Are Box-style Frames Finally "Crossing the Pond"?

A little history…

Box-style vertical arm frames have been very popular in the EU racing circuits for the past couple years, so why have they not gained traction in the USA? Well, I spoke with Ashley Davis of Velocidrone who had some interesting insights into why this may be. He mentioned that the first box-style frame that was introduced in the US a year ago was a total bust. It was not durable and was very difficult to build. For this reason, these frames got a bad reputation within the American racing community.

More recently, some of these style frames have become available in the states. There are two variations - Box-style and just vertical arm style. The vertical arm racing drone won’t give you the airfoil effect that the box-style does, but it will give you some of the added benefits of less air resistance.

My thoughts…

For me, practicing IRL on the regular is a pipe-dream. Living in a major city make the life of a pro pilot very tricky. I currently only fly once a week IRL with the Baylands crew, which is an hour drive both ways. This means that I have to use the sim to maintain and develop my skills.

The major difference I’ve noticed between the sim and IRL racing is the way a real drone drifts. The drones in the sim seem to track better and are more “on rails”. Until I had flown the box-style frame, I couldn’t put a finger on this. Then, I flew the SouthEastFPV Knife Vertical Box 5" Race Frame and had an epiphany. This is what I had been missing. I was flying so many hours in the sim each week and then going out to the field, having to adjust to the slightly different flight characteristics.

The Box style frame feels just like the Sim!

Best Lap with Box - 27.5s

Best Lap with Hybrid - 29s

With this realization, I now am confident that my stick time in the sim will translate to real-life racing even more so. This could be a game-changer for me and other pilots who don’t have the luxury of having a personal track in their backyard. I’m going to keep testing and try all the options available. There are only a few frames currently so it shouldn’t be too difficult.


Let’s hear from some top European pilots…

It’s like drift car versus touring car - a drift car is fun, but touring car is faster in the corners and more efficient
In a drift car you turn early and power on, whereas in a touring car you aim for the apex and let the grip and down-force work for you.
— Ashley Davis, Velocidrone Creator

The turning and straight-away flight feels very much like it is on rails. It is because the wind is channeled through the air foils of the box. It gives you very nice steering overall.

I’ve noticed acceleration is faster as well.

The only drawback is replacing parts takes more work than a traditional drone.
— Raitor, APEX Team Pilot
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I spoke with Holdox, who is widely regarded as one of the top pilots on Velocidrone. He has recently joined DCL as a professional pilot and his resume is stacked with many victories across Europe. He flies the Carbix Zero and has been doing so for the last year and a half.

To be honest I have not flown a “regular frame” for about 1.5 years, so I can’t really know what the difference is without A-B testing. But I remember it was much easier to tune and it tracked better.
— Holdox, Norwegian National Champion
carbix.jpg

First flights on the box frame an initial reactions!

MewoFPV and myself took the Knife frame for some test rides this past week on a very technical course at Baylands. For me, it was a transformative experience, but not so much for Mewo, even though he did admit he can see why pilots really dig this style of flying. He prefers that “drift” feeling of a racing drone, as he explains in this video.

Here is the best flight of the day for me and my reaction in real time. After this flight I slammed into a wooden pole and cracked the front strut. I suppose this is a drawback of these style frames. You will break the supports. That said, I think it will be difficult to break arms, so you can treat it as an “arm replacement”. Just get that in your head.

MewoFPV Flies the Box!

SFPV Tries a Box!

Summary

If you fly on the Sim a lot and can’t get to the flying field as much as you would like, then I highly recommend you try this style frame! I will be building a few more of these and conduct some more testing next week at Baylands. Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below. Happy testing!

colby curtolaComment