The DCL rules, technical regulations and race format are designed to serve both participants and fans – delivering high team presence and enabling elevated strategy, energy and excitement. Let’s take a look at the Race Rules:
The 10 key race rules that no pilot can afford to forget:
The heat is won by the first copter that passes the DCL Finish Gate. The pilots will be ranked by the order of arrival of their copters.
1. Early start
Pilots must wait for the Green Light before taking off. If a copter takes off before the signal, its pilot will be issued a red penalty card.
2. Missed gate or obstacle
Pilots must fly through the track and pass each Air Gate in the correct order. An Air Gate is considered passed when the copter completely crosses the inside of the Air Gate, in the correct direction. In addition to Air Gates, the racetrack may contain obstacles or single gates that have to be crossed or avoided, such as tunnels, trees, banners, etc.
If a gate is missed, the pilot must go back and fly through it before progressing to the next gate. A pilot who continues to progress through the track after missing a gate will be issued a red penalty card.
In the case of a crash, pilots must assess their own copter’s position and status to the best of their ability. If they think they can continue racing safely, they are allowed to do so. If all copters crash, the pilot who piloted his/her copter farthest will take the point.
4. Collision with other copters
Midair collisions with other copters are not penalised unless they are deemed to be intentional.
Reckless or unsafe behavior is never tolerated and will be severely sanctioned by the Chief Judge and/or Race Director, who will decide whether to issue a yellow, red or blue penalty card.
Pilots must not fly above 5 meters from the ground; if they do, they will receive a penalty card from the Chief Judge or Race Director, who will decide whether to issue a yellow, red or blue penalty card based on the severity of the infraction.
It is strictly forbidden for any team member (on stage or otherwise) to touch or disturb a competitor or a competitor’s equipment while the competitor is flying. If this happens, the offending team will be assigned a penalty card by the Chief Judge or Race Director.
If a Team Captain or Team Manager representing the team feels that a rule has been broken, or that DCL Officers did not apply the rules correctly, he/she can issue a formal protest with the Chief Judge or Race Director. If the protest relates to the current heat, the Team Captain or Team Manager must immediately signal the Chief Judge. Once the teams are dismissed from the stage, the current heat is considered finished and settled, and it is not possible to issue any further protests related to that heat. If a protest is deemed valid, the team will get a rerun.
DCL Officers will not grant a rerun if mathematically it could not alter the result of the current round. The most common reason for granting a rerun is FPV video issues. A rerun could also be granted if two or more gates are down in the track.
9. Card explanation
The Race Director and the Chief Judge can issue cards for breaking the rules:
• Yellow card (a warning: two yellow cards results in a red card)
• Red card (disqualification from the current heat: two red cards results in a blue card)
• Blue card (expulsion from the race weekend)
10. Technical issue
If a drone does not start on the starting grid due to a technical problem, or the LEDs do not work, the pilot has one spare drone to use. If this drone doesn’t work, the pilot receives a red card.
LISTEN UP: KEY WORDS FROM THE CHIEF JUDGE
“CUT CUT CUT” – The Chief Judge usually calls this order in case of a safety risk: all pilots that hear this command directed to them must disarm their copter immediately to stop the motors, regardless of their altitude or position on the track. Pilots must not re-arm their copters until specifically instructed to do so by DCL Officers.
“LAND LAND LAND” – All pilots who hear this command directed to them must immediately find the closest appropriate spot and perform a safe landing manoeuvre. Once the copter is on the ground and not moving, the pilot must disarm the copter, stopping its motors, and wait for further instructions.
“FINISH GATE” – The Chief Judge usually calls this command when only one copter is left racing because the opposing copter was not able to continue racing within 5 seconds of a crash. The pilot must finish the current lap and fly safely to the DCL Finish Gate. It is not necessary to navigate all remaining gates (the heat is considered finished).
Failure to promptly comply with the directions of the Chief Judge is considered a severe infraction: both the pilot and team can be sanctioned and issued penalty cards.