The Complete Starter’s Guide to FPV Drone Flying

You might have come across the spectacular FPV drone flying at a MakerFaire, drone conference or during a live telecast of some drone racing contest on ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting. FPV is the acronym for First Person View and means the live video feed that is transmitted from the camera integrated into your drone and transmitted to your controller, smartphone, tablet or some kind of monitor. This is more or less a first person video game with the exception that the surroundings are real world entities and phenomena.

Advantages of FPV Drone Flying

Generally speaking, drone pilots fly them using their line-of-sight which naturally comes with its pitfalls. First and foremost, you have to fly your machine within a specified range. With the help of FPV, you can take your drone to unprecedented ranges of distance that in some cases might happen to be in miles. Syma X8C lets you fly only within your line-of-sight.

Secondly, FPV drone flying provides an immersive digital experience. The fact that you are able to view what your drone is viewing is quite a remarkable one. We recommend you to opt for FPV goggles alongside FPV transmitter display for optimum fun and user experience of the highest quality. Believe me, you will enjoy it immensely.

And the final reason that makes FPV drone flying all the more fun is because pilots are able to capture aerial videos and photographs. Since you are able to view what the drone is viewing, you will be able to exercise plenty of control over your aerial photography and cinematography. There would be many among you who would be of the view that all of this sounds great but we are enjoying what we have been doing for so long, so why waste our time on something that is new. I agree that you can never feel the significance of something that you never have had the possession of. I promise you that once you try out FPV drone flying, you will forget about typical drone flying and fall obsessively in love with this technology.

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Basic FPV Configuration

To sum up the entire process, here’s what happens in FPV drone flying: the drone camera captures the aerial video footage and transmits it to the receiver fitted in your radio transmitter, wherein the video signal is converted into an image or video. The display can be either goggles or standard transmitter display or mobile handheld devices.

Keep in mind that the range of different transmitters and receivers varies. The more expensive and sophisticated devices will be able to furnish you High Definition videos and images from upto a range of no less than a mile. DJI Phantom 4 and the DJI Inspire 2 are tremendous specimen of how far the technology has come in relation to FPV drone flying.

In order to know about a decent, ready to takeoff FPV configuration (drone, transmitter and goggles), please go through my recommendations below.

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How to choose the ideal FPV goggles

Keep the following suggestions in mind when looking to purchase the ideal FPV goggles:

  • Screen Resolution: You should opt for a minimum screen resolution of 640×480 pixels. Poor quality screen resolution will surely spoil your FPV fun so even if you have to spend a few extra bucks, go for goggles with higher screen resolution to maximize your experience.
  • Field of View (FOV): There is no particular formula to follow in this regard. Opt for the widest field of view possible since the more area you will be able to view, the more it will be better. We recommend you to go for field of view of no less than 30 degrees.
  • Style: I am not someone who would care about how his FPV drone goggles look like. But there would be many among you who would be concerned about their style and the latest fashion trends in the market. Stylish goggles won’t enhance your FPV experience but they will definitely transform your personality and make you look like a real professional who means business.
  • Price: You will have to spend at least $300 for a good pair of FPV goggles. Any amount lesser than this won’t get you a good enough device. Since this is the fundamental component of your FPV experience so I recommend you to invest as much as possible in this domain.
  • Head Tracking: Another important thing to notice in your goggles is whether they are equipped with head tracking or not. Head tracking is the technology that makes the camera integrated in the drone move in accordance with the movement of your head.
  • FatShark Goggles are pretty good package and you should try them out.

The head tracking functionality is not compulsory but you will definitely benefit from it if you have goggles equipped with it. This way you will not have to be concerned about controlling your gimbal via the radio transmitter. You can control your gimbal by the motion of your head. As your moves to the right, the gimbal and the camera in turn will move to the right and as your head moves to the left, the gimbal and the camera will move to the left.

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Professional Tip

While flying in the FPV mode, the peripheral vision of the pilot naturally gets limited. There will be hindrances in the path of your drone that will not be in the sight of your camera. Such obstacles can cause serious accidents and crashes. So, we recommend you to designate someone who keeps an eye on your drone via line of sight to ensure that your device does not bump into some obstacle. Such a designated person is called a Spotter. He/she can inform you if some hindrance is coming your way that you may not have had spotted otherwise. Hey, and don’t forget to become a spotter yourself for your friend when he/she is enjoying the FPV drone flying experience. It’s all about camaraderie! Isn’t it?

Be aware of the law of the land

You should be cognizant of the law associated with the line of sight. This law states that pilots should fly their drones within the range of a normal eye. Any violation of this law can land you in trouble with the law enforcement agencies. Moreover, the FAA are hell bent of chopping and changing laws connected to drone flying. So, we suggest you to keep on visiting from time to time to stay updated about the amendments in laws and the new laws to be implemented.

Ideal places to fly FPV drone

It is never recommended to fly a drone over people since it can turn out to be dangerous and cause serious injury. Opt for open and wide spaces such as a beach, local park or even a football field where you can find ample room to fly your device without having to worry about nearby property or even the risk of your drone crashing into people. Desert is also a pretty good place to try out the FPV drone flying since you won’t be worried about bumping into some obstacle or hitting someone with a drone.

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Learn how to fly drone

Before you get your hands on a FPV setup, we suggest you to first get in grips with the art and science of flying drones. You would not want to risk an investment of around $500 by flying a drone without having ample expertise in it. You can learn flying by buying the $15 Cheerson CX-10 or the more user friendly Syma X5C that can be bought for about $50. Try them out first and then advance onto the FPV drone flying.

Wishing you a fun FPV drone flying experience folks!

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