Can You Fly an FPV Drone Without Goggles?

While FPV drones are designed to be used with goggles, some situations require you to fly them without them.

I have seen this happen when one doesn’t have a spotter, eyesight issues, motion sickness, and can’t stand the goggles. But can you fly an FPV drone without goggles?

It’s possible to fly an FPV drone without goggles. It’s even ideal to practice flying a drone without the goggles, like on a simulator, but this is just for training. Flying an FPV drone without the goggles can be very limiting in real-world applications.

As a licensed drone pilot, I sometimes get ask this type of question so in this post I will discuss why you must use Goggles when flying the FPV drone, the cons associated with them, and more.

What Are FPV Goggles?

What-Are-FPV-Goggles

FPV (First-Person View) goggles are a unique set of glasses FPV drone pilots use to see what the drone sees.

They capture and display the video live feeds in real-time, giving you an exceptional flying experience.

If you want to learn more about what FPV drones are then make sure to read my other guide by clicking here.

Can You Fly an FPV Drone Without Goggles

Though you can fly FPV drones without using the goggles, they make the whole experience more captivating and save you a lot of headaches, and here’s why.

FPV goggles give you an immersive and explicitly clear view of live feeds from the drone’s camera.

Also, the FPV goggles help to determine the drone’s direction, which is why they’re a vital part of flying drones.

Applications like drone racing require high precision, as one second could cost you if the drone crashes or injures somebody.

Imagine trying to maneuver the drone through the racing course by looking at it or looking at an external screen.

Sadly, without the FPV goggles, it’s impossible to have precision when maneuvering and flying the drone at a high speed.

Using goggles also comes in handy when flying in areas with a lot of sunlight that may hinder using a screen.

Why You May Need to Fly Without Goggles

For some, though, they may want to avoid these over-the-eyes viewing devices when flying their FPV drones.

As mentioned earlier, one main reason would be when you don’t have a spotter. That’s because, per the law in most regions, you need a spotter when flying in first-person view.

Can You Fly an FPV Drone Without Goggles

Why? While goggles give you a bird’s eye view, the camera feed may not always allow you to assess the areas you are flying in accurately.

It’s also not always possible to have complete situational awareness when flying FPV.

In such a case, a trained observer must guide you as you fly. Other people also have personal issues or preferences that may prevent them from using goggles. What options are there for such drone enthusiasts? 

Find out below.

Other Ways of Flying FPV Drones Without Goggles

If you do not want to use the FPV goggles when flying your drone, you could use FPV Monitors, a smartphone, or a tablet. Let me discuss further below.

FPV Monitors

FPV monitors give a better view of what the drone sees than smartphones and tablets because of their large screen.

So, mount the FPV monitor on the drone’s controller to keep the screen in view mode.

FPV Monitors

Sadly, like tablets and smartphones, their screens may not be visible properly during a sunny day, making seeing and controlling the drone challenging.

Yet, still, they don’t offer a fascinating experience like the FPV goggles do. Besides, even with monitors, you still need to have your goggles with you since you must transfer the feed from the goggles to the controller.

Tablets or Smartphones

Your smartphone or tablet can act as the screen in place of the FPV goggles. You can see the drone’s camera live feed on your smartphone or tablet using the recommended App, just as you could see when using the FPV goggles.

While tablets and smartphones are viable options, there may be some cons.

For example, using a smartphone or tablet on a sunny day makes seeing the screen tricky.

That could make it hard to control your drone, and you could get in trouble if it landed in the wrong place.

Tablets or Smartphones

Another nuisance about using smartphones or tablets instead of FPV goggles is that there could be some delay or lag; hence, live feeds may not be real-time.

As a result, you might have to slow down the drone, which could make the whole experience boring.

Besides, it only takes a few seconds to crash an FPV drone since it lacks the safety features you will find on a camera drone.

Risks of Not Using Goggles When Flying the FPV Drones

Some experts prefer to fly the FPV drones without the goggles, which could be safe or dangerous, based on the prevailing circumstances.

For example, goggles make it possible to lose sight of your FPV drone physically.

This is why, for safety reasons, spotters should be there when flying the drone in open areas.

On the other hand, more disadvantages are associated with flying the FPV drone without the goggles, as seen below.

Difficulty in Maintaining the Line of Sight

Flying your drone without the FPV goggles makes maintaining the visual line of sight difficult.

Consequently, you must be extra careful lest your drone hits obstacles and crashes.

Not using the goggles makes you look like you’re blindly flying the drone. Better said, you lack complete control of it.

As a result, it becomes easy for your drone to hit trees, other drones, or buildings. Still, your FPV drone could fly away to restricted areas, causing you to get into trouble with the authorities.

Going against what FPV Drones were made for

FPV drones are designed to be used with goggles. This is because, in this sport, speed, performance, and agility are all crucial.

Hence, FPV goggles are a must-have to ensure that you have a clear and real-time view of what the drone sees.

As a result, you can take immediate action to evade any obstacles or accidents.

So, when you try to eliminate the primary way you need to control this drone, you start exposing yourself to more risks and potential accidents since no FPV goggles limit the drone’s accuracy.

If you have to fly without the goggles, familiarize yourself with the area you want to fly in and look for viable alternatives.

Advantages of Flying FPV Drones With Goggles

A drone flight only becomes exciting because you get a bird’s view. This makes it possible to see exactly what the drone sees in real time.

That’s what your FPV goggles offer!

Not only does this make flying FPV drones exciting, but it also gives you excellent control of the drone’s flying direction and speed.

Hence, it becomes easy to take swift action when you foresee an obstacle or people walking too close to the drone.

Verdict

You can fly an FPV drone without using goggles. In place of goggles, you could use a smartphone, tablet, or FPV monitor to have a bird’s view when flying your FPV drone.

Sadly, there are limitations associated with these options: It’s hard to see the screen under the sun, and they don’t always offer real-time views.

There could also be a slight delay in capturing live feeds, which could cause delays in taking the necessary action.

On the other hand, flying FPV drones without goggles could pause several challenges, for example, losing line of sight.

Also, controlling the drone’s speed and direction becomes extremely difficult. Hence, there are increased chances of crashing your drone or injuring nearby persons.

Even so, beginners shouldn’t fly the FPV drone with goggles until they have mastered flying them on a simulator or within line of sight.

Author
Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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