Fermilab Barnstormers add micro quad racing to winter activities

This Winter, in addition to flying RC planes and helicopters at the Kuhn Barn, the Fermilab Barnstormers RC Club will be hosting beginner-friendly micro quadcopter racing every Monday evening starting October 21st. Small quads weighing around 30 grams will zip through 19-inch hoops arranged in tight, technical courses to complete as many laps as possible. The micro-sized aircraft, frequently referred to as “Tiny Whoops,” carry small cameras allowing the pilots to wind through complex courses with the help of specialized goggles that relay the video feed. Despite impressive speed and acceleration, flying these micro quads indoors is completely safe due to their incredibly low weight and fully guarded propellers. Even the harshest of crashes lacks the energy to knock over a bottle of water, and results in little more than a short walk to flip the quad upright.

Each event typically consists of eight to ten rounds of racing and lasts between one to two hours depending on the number of entrants. During each round, four to eight pilots race to complete as many laps as possible within a predefined time period. After half a dozen rounds, the total number of laps each pilot completed is tabulated and racers are placed into finals with other pilots of similar skill level. During the hectic and often close races, bumping into obstacles and other racers is more common than not. Fortunately, spectators are happy to flip over any downed quadcopters, or push a propeller back on to get pilots back in the air.


Everything necessary to get started zipping around your living room is available for as little as $200, and races at the barn are free to enter for Barnstormer club members. A detailed list of the gear needed to get started flying quadcopters can be found here.

If you’re more interested in planes, helicopters, or just flying without all those gates in the way, the Fermilab Barnstormers also meet every Wednesday at lunch to fly RC models at either the Kuhn Barn, or Frelo Field, weather permitting. In order to comply with FESHM Chapter 10170, anyone flying RC aircraft at Fermilab must be either an approved guest, or a member of the Fermilab Barnstormers RC Club. Additionally, flying anywhere other than Frelo Field or the Kuhn Barn is prohibited.

If you’re interested in joining the club, or just getting started flying, contact Noah Curfman at ncurfman@fnal.gov for more info.