Our new MultiGP chapter needed an inexpensive way to ensure the safety of our pilots and spectators should a quadcopter fail or a pilot take a turn too wide. Being on a tight budget meant that things like chicken wire were right out, plus we had no good way to hang it. We needed something that was lightweight and easy to transport. It needed to be tall, it couldn't interefere with spotters'/spectators' view, and it needed to be tough. We are not allowed any permenant structures besides the gates, and erecting a tall enough fence was definately out of the question. Being the creative types that we are, we came up with something a little different.
For sale at Home Depot for about $65, Easy Gardner Polypropylene Deer Barrier looked like it may fit the bill. The reviews said it was tough, much tougher than the less expensive stuff out there, and the price wasn't so bad being that the roll was 7' x 100'. That's enough to cover the front and sides of a few canopies. If we ran into a situation where a pilot couldn't stop their quad before heading for the canopy then this would help make sure that everyone inside would be unharmed... if it worked.
So we ordered a roll and strung it up on one of our DIY racing gates to test. The gates are made out of PVC with pool noodles attached. The plans are available from MultiGP and are standard for their races. We are a practicle group of racers, so we tested by flying a quad directly at it. We tested with only the top connected, and again with all four corners to see which made the most sense. What were the results? See for yourself!
YES! This actually worked WAY better than expected. Yes, the props sometimes cut through the netting but the frame cannot penetrate it. The strong netting slows the props down to the point where they actually stop even before you disarm. Hang this stuff up on two or three sides of a pop-up canopy with some zip-ties and you've got a shady, safe spot for pilots and spectators to enjoy your race! For best results, I would suggest leaving a little bit of play but securing the top and sides. When hung in this way the quad usually gets stuck on the net instead of falling to the ground, potentially at someone's feet. You can also tack the bottom down with garden staples.
Granted, this stuff won't last forever, but if your pilots aren't running into it all the time and you only leave it up during races it should easily last you a few years!
Now get out there and fly safe!