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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:47 AM
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United States, CA, SF
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First time flyer/builder needs your advice

I've been lurking for quite a while and am finally looking to take the plunge (holiday bonus season!) into my own quadcopter with the intention of jumping directly into FPV. I've never flown anything RC before so I'm assuming the likelihood of some initial hard landings are high. Given that, I'm wondering which of these (or other) options make the most sense for a newbie:
  1. Build my own, so that when it breaks, I learn how to debug and fix it - I'm looking at a QAV 500 frame and Naza controller which seems to be fairly beginner friendly, but the aluminum arms on the frame are pretty susceptible to bending during landings which has me concerned.
  2. Buy something used with relatively good parts - I'll get a used discount and even if I crash, I can reuse some of the parts on V2.
  3. Buy something new and cheap - I'm assuming there's a step up from the AR Drone that gives me a bit more to play with/learn from. But if I want to take things further, I'll have to basically start from scratch again.

I'd be happy to find out that my fear of initial crashes isn't founded. And for what it's worth, looking to spend around $1000 up front, but recognize it might be difficult to get into FPV without spending more on more GS equipment.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:00 AM
BNUC-s
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Joined Feb 2012
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buy a walkera ladybird. this will teach you how to fly quadcopters and you can do it inside when the weathers crap. Then when you've learned that build your own quad that way when you crash (and you will crash) you'll know how to fix it heres a good resource for building your own quad http://www.rcplanes4beginners.co.uk/multirotors.php. Then you can start to think about FPV. But just be aware this is a huge task to undertake if you have never flown RC before and you will need dog eared determination to get there so good luck with it
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Germantown, WI.
Joined Oct 2007
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Definitely buy a micro quad to learn on. They are nearly indestructible and great learning tools. If you don't like to wait, you can find the Blade MQx at most hobby stores. If you don't mind waiting and want to save some money, you can buy a WL Toys V929, V939 or V949. Walkera makes a Ladybird and Ladybird 2, available online. Avoid the Ladybird and buy the Ladybird 2, if you choose this route. The Ladybird and V939 models are much smaller than the MQx and V929 and 949 models, so they are more difficult to keep track of outdoors. From a handling and performance standpoint, they all have similarities that far out-weight the differences. The MQx gets the best flight time and extra batteries are more easily obtained.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for the pointers at the micro quads, hadn't really looked at them much. If I go that direction, what sort of things should I be focusing on learning about flying? I've found lots of guides on building, but very little on how to actually fly.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 12:28 PM
Prog Rocker
Down South
Joined Jul 2009
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I think the first thing you should do, is to just get a small quad like the others suggested, and just try to hover it tail in a few feet off the ground, Don't try to fly around, just hover. Then, when you can do it not too bad, and I mean keeping it in one spot, try to rotate a little, and see if you can keep it sideways a bit, and keep practising that. Your goal is to eventually do nose in hover, and until you can comfortably do that, then you can try and fly around a little. This is going to take time and patience.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:13 PM
Cranky old fart
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Germantown, WI.
Joined Oct 2007
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Just learning to hover in different orientations and leaning to pirouette should keep you busy for awhile. Then, you can start moving forward and back and sideways and doing turns. When you can do flips, rolls, loops and fly a figure 8 with banked turns, you are ready for quad that costs some money and breaks a lot easier.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:32 PM
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what you are trying to achieve is muscle memory for any given orientation so that it becomes automatic rather than having to think about it
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:38 PM
Out of helis, sanity returning
Tallahassee, FL
Joined Feb 2009
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Build your own. Check out the "Scratchbuilt Multirotors".

Save the FPV until you know how to manually pilot a quad. I did my first FPV flight yesterday, and I can tell you at least two things: it's harder than you think, and having some flying skills already grooved in will really help. But it was fun, and I didn't barf
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2400RDR View Post
Build your own. Check out the "Scratchbuilt Multirotors".

Save the FPV until you know how to manually pilot a quad. I did my first FPV flight yesterday, and I can tell you at least two things: it's harder than you think, and having some flying skills already grooved in will really help. But it was fun, and I didn't barf
Couldn't agree more. I've just started fpv'ing my hex and one thing I've learned is not to get too carried away and fly too far behind you as my body isn't very transparent to radio signals mind you I got a front seat view as my hex dropped like a stone
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:10 AM
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Thanks very much for the advice all. Do you happen to have any pointers to guides or videos on the techniques you mentioned? For example, what's "hover it tail in"? I'll place an order for a smaller guy to play with first, just wondering how to actually put these moves together.

Thanks again for all the guidance!
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