Conventional to FPV RC Flyer
Previously, I documented how I managed to teach my son, now 8 how to fly FPV. Hopefully that was useful to those teaching someone to Fly FPV.
This thread I will try to describe how I would, if I were starting all over again, knowing what I know now, teach myself how to transition from a conventional into a FPV RC Flyer. My intent is to describe how a conventional RC flyer can teach himself how to fly FPV. I do not pretend that what I write here is the best way, rather, just the best way I know based on my short 1 year experience as a FPV newbie. I've learned a lot this past year from folks on this forum and from personal experience. Hopefully this helps others get on board with the program.
Please feel free to chime in.
Here we go...
I cannot emphasize enough that as with any hobby, maitaining the safety of people & property around you, comes first and foremost. I do not intend to lecture anyone on when where or how to fly. Rather, one mast think about the risks of our activity and weigh that against what we get out of this hobby every time we take our aircraft to the air...Basic Risk Management applies.
Read the safety thread first...
What you will need...
When putting together your FPV "system" you have to integrate three primary elements:
1. Airframe- It seems that no matter how much experience you have flying RC, because you are essentially starting over, these characteristics apply:
SLOW- A slow plane will not leave your line of sight too quickly.
STABLE- It must fly "hands-off". As you learn, your brain will be busy enough trying to figure out the FPV part, so keep the flying part simple. To this end, a three channel plane is desirable.
VISIBLE- The easier you can acquire it in the air, the better.
LIGHT & INDESTRUCTIBLE (or at least easily repairable)- You will inevitably crash. You want an airplane that causes little damage to itself or anything else it runs into...
I used the Easystar. Others have started with the Slowstick. To learn how to fly FPV, I'd use a RTF or RR EZ*, stock[I], except for an enlarged rudder a LiPo friendly ESC. The stock EZ hits all the above: slow, stable, big enough to be visible, light and indestructible. You can get away with the stock NiMH, but LiPo's would be better. LiPo's keep your weight down (that helps off-set the weight of the video gear). A nice 1800-2100 2 cell will do.
2. Control- You can get away with 3 channels, though In my opinion, 4 is the minimum.
The Flying Field
If you don't mind, i'd like to post in here how my friend and i learnt to FPV together.
Learning to FPV with a friend
My friend, Nick, and myself are both experienced R/C pilots, we chose to learn on the F-27 Stryker because it is the most durable plane which both of us own and is a huge amount of fun to fly. This was a bit of a mistake as it is not a very stable airframe and is also incredibly fast as we have it configured. I have over 70 hours on this plane on my new transmitter, and who knows how long on the old tx.
First of all, we put the camera on it, and just flew around normally recording the video. This was mostly to make sure everything worked fine, once we got home we'd watch the videos straight away.
After a few days of this we moved up to one person being the passenger while the other flew the plane. Being passenger for many flights gives you a good idea of how fast you need to be going when landing, how high you are, and a bit of a lay of the land. At this point we also recorded all the flights and then when getting back would try to be the first to point out a landmark on the video. Choose big landmarks and small, the BMX track, tennis courts, cricket nets, a shopping centre, your house - whatever. If it's of any note exclaim loudly "THATS ....!". This will rapidly familiarise yourself with the landscape and be able to find your way even when all you can see are the tops of houses, streets, and trees!
The first FPV experience
Once we felt confident, one person would watch on goggles while the other flew the aircraft up to altitude. Then the controller was passed over to the person who was watching the video. The person who took the plane up now calls out altitude, what your flying towards, any incoming aircraft (we're near a RFDS flightpath) and generally stops you from going too far away. "Turn back now", "loose some alt" are very common at this point as you realise just how big the world is and how small your friend's visual range is! Keep the plane in sight here, if you feel uncomfortable flying FPV, get a video glitch, or you knees get too jelly like to support you from the adrenaline rush - hand the transmitter back to your friend. You should be standing shoulder to shoulder ready to switch at a moments notice.
At this point, landings are still done by your mate without the glasses, while you watch and continue to familarise yourself with approaches and how fast things look as you come in.
Full FPV flight
If you're using a plane which is handthrown, like many foamies, have you friend throw the plane up for you. At this point, depending on your plane, you're going to need your wits about you and don't want to be bothered by having to focus on throwing and then grabbing your tx with the hand you threw with. So - your friend throws you up, you need to gain altitude fairly quickly in my opinion. Your friend should still be talking you through it - where you're pointing, how high you are, and how far away you are. You may find by now that you know where you are, so after a flight or two of this, switch roles, you reading out how high and how far you think you are, as well as where you think you are.
Approaches can be difficult, so your friend should be verbally helping you out wherever possible. With trainer aircraft like our boomerangs we tend to want to make approaches far slower via FPV than we normally would - your friend should be dictating the speed and altitude and how far from touchdown you are. You may not need this, but it can be reassuring to have that support. I feel it's better to land too fast than stall out, so if your plane can take it dont feel bad about coming in hot the first few times.
Going it alone
Now that you've done a few flights without your friend's assistance, you should be able to fly alone no problems and be very confident in doing so. The first few times you might want to fly with your mate still there "just in case" however your confidence should be quite high now.
Keep flying and have fun!
This way of learning to FPV probably takes considerably longer to learn, however it's how we did it. This method is very safe and helps you build confidence in your abilities so you dont have any crashes at all, if possible.
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