By @SimonCocking, delighted to bring you a first interview with Slawomir Zielinski, who came out on top at the inagural Irish FPV (First Person View) drone racing championships last month. FPV racing is growing rapidly and the Irish FPV community have big plans to expand the sport in 2016. Slawomir already has his first sponsor too, Aerial Media.

Congratulations on becoming Ireland’s first FPV champion! When did you take up the sport?

A few years ago I bought my first flight controller called Crius AIO and that’s where everything started. I always wanted to be a pilot and for most of my time I worked with computers. Drones are flying computers so I was able to put my work and my dream together.

For those who don’t know what it is, how would you describe it?

A lot of people have a fascination with flying. This led to people building model planes. Now we have started putting a camera with a video transmitter on the plane and wear a set of goggles that show us what the pilot would see. It’s like driving a fast motorbike in a 3D environment, its amazing.

How big is the Irish FPV community currently? and how many in Dublin, and the rest of the country?

I had already spoken with more than 150 ppl who are flying or are interested. My facebook group has 200 ppl and those numbers are growing fast, it is a sport of the future and I believe that in one year we will have more than 500 fpv pilots in our community, that’s why we started our club, because we want to help people technically and teach them to fly safely.

What drone did you use to win the nationals? What do you like about it?

It was 250mm quadcopter build on zmr  frame with  1 kg of thrust per motor, uhf control system, telemetry and other high tech devices, but there is one thing what I love in that racer, is thing can survive a full speed crash into the ground J believe me, I have checked it.

Why do you think you were successful at Nationals? 

That was great fun to organize and race at this event. I like to fly in  tight places so maybe that’s why I was prepared a little  bit better to win tin the final, it was a very tight technical course. I am not sure exactly why I won, but my friends think that efficiency and cold blood helped me to win it!

What tips would you give to people starting out?

Don’t spend too much money on your first machine but remember if you go to cheap then you will pay twice. Join our facebook group and contact the Irish champion he will help you with pleasure J

What cool things can you do with a drone? 

The best thing that you can do with it is to save ppl lives . But if you have some spare free time then  you can build small, fast carbon crazy copters and you can win  the national competition

Have you owned many?

Right now I have only 3 machines because I live in small apartment and we don’t have any spare room for drone storage. But I have built more than 100 hobby and industrial grade drones.

Is it an expensive sport to do? What would you need if you were starting out and where would you recommend getting it from? 

I would recommend buying a radio transmitter first. You can use this to start to train on a simulator. You can also buy a 30-40 euro toy to teach your brain how to control your machine in a 3d environment.

How fast has the sport developed? 

When I first found a drone with FPV (first-person-view) it took only a year before the first organised competition popped up on the youtube. It is changing very quickly. People are innovating so fast that a standard FPV racer is very different now compared to just 6 months ago, it’s amazing.

What can we expect to see in 2016 and beyond?

FPV equipment is getting smaller and smaller so my guess is that micro FPV quads will become more popular, especially for indoor flying. People also are looking  for  more flying time and range so fixed wings will become more popular in Ireland.

Anything else we should have asked you? / you’d like to add?

I would like to say thanks to my friend Declan who helped me and the sponsors of the competition, Aerial Media and IFly Technology. I am really looking forward to meeting new pilots and developing this great sport in 2016, safe flying to everyone.

To learn more about FPV Ireland see their facebook page here.


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