An interview with Shaun "Nytfury" Taylor
Written by Rachelle Haughn
Rachelle Haughn interviews Shaun "Nytfury" Taylor
As seen in the Winter 2017 issue of Park Pilot.
Watch our interview
Since winning the inaugural MultiGP Championship in December 2015, AMA member Shaun “Nytfury” Taylor has gone from being a new, unknown racer to one of the top pilots in the growing world of FPV racing. In 2016, he again took first place at the MultiGP Drone Racing Championship (multigp.com), held at AMA Headquarters, in Muncie, Indiana.
Soon thereafter, he won the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships in Hawaii (droneworlds.com), and then the Spaceport America Drone Summit in New Mexico (spaceportamericadronesummit.com). You might also catch a glimpse of him on television stations competing in FPV drone races across the country.
Although he has quickly propelled to the top in the world of FPV drone racing, Shaun is humble, thankful for his success, and supports his wife’s FPV racing endeavors.
Shaun Taylor (center), on the podium after winning the inaugural MultiGP Championship. Also pictured are Brian “BrainDraindx” Morris (L) and Christian “Nodeva” Avedon.
Rachelle Haughn:How long have you been competing in FPV racing?
Shaun Taylor: My first race was the [Fat Shark US National Drone Racing Championships] in July 2015. That kind of hooked me there.
RH:How did you get started in it?
ST: Me and my buddies followed the guys in France who were racing in the forest on YouTube. It’s all been self-taught. I watch online videos. I owe every bit of success to everybody [other competitors].
RH:How many hours or days a week do you devote to practicing?
ST:I practice every single day, two to eight hours a day. At one point I was using 100 battery packs a day. Now I limit myself to 40. I do one maneuver each day (Split S, Hairpin, etc.) and at the end of the week, I put everything together.
To compete in the 2016 MultiGP National Championship, Shaun had to place first in the MultiGP Bakersfield Regional Qualifier.
RH:Why do you love FPV racing?
ST:The competition, the camaraderie, the fact that it’s not easy and takes a lot of work, and the technology aspect … tinkering. [I like] pushing myself to be better than I was yesterday.
RH: What was it like to compete in the Drone World Championship with your wife, Teng Ma?
ST:She was in the team race at the Drone Worlds. Her team from the U.K. took third. A lot of times, we’re in the same class. If she’s racing, it’s all about her. I could care less [about winning]. I want her to have fun. All my focus is on her.
Shaun shares his love of FPV racing with his wife of 10 years, Teng Ma.
RH:How did you come up with the nickname Nytfury?
ST:My wife said my drag racing car, a Toyota Supra, looked like the dragon (Night Fury) from How to Tame a Dragon. I stopped drag racing after I started FPV racing. I get more of a rush with FPV racing.
RH:What is your favorite multirotor right now?
ST:I have no favorites. I flew an ARC 200 a lot in the past. Now I fly stretched X frames. I’m not sponsored by anybody. I design my own quadcopters.
RH:What are your other hobbies?
ST:For most of my life, football. Now I’ve started teaching beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes on how to get an FAA 107 license through Drone U in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve been asked to mold the bones for the course. You never know where drones will take you!
RH:Did you fly anything before you picked up quadcopters?
ST:No, this is it. I was a full-time firefighter and used to drive a little RC car in the back of the fire station.
At the 2016 US National Drone Racing Championship, held at Governors Island NY, Shaun was a member of Team XDC, which took first place.
Shaun previously worked as a full-time firefighter.
RH: What qualities do you think a good competitor needs to have?
ST:You have to have work ethic—that’s the key. You have to practice very hard.
RH:What advice would you have for someone who wants to get started in FPV racing?
ST:Download the DRL [Drone Racing League] Beta simulator (thedroneracingleague.com/simulator). It’s free. Remember that when you get out at the field, it’s real and there’s no reset button.
RH:What has life been like for you since winning the Drone World Championship in Hawaii and the Spaceport America Drone Summit?
ST:No different. I have lots of friend requests on social media now. It’s just a race. I don’t let anything like that go to my head.
Shaun holds his trophy on the stage after being named winner of the Spaceport America Drone Summit.
Although 2016 was a year of big wins for Shaun, such as this one at the IDRA (International Drone Racing Association) North American Cup: West Qualifier, he remains humble.
RH:How did it feel to win the Drone World Championship?
ST:Obviously, it feels good. It was really fun at the time, but almost immediately I felt like I could relax and enjoy Hawaii. I wanted to teach people looking up to me and kiddos [that it’s important to] just keep my feet on the ground.
Shaun was thrilled to win the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships, but said the victory has not changed him.
RH:What was it like to compete at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, where Jurassic Park and other films were made?
ST:It was beautiful! I’ve never been to Hawaii before. Growing up, Jurassic Park was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It took me back … way cool!
RH:Describe how it felt to compete in Hawaii with the best FPV racers in the world?
ST:Oh, that was amazing! That was the best part. It was a really cool experience.