BEGINNERS FPV DRONE GUIDE
What is FPV?
FPV or first person view is a technology which allows pilots to view a live video feed from their drone. Pilots use a handheld controller and their FPV video feed to operate the drone, maneuvering it through trees and around all sorts of obstacles. The chart below breaks down the necessary gear to fly FPV.
Interactive Drone Chart
Speed: FPV drones with 5" diameter propellers can fly up to speeds of 120 kilometers per hour. Specifically designed drones can fly over 230 kilometres per hour!
Range: Legally, all drones must be flown within visual range of the operator. Depending on the component selection, FPV drone range can be over 10 kilometres.
Cost: Entry into the hobby can be as little as a few thousands rupees for a micro sized drone and low end gear. Micro FPV drones can cost anywhere from ₹7000-₹13000. To build a standard FPV racing drone with 5" diameter propellers, the cost can vary from ₹18000-₹30000 depending on the specification.
Weight: Micro drones can weigh anywhere from 25 grams up to 250 grams with a battery. 5" drones usually weigh between 400 grams to 800 grams with a battery. A 5" drone by itself usually weighs around 250 grams to 500 grams.
Flight Time: Flight times vary heavily based on how fast the pilot flies. Micro drones will typically last from one minute to four minutes. 5" drones will typically last from two minutes to six minutes. Long range drones can fly for over half an hour in some cases
Why Get Into FPV?
FPV is an exhilarating hobby allowing pilots to take to the skies, from the safety of their chair on the ground. It allows pilots to explore their surroundings like never before and to competitively race at high speeds through abstract obstacle courses. For the cost of a sky dive, you can purchase all the necessary gear to soar through the air for minutes on end. And when your battery is flat, swap it for a charged one and the fun resumes. Because the FPV drones are remotely operated, they can crash at high speeds without causing injury to the pilot. FPV also has the potential to teach pilots a range of technical skills such as soldering, cinematography, programming, electronics and even control theory. These skills can help to open up future career opportunities in the fields of engineering, product design, trades, computer science, etc. The FPV drone community is also one the best there is. By coming along to your local club for a race, fun fly or even just a chat, you can meet a whole group of like minded people who share the passion of flight.
Types of FPV Drones
The term 'drone' is a blanket term used to cover a wide variety of craft. Hobbyist drones typically fall under one of four categories: racing, freestyle, micro or long-range. Racing drones are light weight quad copters designed to be highly agile with a moderate focus on durability. Freestyle FPV drones are designed to be highly durable with moderate agility and the ability to carry a HD action camera. Freestyle and racing FPV drones most commonly use 5" diameter propellers however 4" and 6" propellers are not uncommon. Micro drones use propellers ranging from 2.5" down to 20 millimetres. Micro drones are designed to be small, agile and light; characteristics which make them ideal for indoor and outdoor flight. Long-range drones are similar to freestyle drones however their motors are usually slower and more efficient, carrying propellers ranging from 5" to 8". They are also designed to optimise antenna placement and battery carrying capacity to increase their range and flight time.
How To Get Started
To get started in the FPV hobby you're going to need a few basic items. These include the drone, FPV goggles, radio transmitter, drone batteries and a battery charger. You can start by building a drone however, for simplicity it is recommended to start with a pre-built one known as a ready to fly (RTF) drone. Another option to enter into the hobby is to purchase a radio transmitter which can be connected to a computer to use on an FPV simulator such as Liftoff, DRL or Velocidrone. Once you've got a grasp on FPV flying and want to build your own FPV drone, you can use the interactive drone chart to learn about the specific drone components you'll need to complete your first build.