How I Became a Drone Racer
So tell me, what did you do before you discovered FPV, or First-Person-View Drone Racing?
I have always been very involved in competitive athletics. When I was 19, I was a wide receiver for a semi-pro football team in New Mexico called the Albuquerque assassins. Two years later, when that football team dissipated, I saw Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I and decided I wanted to do Wushu. Wushu is also known as "Chinese Kung Fu,” and luckily, there was a famous Wushu school in Albuquerque back then ran by Zhuang Hui, a gold olympic medalist. After obtaining the highest level of licensure from her in just one year and eight months, I taught for about 5 years at that same school. Zhuang Hui ended up moving to the east coast, and the school closed soon after.
I met my now wife, Teng, in 2005. That same year, Teng’s dad left her family, and Teng’s mom needed help with a lot of things. Not only the family business but also with Teng’s little brother. So we moved Teng’s little brother into our home and I started working for a family business. While working for the family business was great, I still craved more challenges and self growth. I thought about my childhood dream of becoming a firefighter, and realized that if I waited any longer, I would be too old to even try. So at 30, I started taking EMT courses on the side while working full time with Teng’s mom. After more than a year of school and training, l was lucky enough to be selected to enter the fire academy through an extremely competitive process. After the academy, I became a full time firefighter.
I was living my dream as a firefighter when FPV came into my life. My best friend, Sean Stanford, sent me a link to the famous youtube video of the French guys flying their quads through the forest and told me to get a quad. We then started flying on the weekends. We were very competitive, and he would always tell me, “you will never beat me Taylor, never!” I took that as a challenge, and started to practice everyday. I slowly got better and started to win races. By the summer of 2016, I was completely out of vacation days and trades, so I had to make a decision about my career. I decided to take a chance on this exciting new sport and quit my dream job. The rest is history.
What motivates you to get better in this growing sport?
What motivates me is to be better than I was yesterday. I will always be curious about what I can accomplish “tomorrow,” so I will not let any wins or losses define me, because I will always be pushing myself to the limit, everyday. I am also motivated by the idea that I can help pave the way for the future of this sport. I believe the world is changing through technology. Sports are so important for character development that I believe more people should be a part of a sport regardless of their physical attributes and drone racing is the perfect sport to lead the way. Even if drone racing does not become a huge sport, I know if I just do my part and be a positive role model, I’ll at least have paved the way for others to do the same.
“The day you know it all is the day you retire.”
How have EMAX products helped you as a racer?
I first used EMAX motors last year. The RS2205 2600kv. I remember how amazing the power was and also watched Josh Tepper run 6s for the first time I had seen, winning 5k dollars in a heavy lift competition. It was then, Sean and I looked at each other and said "those are legit." Since then, EMAX motors have been a huge part of my career. There is no denying the superior power Emax delivers as well as the versatile team who are bringing more and more available options to the community in a wide range of stator and kv. Since then, I have found EMAX 35a escs to have put up with my all-out 6s abuse without a skip. The AVAN series props are the smoothest I have ever flown and have a great place in my arsenal. Future products keep coming and I am sooooo excited to be a part of the team!
What is the most important aspect of EMAX to you. Quality, Service, Price, other? Why?
The most important aspect of EMAX to me has to be the performance of EMAX motors. They simply make a ridiculous amount of power. Plus the new "LS" series motors, even a LS2206 2550kv is standing up to my 6s abuse. These are high quality motors that I am PROUD to run. In terms of service, Emax is not “tender" with criticism; they want it and welcome it. It is easy to see EMAX’s commitment to this sport; they are always trying to make their products the best it can be while keeping price down and affordable.
Would you recommend Emax to somebody?
I would highly recommend EMAX and do on a daily basis. Both through the gear I fly and the word of mouth. There's no denying quality and performance. In addition, I encourage people to support companies like Emax that actually support the sport. Actions speak louder than words and Emax has shown over and over again, their commitment to this sport. From sponsorship of races to pilots, they are doing their part to sustain this sport through the growing pains.
What advice would you offer to a budding pilot looking to improve his/her skill?
The advice I have for my buddies is simply to put in the work and practice. Get outside of your comfort zone. Push yourself and each other. Don't take things too serious but be focused on the tasks you make for yourself. Help each other and never try to elevate yourself by hurting others in the sport, everyone can grow together. Be a teacher and a student every day. Remember, the day you know it all is the day you retire.