FPV Planes vs Quadcopters: Which is the Better First FPV Aircraft? (Part 2)

Warning: you should be VERY proficient at flying RC planes normally before attempting to fly an RC plane via FPV. If you are going to fly FPV quadcopters, you should be proficient at flying quads normally before attempting to fly a quad copter via FPV.

Recommendations:

I’m going to go against what several others say and recommend that you start with a quadcopter. A quadcopter, in my opinion, is best for learning FPV because it can hover and fly slowly as you get used to the new perspective.

Hovering allows you to fly up to a area with no obstacles and just sit there and hover and look around, getting used to the new perspective. Also, you can stop and hover later in the learning curve if you start to lose control.

Flying slowly allows you to slowly start moving. Move forward a bit. Hover. Move forward a bit. This allows your brain (or at least mine!) to get used to the brand new perspective slowly. Then, when you’re ready, you can start moving the quadcopter faster and faster.

But Which Quadcopter?

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Well, since this is a blog about UM aircraft, I’m going to recommend a UM quadcopter to start on. I started on the FPV Nano QX. Yes, flight times are short (I got up to three minutes), but it’s durable and small enough to find a large room, go up 7-ish feet, hover, and slowly start moving it.

Conclusion:

Thanks for reading part 2, and I hope it helped you choose a first FPV aircraft. Reader’s Opinion will be out at 5 AM next Sunday, so stay tuned!

FPV Planes vs Quadcopters: Which is a better First FPV Aircraft? (Part 1)

Warning: you should be VERY proficient at flying RC planes normally before attempting to fly an RC plane via FPV. If you are going to fly FPV quadcopters, you should be proficient at flying quads normally before attempting to fly a quad copter via FPV.

Now that the warning/disclaimer for new pilots is over, we can get started.

This is part 1 of a two-part series about whether you should choose a plane or quad copter for your first FPV aircraft. Note: The quadcopter that I’m going to make a build post is still being refined, so the post won’t be out for 2-3 weeks.

So, you’re a good UM RC plane or quadcopter pilot and want to get into FPV. But, should you go with a plane or quad for that first FPV flight? Read on to find out.

My Story:

I flew “FPV” for the first time last December. It was with an AR Drone, which has an FPV camera and displays the video on an iDevice, but I really spent most of the time looking at the drone, sometimes looking at the screen. Then, the Friday after Christmas 2013, I got the Walkera Ladybird FPV, which I barely spent two seconds looking at the screen at a time while hovering.

So, none of those were real FPV. I just looked at my screen every once in a while to either try to fly FPV, or look at where I was from an areal perspective. That all changed at 9:00 AM EST on Christmas Day, 2014…

I received the NEW Blade Nano QX FPV. After charging the battery that came with it (and trying to find my other batteries), I took off. For the first few flights, I sat on the couch in the family room and hovered above family members in the living room. After a few flights, I was racing around the house in less than a minute each time. Then the camera sensor CAME OFF. I was trying to twist the lens to focus, but it wasn’t on straight, so I twisted the whole sensor off…

So I ordered another camera to put on my Champ. It arrived on the 5th of January, and I managed to put it into the air on January 7th. My experience probably isn’t fair because the camera that I put on the plane had a problem: everything was dark. I had to dive to see where I was in relation to the ground.

However, there was a difference even when I ignored the camera issue. The plane moved all the time, and it seemed quite fast. It seemed faster when I was looking through the camera and taking off and about to run into a mailbox than from a third person view.

I also got a bird’s eye view from way up in the sky surveying the neighborhood and diving down to try to see things… It was relaxing once I got up to altitude… sort of. Remember, I still couldn’t see well do to camera problems and the range on the Champ, which doesn’t use a full range receiver, is something that I didn’t want to test as I flew higher than I’ve ever flown around the neighborhood. A combination of these two things kept me diving, going back up, turning, diving, going back up, you get the idea.

Conclusion:

Thanks for reading part 1. Stay tuned for part two next Sunday. Maybe I’ll even get it out at 5:00 AM! Just dreaming… (Really, I’m usually dreaming at 5 AM!)

Thanks for reading, enjoy, and please subscribe to umFlight if you liked this post!

Basic FPV Safety

FPV might be the most fun part of the RC hobby, but the FAA is trying to regulate it because of a few experienced pilots and the people who have “the cool new flying camera gadget” flying their quadcopters (mostly DJI Phantoms, which DJI has advertised as flying gadgets) dangerously (over people, over restricted airspace, etc.). These aircraft are NOT gadgets! They have spinning rotors that can cause a lot of damage!

So, I decided to write a list of things to do when flying FPV to keep people safe (and the FAA happy!).

1. Don’t Fly over People: Common sense!!! Yet, many seem to do it. What if, for example, you had some kind of in-flight failure as you flew over people (and innocent puppies!) and your quad copter fell and crashed onto those people’s heads? It could severely hurt them, not to mention the legal nightmare.

2. Try Not To Fly Over Houses and Cars: Your FPV aircraft could damage a house or car if it crashes into it. Even though it’s not likely that a MICRO aircraft, like the ones discussed on umFlight, could damage the house, let alone hurt someone inside, but it could. I guess that you COULD fly over your own house as the house is yours… If you do end up flying over a house, stay calm: it’s not likely that anything will happen. However, get it away from the house or car in a timely manner.

3. Don’t Spy on People: First of all, you don’t spy on people. Secondly, one of the reasons why people are afraid of “drones” is because of the cameras as they are afraid that they’ll used for spying. Just don’t do it, please.

4. Don’t Fly (Too) High: This isn’t much of an issue with ultra micros because of their usually-limited range, but don’t fly over 400 feet within 5-10 miles of an airport. The FAA also doesn’t want you to fly over 400 feet above ground level anywhere else. Flying this high, mostly around airports, can put your RC plane/quadcopter in the path of a larger full-scale plane.

5. Don’t Fly Over Restricted Airspace: It is currently illegal to fly over many areas such as the White House. It’s ILLEGAL, so don’t do it!

Conclusion:

Well, that is all I can think of today. I just want to note that, from now on, I’m not guaranteeing new posts at a specific time on Sundays anymore, but they’ll still be published on Sundays as usual.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a comment if you have any other things to add. Enjoy, comment, and please subscribe to umFlight below this post if you enjoyed this post!