What Is an FPV Drones,

What Is an FPV Drone?

Ever seen the fast-paced drone videos that exhibit stunning maneuvers? They are most likely taken with an FPV drone. These are different types of drones that take great skill to fly and have a steep learning curve. You may have heard this word thrown around, but what is an FPV drone?

FPV drones allow you to control them as if you were inside them, hence giving you a bird-like experience. These Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have a camera that transmits live videos to FPV goggles, monitors, a headset, or a smartphone. 

Pilots get a First Person View (FPV) of what the drone sees, which can be still images or videos.

The main difference between FPV drones and normal ones is that FPVs are solely controlled by the pilot, unlike the standard drones that also depend on the sensors to evade obstacles.

Dive right in to learn more about these exciting drones.

What Is an FPV Drone?

As mentioned, First Person View (FPV) drones are used for creating outstanding aerial cinematic content, racing, or freestyle flying.

Though FPV drones can be flown like the standard ones, they are meant to be flown in acro or manual modes.

FPV drones give pilots an exciting flight because they can see what the drone sees. Here’s what happens: The FPV goggles receive videos or photos from the drone camera in real-time.

Based on the view on your goggles, you can effectively steer the drone. This improves your flight accuracy and minimizes accidents.

In return, you feel as if you’re inside the drone rather than on the ground. Hence, you get an exciting and unique flying experience.

How Are First-Person View (FPV) Drones Used?

How Are First-Person View (FPV) Drones Use

FPV drones have a latency of a few milliseconds. In contrast, standard drones’ latency is above 200 milliseconds.

FPV’s low latency is an advantage to pilots because they view everything as the drones see it through wireless technology, such as FPV goggles, monitors, headsets, or smartphones. This makes the videography and photography better and more accurate.

Therefore, FPV drones are used for racing, creating outstanding cinematic content, and freestyling.

FPV drones can be flown using the acro (manual) mode, which turns off the leveling sensors entirely and gives you complete control. However, some pilots still fly FPV drones like standard ones.

What Do You Need for FPV Drone?

what Do You Need for FPV Drone

Several things are necessary to get into the FPV drone world, and they include:

  • FPV Drone
  • FPV goggles
  • Controller
  • Batteries and charger

Quickly, let’s learn about them below.

FPV Drone

When buying an FPV drone, consider its purpose. Will it be used for aerial videography and photography, racing, or freestyle flying?

Based on the functions of your drone, you can take various factors into consideration, for example, the drone’s material, design, weight, and cost.

Consider your flying skills, too, as you must strictly follow the FPV safety measures; for example, only fly within the line of sight, avoid flying in restricted zones, and don’t exceed the recommended altitude range.

Strictly follow the drone legislation rules of your country. Apply for drone insurance to cover in case of any accidents.

To keep the drone functioning correctly, you have to follow all the maintenance tips offered by the company.

For instance, properly store your drone, clean it, check for physical damage, and repair damaged parts before your next flight.

FPV Goggles

FPV Goggles

These are headsets that you use when flying the drone. They feature several internal components.

They also have one or two screens, which you use to see live video transmissions from the drone’s camera. 

FPV goggles are an essential part of flying FPV. However, there are specific situations where you may need to fly an FPV drone without goggles. You can buy digital or analog goggles.

Digital FPV Goggles

They offer a higher range and better image resolution and quality. Hence, they’re more expensive than the analog ones. Most pilots prefer them over the analog ones.

Analog FPV Goggles

They offer a lower latency (800 x 400) than digital goggles because the videos are not compressed.

Consequently, the image quality is poor, and the range is lower. These goggles receive the transmission from the analog FPV drones.

Though some prefer them due to their low costs, most buy them because they’re great for racing due to their low latency.

When using these with an analog drone, you need to add a third-party camera, such as a GoPro, to record high-quality footage.

When buying FPV goggles, there are various things to consider besides the latency, for example, comfort, durability, and display quality.

Let’s discuss further below. 

Resolution Quality

For a thrilling experience and to get exciting video feeds in real-time, use high-quality FPV Googles. Choose FPV goggles that offer a high-quality resolution display.

As a result, you’ll get an exhilarating flying experience that makes capturing every moment of your flight stress-free.

Compatibility

Ensure your Goggles are compatible with the video transmitter on your drone and with any other accessories you have.

Compatibility is vital as you wouldn’t want to waste money on devices that will not work together.

It’s also worth noting that goggles are often compatible with a wide range of drones or FPV systems, so you will only be making one big investment that you may never have to think of again when getting a new drone.

Goggles Durability and Comfort

Order goggles that are durable and comfortable. Comfortable because you’ll be wearing them for an extended time.

So, consider your head size when ordering so that they fit comfortably. Also consider the Interpupillary Distance of your eyes as this will allow you to see more clearly.

Durability prevents constant repairs or investing in new goggles so soon.

Radio Controller

radio Controller

Consider the controller’s range. Short ranges only allow you to fly the drone at a close range to avoid losing the connection.

In contrast, longer ranges maintain the connection even when the drone is flying far and high.

To effectively communicate with your FPV drone, your controller should support the right protocol and frequency.

This keeps the FPV drone in sync with the receiver. Consequently, your drone can receive all commands, hence making it easy to control it.

Based on your flight needs, you may also buy customizable FPV controllers that allow you to attach modules to extend the range or enhance its features.

Lastly, ensure that the controller is well-designed to enhance comfort during flights. Some are large, some are small.

Some have sticks made of plastic, others are made of metal. You can get the simplest one at first and test out different types as you gain more experience. 

Charger and Batteries

Charger and Batteries

The quality of the battery directly impacts the performance of your drone. Therefore, the weight, capacity, discharge rate, size, and voltage are crucial factors you must never ignore when buying an FPV drone battery. 

Even so, while weight is a crucial factor, heavier batteries offer longer flight times due to their large capacity.

Therefore, use high-performance batteries such as LiHV, NiMH, and LiPO that provide extended flight sessions and enough power if you have a big FPV.

In addition, ensure that the components and wiring of the FPV drone are compatible with the battery connector.

Battery Safety Precautions

  • When changing batteries, don’t leave them unattended.
  • Charge the battery in a fireproof area or container
  • Avoid overcharging FPV drone batteries.
  • Regularly check if the battery is swelling or physically damaged. If so, replace it.

How to Determine the Best FPV Drone

how to Determine the Best FPV Drone

To know how to choose the best FPV drone, you must understand what materials they’re made of and what features they possess.

For example, if you’re looking for a high-quality FPV drone, one made of carbon fiber could be the best.

However, always strike a balance between the drone’s durability, weight, strength, and cost.

Let’s discuss further.

Drone Size and Customization

FPV drones are customized differently to fit different pilots’ needs. So, they come in different sizes based on the size of their propellers.

The bigger the FPV drone frame, the bigger the propellers, and the smaller the FPV drone frames, the smaller the propellers.

While some FPV drones are used indoors due to their small sizes, those used in cinematic aerial shots are big and feature 11 to 12-inch propellers.

Material

FPV drones are made from carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. These materials are also strong.

Therefore, FPV drones are light but durable enough to withstand crashes and high-speed maneuvers.

Drone Design

FPV drones feature varying designs, which include hybrid, H-frame, or X-frame. Each drone design’ characteristics are unique, and so are the flights.

The design also helps determine what accessories to use and where to place them.

Extra Features

To ease the FPV drone’s integration and improve its functionality, some models may have additional features, such as mounting options for some drone components or vibration-dampening systems.

What Are the Benefits of Flying FPV Drones?

  • Flying FPV drones gives you the privilege of capturing stunning images because you get to see everything as the drone sees it. Hence, you capture excellent images and shoot stunning videos.
  • Gives you an excellent awareness of the surroundings. Consequently, you fly accurately and precisely due to low latency transmission.    
  • Makes flying drones easier
  • Gives you an exciting experience if you’re using the FPV Goggles to fly them
  • FPV drones are cheaper than high-quality standard drones.
  • Since you have better drone control, it’s easy to evade crashes and accidents.
  • They fly at lower altitudes, lowering the chances of accidents and crashes.

What Are the Cons of Flying FPV Drones?

  • It’s hard to maneuver FPV drones. Hence, beginners cannot fly them.
  • Beginners and drone enthusiasts must learn how to fly FPV drones in simulators.
  • You need a stand-by person to monitor the drone to ensure everything is alright, thereby minimizing accidents and potential crashes.
  • They crash more often than standard drones if the pilots aren’t extra careful.
  • The digital FPV goggles are highly priced, though they have a better latency.

Is It Easy to Fly an FPV Drone?

Like with every other skill, flying FPV drones can be challenging when starting. Even so, learning how to fly FPV drones can be more challenging.

Take, for example, landing and take-offs. They’re difficult compared to the standard drones.

Therefore, it may take longer to learn and professionally control FPV drones.

To learn the vital controls of the FPV drone, start with an FPV simulator training. I recently got the new RadioMaster Pocket and have been practicing with the Velocidrone simulator. It was difficult at first but I can see I am making progress.

However, even after mastering how to pay attention to detail and other vital aspects, I will need to try with an actual drone to gauge how well I have learned.

Most regulation agencies also need an observer to stand by you when flying it so as to monitor it constantly. This is because it’s difficult to be aware of your surroundings at all times when flying FPV.

Conclusion

FPV means First Person View and is a technology that gives you more than your ordinary drone.

FPVs are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that use a smartphone, goggles, a monitor, or a headset to instantly (real-time) display what they receive from the drone’s camera.

The only difference between these and standard drones is that pilots manually control the FPV drones, while the standard drones may also use sensors to evade obstacles the pilots may have missed.

The advantages of FPV drones are numerous; for example, they capture stunning images and shoot fantastic videos. Besides, since you have a First Person View, it’s much easier and more exciting to control the drone.

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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