Getting started to fly FPV drones is not an easy task. Although rewarding, it can be challenging. But to fly FPV is easy compared to the amount of information we must apprehend before even buying the first FPV drone.
Today, on this topic, I want to share the most complex article with 27 FPV tips to know before flying FPV drones.
Table of Contents
Be ready to invest
Getting started to fly FPV in special for the first time can be costly.
If we compare the pricing with standard drones, you could end up spending way over your budget.
When you buy a standard drone, you buy the drone with the remote controller, and that’s it. Little investment should be considered afterward.
But when you want to start flying FPV, you need to buy an FPV drone, the remote controller, goggles, batteries, special charger, propellers, maybe spare parts, learn to charge your battery, fly your drone, and everything at risk.
If you start flying FPV with a DJI FPV drone or DJI Avata, it’s easier, but crashing these drones may be costly.
But why crash?
Well, let’s look together over the following tip to know before flying FPV drones.
Related > Standard drones vs. FPV drones flights
Expect many crashes and repairs.
When you fly FPV, you are in an adrenaline rush. It is crucial to know that everything is manual (also known as acro), and you won’t benefit from a standard drone’s safe net (hover, return to home, sensors, etc.).
One single wrong move or uncoordinated turn may result in a costly crash.
FPV drones can be repaired, and it is a good idea to learn to do it yourself. Not build, but repair.
There come the “spare parts” we discussed earlier in the play.
After a crash, which will often be in the FPV world, you may need to change some propellers, maybe a motor, or the frame in worst-case scenarios.
You don’t have to think about buying another drone and being limited in taking risks when flying FPV if you know how to repair your drone (except for DJI FPV and Avata)
Start learning with something cheap, such as a microdrone
Cheap equals taking more risks and learning to fly in the real world.
Because what is cheap may be cheaper to repair.
And even in this case, choosing something small and portable can make the difference.
For instance, going for an FPV micro drone (either micro-cinewhoop or standard micro drone) will last much longer, with many more crashes ahead compared to heavier drones.
FPV FRSKY Camera Racing Drone with Goggles and Controller for Beginners
- Wheelbase: 75mm
- Dry Weight: 31.2g
- Durable Polypropylene Plastic Frame
- * All-In-One (AIO) Flight Controller
- Real 5.8G FPV
With microdrones, you can feel the taste of freestyle as a beginner, and in the end, we can consider that it is less risky for any beginners to fly a micro drone than a 1kg 6s 7″ quad.
But before that, don’t forget to start flying FPV into a simulator.
For every article we write related to FPV simulators, you can check our following Category > Simulators.
Fly in a simulator. Use a simulator. Learn FPV in a simulator
My favorite one is the Liftoff Simulator because it is perfect for learning FPV with beginners in mind.
There would be divided opinions between simulators, but learning to fly FPV in any simulator is crucial before your first flight.
You don’t need much training, although at least a few hours should be a minimum necessarily;
I have flown for a dozen hours in the simulator before my first actual FPV flight.
You can use the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 to train in Liftoff and other simulators. I do this all the time and it works perfectly both on my Mac and gaming PC.
If you attempt to fly your FPV drone without experience, I can 100% guarantee that you will crash, and everyone will.
You need to learn the skill like you need to know to ride a bike before going on a long bike trip.
If you can afford it, start learning FPV with DJI FPV.
But by doing so, you will have significant advantages over the custom FPV drones, such as return to home, sport and normal mode, excellent video and radio transmission, superb video quality, and battery life.
However, crashing an FPV drone from DJI, such as the Avata or DJI FPV, would be very costly; therefore, taking unnecessary risks when flying these drones should be proportionate with your budget.
Choose your FPV style: acro, racing, cinematic, cinewhooping
It is good to know before even buying your FPV drone what you are going to do with it, what is your style and passion for the drone
Is it to create content in cinematic style, to slowly cinewhoop through challenge places, to do acro freestyle, or simply to race?
Because knowing what you would want to do should decide what drone you should focus on buying
For instance, I would recommend a DJI FPV drone or any safe long-range drone for cinematic footage.
If you want to freestyle, you need an FPV drone with a frame and components to allow such stability & maneuverability.
But if you want to go indoors or on smooth flights, a cinewhoop is dedicated to such flights, whereas a racing drone should be lightweight and extremely fast.
Before buying drones dedicated to these flight styles, you need to know how to control these drones and learn these flight styles.
Each flight style has unique control sensitivities at specific camera angles for the best results.
Before starting to fly FPV, I recommend learning to fly your FPV drone in liftoff for different styles and camera angles.
Decide how you want to control your RC sticks: pinch or thumb.
This is another essential part when you want to fly FPV; it is best to know before you learn to fly FPV.
Typically, a standard drone is flown with thumbs, like playing with your Xbox controller.
Flying “thumb” is the easiest but not the most accurate way to learn.
Flying “pinch” is more problematic as it is an entirely new skill to control your FPV remote controller. But in the long run, flying pinch is more rewarding, resulting in more accurate flight styles.
With pinch, you can enjoy the dynamic of “long sticks,” whereas, with thumbs, you react more quickly.
So, how are you gonna fly your FPV drone? Pinch or thumb? Don’t worry; train in simulator both methods and see which is best fit for you.
For instance, I fly pinch. But none of the methods are wrong, just different.
Choose an FPV Camera angle and stick to it
An FPV camera angle is an elementary part of flying your FPV drone at different speeds and for different flight styles.
For instance, to fly slower and best for cinewhoop, setting your FPV camera angle at 10-15 degrees would be ideal, whereas if you want to race, you need speed; therefore 45-degree camera angle or around should be set.
But if you want to freestyle about 30 degrees, it’s ideal with a custom drone.
Now, these are not rigid rules, more like guidelines.
But if you want to learn more about what camera angle to use with your FPV drone for your flight style, be sure to check this article.
Buy a suitable FPV goggles headband.
Out of the comfort part and the visual field of the goggles, I can say from my personal experience, buy a suitable headband for your FPV Goggles, no matter the model.
The edges of the visual field are very narrow on most goggles, and the headbands sometimes are terrible, where your headset can easily slide off your head whilst in mid-flight with your FPV drone.
It happened even with the DJI FPV Goggles V2 to me, where it slid down multiple times in mid-flight, no matter how much I tried to adjust it.
This ultimately can put your FPV drone or even others in danger.
I simply bought a 3rd party headband for the goggles and never looked back.
- Headband Strap is compatible with DJI FPV Goggles V2, Power Cable is the replacement for the FPV Googles V2 original cable, but it is shorter than the original cable, only 30cm.
- The elastic head strap is adjustable and detachable, distinctive pattern and color.
- Easy to install and uninstall, easy to carry and store, will provide a more comfortable experience to you.
Go into an open field and take it slowly.
When you want to fly acro for the first time, go in an open field with grass & dirt; nothing like concrete or water should be underneath your flight path.
You want to make sure that in case you lose control, which will often happen during the first flight, your drone will forcefully land (to avoid the “crash word”) on something soft, such as tall grass.
Moreover, flying in an open field will minimize or eliminate the risk where you may put others in danger due to the inexperience of flying FPV.
Place an Airtag or GPS module on your FPV drone
Related to the above point, having an air tag or GPS module attached to your FPV drone (excluded DJI FPV and Avata) is necessary to recover the drone in case you lose it.
It would be easy to lose it and then to look for hours for it.
Even an ESC with beep signals would be enough to help you recover a “lost” drone.
Learn hovering before landing. Master hovering in the simulator
To land an FPV drone is a difficult task.
Unless you have many hours behind the throttle gear, you will struggle to land an FPV drone safely unless we talk about DJI FPV or Avata.
Even if you flew your FPV drone and didn’t crash, and then you crashed it while you attempted a landing, it is no good thing.
For this reason, I will recommend that you learn to hover in place.
This will also help you have smooth landings and better control your FPV drone while flying, particularly at slower speeds, to slow down or even get through difficult gaps.
Learn slow and smooth before fast and race.
Even if you have learned to fly in simulators at high speeds and want to either freestyle, fast cinematics, or race, please don’t fly your drone at first with those speeds.
Not only that, you will need to learn your first-time drone response when you push it, how is the VTX or RTX signal, does the ESC holds up or the motors or anything; you need to learn to fly slow!
It would be best to learn how to hover as mentioned above and smoothly fly as with a cinewhoop and master these controls because flying extremely fast with no experience will likely crash your drone.
Taking it slow to fly an FPV drone is a marathon, not a race.
It would be a race later on, but not early down the road.
Learn how to surf cinematically close to the ground
One way I learned first time in the simulator and then in real life that helped improve my FPV skills is to fly cinematically close to the ground.
Not that close where you put your drone at risk, but surfing above the ground at a certain speed and altitude and keeping it stable will allow you to learn to control the FPV drone better.
This would be helpful in many situations where you will need control and stability to fly FPV.
Flying a cinewhoop will also improve this skill.
Know what to focus on: you can be the jack of all trades or an expert in one FPV skill.
So, by this time, maybe you have an idea what you would like it to do: to either fly cinematically, acro freestyle, race, or cinewhoop; there are so many things you can do with an FPV drone.
Take them one by one. You don’t have to be a master of one skill nor a jack of all trades.
Learn what you would like to do and focus on that.
If you like to do more stuff in FPV, such as myself – fly cinematically at high speeds, slow speeds, a cinewhoop indoors & outdoors, to freestyle sometimes.
But on the other side, if you want to focus only on a single skill, such as learning to race and concentrate only on racing, that would be ideal for mastering the skill.
Of course, learning other techniques outside of your primary area of activity will help you extend your knowledge and skill expertise in FPV, which is always beneficial.
It all depends again on what you would love to do in FPV.
Learn to circle around an object while facing it
You will have to learn this important skill as everyone who got into FPV: to circle around an object (pole, tree, etc.) with the drone facing it.
Doing this will train your FPV stability to hover and face the directions you always want, to control better when taking turns with your drone, and to stabilize it in most situations.
Combining this skill with a bit of freestyle that allows you to break quickly, change direction or altitude and speed may make out the most when learning to fly FPV.
Always have more than one battery with you
Of course, who would like to drive for two hours only to fly for 10 minutes? Nobody!
That’s why having multiple batteries for your FPV drone or the ability to charge your FPV drone by any means is essential.
It’s like you want to learn violin by practicing it – you can’t if you practice only 7 minutes per session.
Read more > How to Protect your DJI FPV batteries
Don’t fly with a GoPro. Not yet, at least
GoPro will change the gravity center of your FPV drone and the drone’s weight, will weaken the motor strength, and shorten battery life.
This is on top of the massive air friction you will induce and the risk of tumbling your drone – if you fly with a GoPro.
It is all possible to fly with a GoPro and with minor issues for advanced FPV drone pilots, but it is a step to be taken only down the road and not at the beginning.
Even I’m not particularly eager to fly with the GoPro too much because of the risks mentioned above (plus, after I crashed my last GoPro, I didn’t invest in another one).
Bring a chair, and get comfortable.
Comfort is king. You need to be in your comfort zone for the best control of your FPV drone.
It will help nobody if you struggle by taking an uncomfortable position when flying FPV.
Some people like sitting on a chair or down when they fly FPV, while others sit up.
I’m dead if I don’t sit down when I fly my FPV drones.
I just can’t stand and fly – it is a personal preference.
Therefore, whether you are standing or sitting, being in your own personal comfort when you fly your FPV drone (or even train your skills on sims) will increase the pleasure of enjoying this activity.
Choose a good position for the best signal.
It is not always related to the range you’re going to fly your FPV drone but to the obstacles and places where the signal is not enough to penetrate from the pilot to the drone.
It is good to know before you fly your FPV drone in any area to find a place where you can set yourself for the best signal.
Please keep in mind that if you are not in direct line of sight with your drone, you risk losing the signal.
This happens in particular, for instance, if you fly your FPV drone over a cliff or terrain where the LoS is interrupted.
If your FPV drone is not DJI FPV or Avata, or it does not have a sophisticated GPS module for the drone to initiate the return to home, this can crash.
I look for the best location to sit before I take off my FPV drones, where I can have the best signal with the drone with minimal risks involved.
If you can, go digital.
It’s great to start flying FPV drones as analog in special if you want to go racing. It is a fantastic way later on to enjoy the massive upgrade of going digital over analog.
But no matter your FPV activity, it is best to go digital unless you require a specific analog link, such as extremely low latency for racing.
Putting racing aside, most FPV drone pilots went digital over the past few years.
|Digital VTX Pros||Analog VTX Pros|
|– Better video quality |
– Much better transmission range and bitrate
– Offers you a more immersive experience when flying FPV
– You can see nearly all details when flying, hence minimizing the risk of missing elements, you may crash into
– Latency has improved drastically over the past couple of years.
– You can record directly without the need for a GoPro unless you want to maximize quality.
|– With quick reactions, analog has the best response time and the lowest latency|
– It is so much cheaper to go analog than digital
– You can afford to take more risks with your FPV drone due to lower repair costs
– DJI is leading/owning the market in digital modules. For analog, you have a long list of merchants and options.
You don’t need to learn to build to get into FPV. You need to fly FPV!
This is one of the most confusion for many new FPV drone pilots: Getting started to fly FPV doesn’t mean you need to learn how to repair your FPV drone
It means you need to learn how to fly and enjoy this sport.
Learning to repair is a skill you will get along the way, not before you start flying.
Do not fly in windy conditions as an FPV beginner.
A regular drone will resist flying in windy conditions up to level 5, which is quite windy because these drones can automatically stabilize in high winds and wind gusts.
But flying an FPV drone in windy conditions, in special if you’re a beginner, is trickier because nothing but you and only you will stabilize the drone.
Therefore, wind gusts, currents, and high wind speeds would complicate your FPV flight as an FPV beginner.
And sometimes, you can even crash your FPV drone due to high winds easier than a standard drone.
Get used to flying wild.
When you fly FPV, you don’t have to fly like a regular drone – that’s why flying FPV is so unique – you can do whatever you want in flight.
You can do acro freestyle, go fast through small gaps, take risks and pump your adrenaline to the maximum.
Consider flying FPV as being an extreme sport in the drone industry.
So yes, get used to flying wild and revolutionary.
Learn to disarm when crashing your drone quickly.
I can’t tell you how important it is to learn to disarm your FPV drone when crashing, or you know you are crashing to the second.
Even when sticking between branches of a tree, it is essential to learn to disarm your FPV drone instantly.
This may save your propellers and motors, avoid burning your ESC or minimize the risks of accidents.
That’s why, in every circumstance possible when flying FPV, have the quick disarm button at your fingertip.
DJI FPV is the best transition from GPS drones to FPV
If we’re looking for the easiest way to transition from standard GPS drones such as DJI Mini 3 to FPV, the DJI FPV should be the right answer.
It is costly, and crashing it would be an unjustifiable expense and heartbreaking in FPV, but if you know how to fly safely and by the rules, at least until you learn how to fly FPV well, then DJI FPV should be the answer.
There are many massive advantages to having DJI FPV as the first FPV drone, such as the ability to fly longer, long-range, better video quality and signal transmission, the emergency stop function, return to home, and auto landing.
Read more >> Is DJI FPV a Good Drone for an FPV Beginner?
Those are just a few elements DJI FPV drone has over a standard FPV drone.
But please remember, going FPV with DJI FPV at first is going to be an expensive approach to FPV, but if you want to fly only cinematically and long-range, this drone is ideal.
Rethink if you want to travel with an FPV drone
Unless you have DJI FPV or DJI Avata, if you want to travel with an FPV drone, you need to think twice, especially if you’re going to backpack through countries and states.
This is mainly related to the inability to charge your FPV drones on the go, where custom FPV drones have custom batteries that will require special chargers and charging them under special conditions.
Too many aspects can go wrong, and unless you’re traveling by car or for a day or two, having custom FPV drones may not be ideal.
Of course, DJI made it easier with the DJI FPV and DJI Avata, but this may not be the perfect solution for some people.