Nashville Drone Racing Club Sits Down for a Q & A Session with Paul "Bulbufet" Nurkkala
Paul "Bulbufet" Nurkkala is a drone racing pilot out of Indianopolis IN, he recently had a long string of successes in 2016. Finishing in 2nd place at Drone Nationals and then to solidify his spot as one of the top racers he would go on to also finish 2nd at Drone Worlds a few months later. With strong showings at MDX and MultiGP Championships he is someone to keep your eye on going into 2017. Paul also has a youtube channel here, that he does almost weekly live-streams of various different builds and then occasionally gives them away to a lucky supporter via random drawings. His channel is a great way to keep up with racing gear that just works. His no bull approach to racing and building is a great way to get some insight in to what you need to go racing and how to put it together. His youtube channel comes highly recommended for anyone wanting to get into FPV Quad Racing ahead of the pack.
This article is also a lead up to a series we are going to do featuring our local pilots here in Nashville. As FPV racing in Nashville heats up we want to highlight all the work and dedication that goes into this fast growing hobby. We are going to feature a new pilot or contributor every couple a months hopefully, everything ranging from freestyle to racing and organization to sponsors.
Here is our quick interview with Paul “Bulbufet” Nurkkala!
Everyone at Music City Multirotor Club would like to thank you for taking the time to do a short q & a with us. We hope you can make it down to Nashville to “Race me bro!” during the 2017 season!
Q: Do you have a proudest moment of the 2016 drone racing season?
Honestly, I think winning my way into the DSA nationals was my favorite moment. This took place at the Flymore race in Charlotte, NC. All of the hard work that I've been putting in this year has culminated in that moment.
(See the event video here)
Q: Can Shawn “Nytfury” Taylor be beaten?
Q: Who is your favorite youtuber related to FPV?
That's a great question.. i think it would probably come down to. Stu from UAVFutures and Josh Bardwell for learning and more in-depth content. For flying, it would be A_Nub, Jet, JohnnyFPV, Willard, and Gapit.
Q: What are your thoughts on current HD technology, how much longer do you think SD will be the standard?
By HD, I assume you mean Digital, and by SD, I assume you mean analog. I think that there are some criteria that will have to be met for Digital FPV to become a reality. (1) it's expensive, (2) it's heavy, and (3) the goggles on the market don't really support it. As bad as it sounds, we're pretty heavily invested into analog FPV, so I'm wondering how long it will take people to adopt it; i think some of us don't WANT to change, now that we're starting to get good at Analog FPV.
Q: You have been known to fly heavier quads than others in the past, how much do you think weight matters? Do you have different builds for different track sizes/types?
Weight doesn't matter. All that matters is how you fly and how you fly consistency. Sure, weight CAN be a factor, but myself and others don't believe that it's the end-all be-all. For example, here's Jordan setting a world record for UTT3 with a GoPro on a heavy freestyle quad: here
You can't look at that and reasonably say that weight is important. That thing is over 600g in the air. Instead, he knows his rig and flies it well, and that's what makes him fast.
I always fly the same exact build, no matter the course. I will change props depending on the course.
(this is the quad: here)
Q: What strategy do you take when setting up a practice track? Focused more on weaknesses or more random?
I'm probably more random than I am intentional. But, when I think it through, I always set up an element of a course that I'm not very good at to make sure that I improve on it.
Q: A few well known racers have been known to really push the limits on practice time, some reports as much as 50-100 packs a day. What do you think is a healthy amount of practice and how often?
As much as possible at a sustainable pace. For some that don't work full time, 50-100 is a great cadence; it's like a job to them, which is awesome. But for those that haven't found a way to "make it," it's harder to find that much time to fly.
Q: You talk about the mental aspects of FPV racing pretty often, do you have a nerve calming ritual before heats?
I don't know that I would call them rituals, but there is definitely a pattern
1) Keep it mellow. Just chill. Run around. Have fun. Poke fun at other pilots. Talk to media people or organizer. Don't zone in -- instead focus on being you.
2) Set your own quad down. Spin up the props. Hover test. Have someone else check video.
3) sit down, and don't put goggles on until the last minute
4) Practice square breathing (in 4 seconds, hold 4, out 4, hold 4, repeat)
5) Fly your own race. Empty your mind, fly against yourself. Ignore everyone else on the track. Do YOUR best, not THEIR best.
Q: What do you think would be a good way to encourage local competition while at the same time not discouraging newcomers?
We're a community, right? If people are competing at the expense of newcomers, they don't deserve to be there. Be inclusive, fly. Have fun. Fly your own race.
Q: You have started to make more freestyle videos on your youtube channel, do you think learning to freestyle is an important skill to learn for racing?
"Knowing your craft" is the most important part. What I find is that setting up a track and practicing it takes quite a bit of time. Freestyling can usually be less of a time commitment. So, at the VERY LEAST, I'm able to get out and continue to familiarize myself with how my quad flies. Time is a critical factor these days, as it's basically dark outside by 17:30 where I live.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most in 2017 FPV racing?
More racing! Really, the part that I look forward to the most is continued growth. I love seeing impact on the community and how it changes over time. I want to see everything grow and become bigger, and to help impact that. So.. any time I can see things on an upward trajectory, I'm excited to be a part of it.
Q: Do you have any sponsors you would like to thank?