- Video Problems
- Model registration and scrutinising
- Practice flight
Part 2 – Contest Officials and Duties
- Contest Director
- Circle Marshal
- Field Marshals
- Contestant Helper
Part 3 – Specifications and Classes for FPV
- Weight and size of the model
- Other equipment
- Number of Models
- Race Classes
Part 4 – National League and Team Selection Pro
1.1 National Championship and
1.2 Regional Events
- League Ranking
2.1 Regional Event Scoring
2.2 National Event Scoring
- National Team Selection
Fixed wing FPV (First Person view) Racing consists of a model aircraft (Fixed Wing, Single Motor) flying together through a closed racing circuit.
The generic term ‘model’ will be used in the present document.
Each model is operated by a FPV pilot who is considered as the competitor. The FPV pilot is assisted by a helper.
The FPV pilot is equipped with a headset goggle (or with a screen) which allows him to pilot his model from the video picture of the on-board camera which is transmitted in real time on headset goggle (or on his screen).
For Race Circuit Design please refer to the FlyFPVSA Track Design
Definitions and abbreviations
Pilot – A member who is in charge of a FPV, who can fly and has achieved the minimum qualifications of Solo. When he switches on his radio transmitter he becomes a Pilot.
SAMAA – South African Model Aircraft Association. It is the Coordinating and Controlling Body for Aero modelling in South Africa. All SAMAA Rules and Regulations are to be incorporated in and enforced at SAMAA registered clubs.
FAI – Federation Aeronautique Internationale. The international sporting body for all competitive aviation activities.
LOS – Line of sight. In direct view of the pilot without the assistance of any mechanical or electronic devices with the exception of glasses or contact menses.
FPV – First Person View.
Member – A fully paid up member of FlyFPVSA and SAMAA.
Rules and Regulations – SAMAA Manual of Operations, FLYFPVSA Rules and Safety Regulations, the Club Rules and Regulations. Club By-Laws (which have been specifically written to accommodate any club or external restrictions or requirements).
Part 1 – Contest Organisation & Race Rules
Contests may be organised as a “Best of Qualifier” format event (timed events only)
A contest is organized on the basis of four stages:
– Practice (See paragraph 7 below)
– Qualification stage (rounds for final stage).
– Final stage.
Each round for the practice, qualification stages are organized into groups of four pilots. Groups of 2 or 3 pilots can be created to make up any additional competitors should the total number of entries not be multiples of four or the number of groups not be even when entering the qualification stage.
In case of reflights or withdrawals after the flight order has been published, the number of pilots in a group can be lower than the number normally requested.
The start of the races is done by the circle marshal. For the rounds which need timekeeping, the time is triggered when the circle marshal or timing system announces the start of the race.
Reflights are flown immediately after the heat or at the end of the qualification round.
- Qualification stage
The number of qualifying rounds will be defined by the organizer according to the available time and number of entries with a minimum of 3 qualifying rounds.
A race is run for each group on a number of circuit laps defined by the organiser with the aim to achieve a heat flight time of between two and two and a half minutes. The minimum recommended number of circuit laps is 3. The number of circuit laps to be done must be announced before the start of the contest.
The result for each competitor corresponds to his registered time to complete the number of circuit laps.
For each qualifying round, the order in each group (for positioning on the start line or on the grid pattern) and the flight order of the groups will be established by the timing system. Pilots must ensure that they start in order of the timing system’s layout (Group Number, Pilot Number)
2. Final stage
Competitors who flew in qualification round and who have achieved a top 4 ranking over their qualification round will compete in (A Final).
To determine the pilots flying in (A Final) the timing system will take 1/3rd of the best heats flown by the pilot. (Example: 9 heats flown, 3 heats will count. In the case where a number of 8 or 7 heats are flown only the best 2 heats will count.)
The number of circuit laps for the final can be increased from what was flown for the eliminatory stage to retain a total race time of approximately two to two and a half minutes. This can be defined by the organizer, taking into consideration the capacity of the batteries to guarantee safe flights.
The organizer can choose to fly a final round consisting of 1 heat only or 3 heats. In the case of 3 heats flown, the best 2 heats times will count.
Competitors who flew in qualification and who have achieved a top 16 ranking will proceed to Quarter finals. Competitors will then fly a minimum of 3 heats where the best 2 of 3 heats will count, the top 8 competitors will then proceed to Semi Finals which will consist of 8 pilots. The competitors will then fly again a minimum of 3 heats where the best 2 of 3 heats will count, the top 4 competitors will then proceed to finals which will consist of 4 competitors. Finals will be flown in the same format as quarter and semi finals to determine the best pilots. A minimum of 3 heats will be flown, the best 2 of 3 heats in this round will determine the ranking of the pilots.
3. Faults during official flights
In case an air gate or an obstacle that should be crossed is not effectively crossed, the pilot must execute a manoeuvre to return and cross the air gate or the obstacle again, turning toward the inside of the course. If during this manoeuvre the pilot has a collision with another model, he will be disqualified from the round. If the competitor does not cross an air gate or an obstacle to be crossed within three attempts, the competitor will be disqualified from the round and will be instructed by the competitor judge to land his model.
In case of a circuit cut (for example during a turn), the competitor must execute, as soon as safely possible, a manoeuvre to return back in the circuit before or where he left the circuit, turning towards the inside of the course. If during this manoeuvre the pilot has a collision with another model, he will be disqualified from the round.
In case of a circuit exit (crossing of the safety line), the competitor is automatically disqualified from the round. A disqualification can also be decided when a serious safety violation has been incurred by the competitor.
Should a model crash, the competitor can go on again if he is in a situation to do so. However, the judge in charge of the competitor or any marshal can request a competitor to stop their flight if they consider the model no longer safe to fly. Should the model be unable to continue flight, it must stay on the ground with motors off until the end of the race.
4. Video Problems
When a pilot has a video problem which leaves him unable to continue his flight, a reflight can only be granted if it is proven that the problem is caused by an identifiable external cause.
In case of a failure of the video system which does not allow the judge to perform his task:
– In a qualifying flight, the flight is cancelled and the competitor is granted a reflight.
– In the final flight, the judge let the flight finish without reporting the problem and does his best to judge and validate the circuit laps. If the competitor wins, the final flight is then re-run.
Apart from the reasons for a reflight mentioned above, a reflight can be granted when a flight cannot be completed in normal conditions due to unexpected causes beyond a competitor’s control.
A reflight can be granted when a model cannot be prepared or when the flight cannot be started in the allotted time limit for safety reasons, or is disrupted by external interference.
If for a reason that is not a competitor’s fault, a competitor has been forced to land on request of an official.
A failure of the model, video system or radio control cannot be considered as reasons for a reflight unless it can be proven that these were caused by external factors beyond the competitors control.
Incidents during races such as collisions between models or with obstacles cannot justify a reflight.
Granting of a reflight is the responsibility of the contest director. A reflight leads automatically to a cancellation of the current flight for which he has been granted a reflight.
Reflight will also be granted should there be a midair between 2 or more pilots prior to the 1st gate or obstacle, once thru the 1st gate or obstacle there will be no reflight due to midair.
Reflight of a heat will also be granted once a gate or obstacle is broken and that gate or obstacle is no longer there or where the gate or obstacle is not flyable. Should no pilot in that heat be required to fly through the gate or obstacle after it has become unflyable, no reflight will be granted as this has no negative outcome on the race results.
No reflight will be granted should a gate be smaller (lower to the ground) or slightly deformed due to wind condition, unless the gate or obstacle becomes unflyable.
6. Model registration and scrutineering
Each competitor can register up to three models per race class. The organizer will mark each registered model with an easily visible identification not falsifiable as much as possible sticker.
During registration, the specifications of the model may be checked by the organizer. Models will then be scrutineered paying particular attention to the following points:
– motorization and propellers;
– fail-safe and associated device to cut off the engines;
– build integrity and general safety of the model
– compliance and RF noise levels of the model’s video transmission system
Random scrutineering of models could be made before or after flights in any round. A competitor whose model is found to be non-compliant may be disqualified from the contest. This decision is the responsibility of the contest director.
7. Practice flights
Practice flights on the racing circuit, other than those authorized by the organizer, are strictly forbidden under threat of being disqualified from the contest.
A practice session will be organized at the beginning of the event. Each competitor will only enter this practice session when he has finished his models registration, processing and scrutineering and the model is deemed safe for flight in the contest.
Official practice will be timed and the best lap time for each competitor used to establish qualifying race groups.
The organiser defines the conditions of the practice session according to the available time and to the number of competitors. They must be announced before the event.
It can be a free practice session organized by groups with an allocated time identical for each group. The allocated time and the number of competitors per group are defined by the organizer.
Each competitor can do as many circuit laps as he wants during the practice time allowed to his group. Once the practice time is over, competitors still in flight can complete their ongoing circuit lap before landing.
In case of a crash, where the model cannot resume flight, the model must stay on the ground with motors off until the end of the practice session, the competitor cannot then request another practice time except if the crash reason cannot be attributed to the competitor.
At the contest organisers discretion a race practice day can be held prior to the event on the track to be flown at the event, provided the practice is communicated and open for all contestants entering the event. Practice time should be fairly and equally available to all contestants wishing to make use of the practice day.
Part 2 – Contest Officials and Duties
1. Contest Director in charge of preparation, organization and oversight of the contest. He especially has to ensure compliance to the applicable rules and safety during the whole contest.
2. Circle Marshal in charge to call competitors for racing, of the respect of models preparation conditions, for checking of the preparation and flight times, for oversight of the models during transfer to the take-off area and to give the start of each flight with an audible device (whistle, foghorn, …).
3. Field Marshals (also Line Judges) assist the Circle Marshal and are responsible for opening and closing the course as well as delivering models to the start line and collection of models from the field following a race heat. Assist the Circle Marshal in ensuring competitors do not cross the safety line, exit the flight area or fly at an excessively high altitude.
4. Judges (one per competitor in flight) In each race, each FPV pilot will be monitored by a judge standing next to, or behind him. The judge will be equipped with a video device allowing him to follow, in real time, the flight of his relevant competitor. The judge must inform the competitor loudly when an air gate or an obstacle is not considered to be crossed, or of a circuit cut or other race line infringements. He will ensure that the competitor returns and crosses the gate or the obstacle correctly, or returns back to the point where the cut occurred. The judge can also pronounce a disqualification if he considers that the competitor flies too high, preventing the judge from adequately seeing the track, gates, flags or obstacles on the track. The judge must request the competitor to immediately land if he considers that the piloting is hazardous or unsafe. This will lead to disqualification of the competitor for the concerned flight.
At the end of the flight, the judge informs the competitor if the flight is considered as valid or if a disqualification has been pronounced, in case of disqualification, the number of circuit laps done at the moment of the disqualification will be mentioned by the judge to the competitor and registered.
The Timekeeper is responsible for race timing and for results accounting.
6. Contestant Helper
Each competitor FPV pilot is assisted by one helper who stays next to him during the whole flight. The primary task of the helper is to keep the model in visual line of sight. The helper must inform the competitor of anything occurring that can perturb his piloting, especially where safety is a concern. If the helper requests the competitor to land or to cut off the motors, the competitor must do so immediately. In case of emergency, the helper is authorized to shut off the transmitter in order to trigger the fail-safe device. The helper may be appointed by the contestant or the contest organiser. It is however not the contest organiser’s responsibility to provide contestant helpers. Helpers can be fellow pilots or any other person, provided they are sufficiently familiar with the FPV racing regulations as well as the operation of the contestant’s equipment to fulfil their duties as listed above.
Part 3 – Specifications and Classes for FPV Fixed Wing Racing Aircraft
Only Fixed Wing Aeroplanes corresponding to the following specifications are allowed.
A 1 % tolerance is applied for inaccuracy of the measurement devices for size, weight and battery voltage.
1. Weight and size of the model
The total weight of the model including all equipment necessary for flight (including batteries) shall not exceed 1 kg. The maximum motor to motor diagonal distance shall not exceed 330mm.
The maximum battery voltage permitted is 25.2v (6s). The voltage measurement is done before the flight.
A maximum fixed tilt angle of 15 degrees to the horizontal (X) axis of the model flight controller is permitted in the Open Class. Only motors moveable in the yaw axis command on tricopters are permitted, all other motors must be fixed.
Maximum propeller diameter permitted is 6 inches (15.2cm). Full metal propellers are forbidden. Any propeller protection device is forbidden.
4. Other equipment
The model must be equipped with a fail-safe device which when triggered stops the motorization.
It is forbidden to use a pre-programmed manoeuvring device. Any system for an automatic positioning and/or path rectification in longitude, latitude or height is forbidden.
Video transmitters equipped with an audio channel, but where the audio channel is unused, must have the audio channel grounded to eliminate excessive noise across the video frequency spectrum. Any RF equipment found to be transmitting or causing excessive noise across frequencies other than the selected frequency of said equipment, could lead to disqualification of the model from the contest.
All control equipment must be in the 2.4 spread spectrum band. All video equipment must be in the 5.8GHz “free band”.
Any competitor using a forbidden frequency shall be disqualified from the contest.
6. Number of Models
Each competitor can register and use a maximum of 3 models per class for the entire contest. The competitor can change his model:
– before the start of a race as long he hasn’t left the preparation area,
– or between two rounds of the qualification stage and eliminatory stages.
7. Race Classes
7.1 Sport Class
The sport class is the entry point to racing and is intended for beginner pilots just starting out in racing. This is intended as a non-intimidating entry point to racing where pilots can compete with other pilots of similar skill level. Once a pilot has achieved three podium finishes (1st, 2nd or 3rd) at events with 5 or more other pilots competing in this class they will be moved to the next higher class.
7.2 Open Class
The Open Class is the main race class and is run in line with the FAI F9U (F3FPV) regulations. This is the class used for team selection as well as the only class that will be contested at Regional and National level.
Part 4 –Events, Ranking and Team Selection Process
1.1. National Event and Race Season
The race season will end with the National Championship event to be held in the second quarter of the year. A race season will consist of a minimum of 5 Regional and one national championship event.
1.2. Regional Events
Regional events will be held at least in three major regions which are Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal. Additional events may be held in other regions. Regional events must have a minimum of 5 competitors posting a result for competitors to be eligible for National ranking. Results from the regional events must be forwarded to the FlyFPVSA Committee within 7 days of the event for competitor ranking.
2.1. Regional Event Scoring
A contestant’s best three regional event scores for the race season shall be credited towards their national ranking. Where a competitor competes in multiple classes in the same event, only the highest points earned in a single class will be accredited to those competitors’ National Ranking. Should a regional event have entries from other regions, additional finals races should be held to ensure the top 12 local pilots can be determined from the results. Should this be impossible due to time, weather or other constraints the qualifying round results can be used to seed pilots. In the event of a tie both pilots should be awarded the same points for the tied position, this situation should however be avoided if at all possible. Competitors will be awarded points at regional events according to final positions as follows:
2.2. National Event scoring
A contestant’s best three regional and single national event scores shall be credited towards their national ranking, regardless of how many accredited regional and national events are flown. Participation in the National Championship event at the end of the season is compulsory for team selection consideration. In case of a points tie the competitor with the highest total accumulated points for all events flown will be selected as the higher ranked competitor. Competitors will be awarded points at national events according to final positions as follows:
3. National Team Selection
The National Fixed Wing FPV Team will be selected from the highest scoring competitors by combining their best three regional results with points scored in the Open Class National event. In the event that a competitor cannot compete in a World Championship event the next lower competitor may be selected to compete in their place.