What I wish I knew before starting FPV

Published on 11 November 2021 04:33 PM
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I have been admiring FPV pilots from afar for a little while, and I finally decided to enter into the hobby. Here are some things I wish I had known when I began.

Note: This is not legal advice, and should not be taken as such.

  • Take the Part 107 exam (it gives you more options--plus, it would be nice to make money from this hobby).
    • The exam is different now than it was four years ago. Reference Tony & Chelsea Northrup's Study Guide and Altitude University's Study Guide, then study these topics (these are the topics that I did not study enough or were not covered by the aforementioned study guides):
      • UA.I.B.K1
      • UA.I.B.K16
      • UA.I.B.K21b
      • UA.I.B.K22
      • UA.I.E.K3c
      • UA.II.A.K1c
      • UA.II.A.K1d
      • UA.II.A.K2
      • UA.III.B.K1c
      • UA.III.B.K1e
      • UA.IV.A.K1a
      • UA.IV.A.K1b
      • UA.V.B.K6a
  • Take the TRUST test.
  • If you want to do analog flight, just go with Crossfire from the beginning--it makes life simple.
    • I recommend the TBS Tango II. It is a cost-effective way to use Crossfire.
    • I do not have a recommendation for goggles. Go with whatever you determine to be best for your situation.
  • Practice on a simulator, at least 12-20 hours.
  • Go with a microdrone or a cinewhoop for a first drone (I use the Protek35).
  • Register your drone with the FAA.
  • Before you fly, you will need to configure your Tango II and drone with Betaflight. Here are things to consider:
    • Ensure your arming switch works.
      • Be aware that there are various reasons why your drone may fail to arm. To see the status codes that are currently preventing arming while connected to Betaflight, run the command status in the CLI.
    • Ensure your mode(s) switch works.
      • Angle mode
      • Horizon mode
      • Acro mode
    • Ensure your sticks correspond to the correct action (yaw, pitch, roll, throttle).
    • Ensure your gyroscope is working correctly.
    • Ensure your motors spin in the correct direction (this can be tested in Betaflight with the propellers off of the drone).
    • Ensure your goggles connect to your FPV camera.
  • While flying:
    • Be aware of motor desync. I would not try switching into acro mode while in flight until you have more experience flying the drone.
      • Motor desync occurs when you try to do anything too fancy. Honestly, I have to do more research to learn exactly what the cause is, but in my experience it happens when I try to do fast flips or fast acceleration.
    • Be safe. Abide by the safety guidelines established by the FAA, and do not be the person to ruin the fun for the rest of us by giving the FAA more justification to increase restrictions.

If there are any other considerations that I missed, send me an email letting me know what I should include.