MultiRotor Sporting Code for FlyFPVSA

Erratum – when ambiguity presents itself, the FAI F9U Sporting Code can be referenced to assist with clarification. Revised in accordance with the FAI rules updated May 2023


Definitions and Abbreviations

Part 1 – Contest Organisation and Race Rules

1.1. Qualification Stage

1.2. Final stage

1.2.1 Regional Events

1.2.2 National Championship

1.3. Faults during official flights

1.4. Video Problems

1.5. Reflight

1.6. Model registration and scrutinising

1.7. Practice flight

Part 2 – Contest Officials and Duties

2.1 Contest Director

2.2 Circle Marshal (Starter)

2.3 Field Marshals

2.4 Judges

2.5 Timekeeper

2.6 Contestant Helper

Part 3 – Specifications and Classes for FPV

3.1 Weight and size of the model

3.2 Motorization

3.3 Propellers

3.4 Other equipment

3.5 Frequencies

3.6 Video System

3.7 LED’s

3.8 Number of Models

3.9 Race Classes

Part 4 – National League and Team Selection Procedure

4.1. Events

4.1.1 National Championship

4.1.2 Regional Events

4.1.3 Interruption of Events

4.2. League Ranking

4.2.1 Regional Event Scoring

4.2.2 Masters Events  & scoring 

4.2.3 National Event Scoring

4.3. National Team Selection


Multi-rotor FPV (First Person view) Racing consists of several multi-rotor model aircraft flying together through a closed racing circuit.

Note: A multi-rotor is a rotary wing radio-controlled model aircraft equipped with at least three power driven propeller devices.

The generic term ‘model’ will be used in this document.

Each model is operated by an 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).

Definitions and abbreviations

Pilot – A member who is in charge of an FPV model, who can fly and has achieved the minimum SAMAA proficiency of Solo. When he switches on his radio transmitter, he becomes a Pilot.

SAMAA – South African Model Aircraft Association. SAMAA is a registered ARO (Aviation Recreation Organisation) in terms of part 149 of the Civil Aviation Act and is a 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 lenses.

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).

Track –The minimum length of a track, from start line to end line, including all laps to be completed, may not be less than 250m. This length is taken in the optimal 3D flight


For Race Circuit Design please refer to the FAI Sporting Code, Section 4C Annex C1  F9U

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 three stages:

– Practice

– Qualification stage (elimination rounds for final stage).

– Final stage.

Each round for the practice and qualification stages are organized into groups of four or six pilots. Four is preferable to minimise video issues. Groups of 3 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 (starter). For the rounds which need timekeeping, the time is triggered when the starter or timing system announces the start of the race.

Reflights are flown immediately after the heat or at the end of the qualification round.

1.1 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. 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)

1.2 Final stage

1.2.1. Regional Events

Competitors who flew in the qualification round and who have achieved a top 4 ranking over their qualification round will compete in (A Final). Competitors who place 5 – 8 will fly the B final. Time permitting, the option exists to fly all pilots in finals according to the ranking i.e, pilots 9 – 13 fly C Final etc.

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 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.

1.2.2. National Championships

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.

1.3 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.  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. 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.

Options for DQ

False Starts – if pilot has gained a clear advantage.

Crossing the flight area boundary.

Celebratory manoeuvres on completion of the race prior or landing.

A judge may also dq a pilot if the pilot flies in a hazardous manner or safety is compromised. When dq’d a pilot must land as soon as he has been informed of the dq.

1.4. 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.

1.5 Reflight

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 allowed 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.

It is desirable to stop the race as soon as possible once an incident occurs that may justify a reflight. The restart will only concern the pilot who has been granted a reflight and the pilots who were still in the air when the stop of the race has been announced.

Finals only: In the case where the race has not been stopped and that subsequently a reflight is granted, a new race will be organized. This new race will include only the pilot who has been granted a reflight and the pilots who have finished the original race. Instead of participating in the new race, a pilot may choose to keep the time he got in the original race; in that situation, his(her) placing will be considered by comparing his(her) time in the original race against the new times of the pilots who participate in the new race.

1.6 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 easily falsifiable mark such as a 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:

  – weight and size.

– 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.

1.7 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 model’s registration, processing and scrutineering and the model is deemed safe for flight in the contest. 

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

According to the event standing and the number of competitors, some official tasks may be assumed by the same person.

2.1 Contest Director – in charge of preparation, organization, and oversight of the contest. The contest director must ensure compliance to the applicable rules and safety during the whole event.

2.2 Race director – in charge of preparation, organisation and oversight of the races. In many instances the contest director and race director will be the same person. The race director has responsibility to ensure compliance with the applicable rules and safety during the whole race.

The race marshal/organiser is responsible for allocating a pilot area at his/her discretion based on safety and facilities available.

2.3 Starter 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, …). The starter may be assisted by another official in charge to call pilots for racing, do preflight checking, etc The starter may be the race director.

No modifications will be allowed during a race heat to the pilots equipment which includes FPV equipment, transmitters and batteries unless authorised by the race marshal/organiser

2.4 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.

Note: It is acceptable to consider for judging the pilots of the next race instead dedicated judges. In that situation, the organizer must inform the competitors at least one month before the event.

2.5 Timekeeper / Official

The Timekeeper is responsible for race timing and for results accounting. Official responsible for score sheets gathering and/or for results accounting.

2.6 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.

No helpers may enter the pilot area during a heat unless previously authorized such as a spotter, coach or race marshal/organiser.


Part 3 – Specifications and Classes for FPV Multirotor Racing Aircraft

Only multirotors corresponding to the following specifications are allowed:

3.1 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 motordiagonal distance shall not exceed 330mm.

3.2 Motorization

The maximum battery voltage permitted is 25.5v (6s). The voltage measurement isdone before the flight. (17v for 4s ie 4.25 volts per cell)

3.3 Propellers

Maximum propeller diameter permitted is 6 inches (15.2cm). Full metal propellers are forbidden.

3.4 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.

Note: Software recovery modes such as ‘anti Turtle’ or ‘anti crash’ and automatic system or which can be activated by the pilot in order to level back the model after a crash are permitted.

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.

3.5 Frequencies

All control equipment must be in the 2.4 GHz 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.

The output power of 868 MHz RC modules must be settled to 100 mW maximum or a lower output that fulfils local regulations.

3.6 Video System

A digital video recorder (DVR) is strongly recommended in order to permit to review races as necessary in case of doubt or complaint.

In order to limit risk of potential problems during the races with unwanted emission, the organizer may define restrictions for use of video transmitters outside the racing circuit.

The event organiser may define the video system to be used as well as the list of authorised vtx’s for an event provided this is done no later than one month prior or the event.

Analog and digital video devices operated on 5.8 GHZ band may be used for piloting.

All analog and digital video transmitters:

– must be set to 25 mW maximum output power emission. In addition, the digital video device must be set to 25 Mbps maximum.

– cannot have no more than 30mhz bandwidth and must be centred on the video raceband.

The video frequency channels which will be used are: 5658, 5695, 5732, 5769, 5769, 5806, 5843, 5880, 5917.

In addition, the video receivers will not be authorised to broadcast an additional signal considering this may cause interferences on the analogue video receivers.

3.7 LED’s

The contest organiser may insist on LED’s for the National Competition.

3.8. 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 has not left the preparation area,

– or between two rounds of the qualification stage and eliminatory stages.

Before the race, the competitor can change the model in the preparation area. Any technical problem after leaving the preparation area will be considered a race incident with no more possibility to change the model.

3.9. Race Classes

3.9.1 Novice Class

This class is the entry point to racing and is intended for beginner pilots.

This is a fun fly class and there is no requirement for timing or podium places. A pilot may move up to open class as soon as he feels confident enough to do so and is competent on the race track.

3.9.2 Sport Class (this class is no longer valid for the 2023 / 2024 season)

The sport class is for pilots who feel confident racing the same track / flight line as the open class. Sports Class is a competitive class and podium places will be awarded. The Sports Class also competes on a National League leader board and can be contested at Nationals if sufficient entries are received.

3.9.3 Open Class

The Open Class is the main race class and is run in line with the FAI F9U(F3FPV) regulations. To compete in open class a pilot should ideally also have their SAMAA solo proficiency. This is the class used for team selection. 

3.9.4 Spec Class – sub 200g

This is an alternative class not relevant to the national leaderboard but flying under the overall F9U sporting code.

Class spec is multirotor all up weight including battery must be no more than 200g. Prop size maximum 3”and battery size capped at 3s.

A pilot may use a spec class multirotor in any F9U race class but the spec class is limited to the spec.

Part 4 –Events, Ranking and Team Selection Process

4.1  Events

4.1.1. National Event and Race Season

The race season will end with the SAMAA National Championship event to be held in the second quarter of the year. A race season will consist of a minimum of 6 Regional and one national championship event.

4.1.2. Regional Events

Regional events should be held at least in three major regions which are Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu 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.

4.1.3 Interruption of the Event

The event should be interrupted, or the start delayed by the event director in the following circumstances:

– Wind continuously stronger than 9 m/s measured at 2 m above the ground near the preparation area for at least one (1) minute.  (32km/h)

– Due to atmospheric conditions (rain, stormy condition) in which it would be dangerous to continue to fly.

– Other exceptional circumstances such as for example incident affecting safety or requiring access for emergency services. When an interruption occurs during an official flight, this flight is cancelled. If the event cannot go on, the final ranking will be the last available provisional ranking.

4.2. Ranking

4.2.1. Regional Event Scoring

A contestant’s best three regional event scores for the race season will be credited towards their national ranking. 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:

Position Points

1st 32

2nd 25

3rd 20

4th 16

5th 14

6th 12

7th 10

8th 8

9th 6

10th 4

11th 2

12th 1

A visiting pilot (pilot from another region) earns the points he scores at any regional event irrespective of his home region.

4.2.2. Masters Event

One or more Masters events can be included in the season at the committee’s discretion. A Masters event should not be held in the same province as the SAMAA Nationals. Ideally this event will follow the FAI format and attract FAI Category two status which will include International Pilots in attendance. Points scoring for masters will be 75% of Nationals and will be added to the season score.

A pilot may substitute one regional result with a pro rata Masters result for his National leader board score. A pilot needs to make this request to the committee in writing at least one month prior to the SAMAA Nationals. The change will be communicated with the updated publication of the leaderboard. As an example, Pilot X has placed 4th, 5th and 3rd in his best regional results but has placed 2nd at a Masters event. He may request that his 5th place on the leatherboard is replaced with his second place result at the same points value as a regional second place. 

4.2.3. 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:

Position Points

1st 64

2nd 50

3rd 40

4th 32

5th 28

6th 24

7th 20

8th 16

9th 12

10th 8

11th 4

12th 2

4.3 National Team Selection

The National F9U (F3FPV) Team will be selected from the highest scoring competitors by combining their best three regional results (or substituted Masters event) with points scored in the Open Class National event.

If a competitor cannot compete in a World Championship event the next lower competitor may be selected to compete in their place. This is done in accordance with SAMAA’s policy and may not extend below the pilot that finished 5th (6th?) on the National leaderboard. It is the responsibility of the committee to field the best team possible.

(A full team comprises at least one junior, at least one female and three senior or other pilots. i.e. there may be more than one junior or more than one female if they occupy rankings 1 – 6 on the leaderboard.)