FPV vs. Standard Drones Flight Style

an FPV drone on the left side and a standard drone on the right side of the image - comparison.

Getting started flying FPV drones is not an easy task. These custom drones are flown differently as compared to a normal drone, and everything you know about flying a drone doesn’t apply once you go FPV (acro). But why? Why do FPV Drones fly differently from standard drones?

An FPV Drone does not fly differently from a normal drone. We often mistake FPV with the type of custom-made drones flying acro style using an FPV headset. The acro flight style only reflects on not using any assisting sensors to help with the flight, where also the input commands are different.

It is difficult to cover an entire topic into a short answer paragraph – and for this reason, I will strongly recommend you to keep reading and find out what is to know about why flying FPV drones (Acro) is different from standard drones.

Standard drones vs custom-made drones – the flight styles

The standard drones we refer to, for instance, the DJI product line such as the DJI Mavic, mini-series, and so on. These drones were created with safety features and a specific type of input control and drone reaction to the input that will promote safe assisted flights while the image is displayed on the screen.

Acro style on FPV drones is the exact opposite method, where the drone pilot sees the image in real-time via the FPV Goggles. The drone controls are nothing compared to standard drones and no safety features are available. Each stick input will have an instant translation on the motor’s output. You are in total control of your drone!

In general, FPV drones, commonly referred to as acro-style, are custom-built, with very few exceptions such as DJI FPV drone and DJI Avata (external links, non-affiliate).

With enough knowledge and little investment, anyone should be able to build a drone from scratch using only parts.

This is the pleasure of why many drone pilots are, in fact, building their own drones to fit their own style, with custom sensitivity inputs, custom electronics, etc. – unique in the world.

But expect an FPV drone to have totally different flight style as compared to a standard drone.

Also read: 27 FPV Tips to Know Before Flying FPV Drones

FPV Acro Flight vs. Standard Drone Flight inputs

Let’s look over the following image better to understand the stick input of an FPV drone.

FPV drone schematic of how it flies

As usual, my superb sketching should help you understand how the stick inputs (left side) react to the drone (right side).

The default mode 2 of a standard DJI drone will still have similar stick inputs as compared to an FPV drone. But the drone reaction will never be the same because, on standard drones, there are altitude and auto-leveling sensors and stabilization methods. The throttle stick will always return to half value.

On FPV Drones, the throttle stick tension is released, and this will not return to the center, meaning that the drone throttle will only respond to the pilot’s input, making it more difficult to keep a specific altitude on FPV drones where a standard drone will require you only to release the throttle gear.

Please keep in mind that an FPV drone may have different flight profiles and not only acro (no assisting sensor), such as level mode or horizon mode, which may have specific usages.

Why do FPV (acro) pilots like to fly so differently as compared to a standard drone pilot?

To race and freestyle. To create cinematic videos out of the ordinary. This is the answer.

You will never be able to race or freestyle if you’re not flying acro FPV and with a lot of practice, mistakes, and crashes.

For instance, my main area of flying FPV drones is to create unique cinematic content, impossible to create with a normal drone or any other device in this world – only with FPV.

To give you an example, I would recommend you watch the following cinematic video I created:

Only the adrenaline when flying such a drone at such speeds is similar to extreme sports for drone lovers.

Are you able to use FPV headsets and fly DJI FPV as a standard drone?

To give you a very logical answer, FPV headsets we refer to goggles that you are able to connect to standard drones. Yes, you can.

There are different goggles from DJI that you may be able to connect with different standard drones and still experience the first-person view, minus the adrenaline of an FPV drone.

In these cases, you may or may not be able to receive the image feed from the drone VTX to your goggles (depending on your goggles), the alternative being to mirror the image received by a mobile device or screen when flying a standard drone into the headset.

Can you fly acro style without FPV Goggles?

Yes, you are also able to do that as long as you will transmit the live image to an external monitor (not your phone, you won’t be able to do that).

In fact, there may be specific FPV pilots who are quite uncomfortable with FPV goggles, and they are using monitors instead – like a screen where everything is displayed as on the Goggles.

But beware, in this case, you will miss out on probably important details, increasing the chance for you to crash your FPV drone.

Should a beginner start flying standard drones or FPV drones?

A very new person to drones should always start flying standard drones to get used to UAVs, controllers, input, settings, and so on. Because from this point, flying FPV is a long road.

That road should be paved with simulators and practice FPV on games such as Liftoff or Drone Racing League, as FPV drones with no prior experience or simulators are absolutely impossible to fly error-free and avoid a crash.

This is why I strongly recommend anyone who wants to join FPV drones to firstly fly simulators. And besides, as a beginner, getting stuck in between the problematic incompatibilities and common issues when building your own FPV system… is just discouraging.

Thank you for reading this post. This is, in general, the reason why FPV Drones fly differently from standard drones in acro style.

» Related: Can You Fly DJI FPV in Sport Mode? How Good it is?

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