So You Want to Fly FPV: Fly Line of Sight (LOS) first
I’ve been very frustrated with this FPV business because every time I don the goggles, I have a bad experience. I either crash immediately, lose my drone, shoot to the moon, failsafe by disarm, or break something I can’t fix in the field. Today, I flew “Bolt”, my Beta75x 2S performance multi-rotor (PMR) with the goggles in my front yard (wooded). I flew down the driveway, up the sidewalk to the front porch, took a smooth turn into the pine forest and flew perfectly between our trees, back to the front yard, out to the road and then back down the driveway again. I was also able to land the thing at my feet after a loop through the yard.
I’m telling you about my excitement not because I finally did it, but because I know why I was able to do it. I’ve been flying line-of-sight (LOS) now for a while. Just before the weather started getting really bad, I flew my 5″ PMR with a GoPro around a soccer field and took some footage of my practice. The key word here is practice. I’m writing this post because I am all about instant gratification. I built the first PMR frame using a 3D printer and all I wanted to do was gather all my parts and get it in the air! I didn’t care about the natural progression of the reality behind a difficult hobby. All I cared about was spinning the props and seeing it leave the ground.
The planning, building, education, and testing of your custom-built PMR is altogether different from being an FPV pilot. I almost cut my thumb off the first day I attached a 3S battery to my 5″ PMR in the front yard. I knew absolutely nothing about arm and disarm. I had chosen outdated parts, I tried to fly it with goggles several times and crashed a LOT! I experienced a failsafe at about 100 feet and demolished my quad. I broke the 3D printed frame, and the flight controller (FC) never worked again. I also bent a motor shaft in some way too. The neutral idle value for one motor had to be much higher in the FC configuration. I basically had to trash the first quad and start over.
I purchased an Alien-type frame and new electronics all around. This performance multi-rotor (PMR) is very solid and I’ve flown it LOS quite a bit. My flying skills have improved, however with the Beta75x because I just have more flight time than I do on the Alien. My wife gave a GoPro Hero 7 as a gift and I’ve only used it once or twice. The weather got bad in December and I haven’t flown it since then. For Christmas, my wife surprised me with the Beta75x. After New Years, we came home and I’ve been flying it LOS ever since. Today, I tried the goggles and it went well.
I can’t say enough for practicing LOS with your PMR. I would almost say not to even try using your goggles until you can comfortably fly your PMR around a field LOS. As for instant gratification and flying FPV … forget about it!
My two cents …