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Posted by smoothvirus | Dec 17, 2017 @ 12:58 PM | 2,131 Views
Parts List:
STRIX Goblin - High Performance FPV Plank - PNP

Eagle Tree - Vector FPV Controller Package - XT60

RunCam Owl Plus

1.3GHz 400mW Transmitter - US VERSION

Dragonlink Micro Receiver

Dragonlink - Receiver Antenna For Dragon Link - SMA Mount

How to Build the Goblin
How to Build the Goblin (12 min 34 sec)

Vector Settings

RunCam Owl Plus best settings
Runcam OWL Plus - Best Settings (0 min 46 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Oct 16, 2017 @ 11:09 AM | 3,055 Views
I watched Matthew Ogbourne's videos on the new Sonicmodell F1 Wing and decided to order one. I'd like to do some more low level high speed flying and I'll need a tough EPP plane for that kind of mission. The EPP in the F1 Wing is supposed to be the toughest a lot of FPV pilots have ever seen.

Parts List:

Sonicmodell F1 Wing 833mm Wingspan Super High Speed FPV EPP Racing Wing RC Airplane PNP


Compare to:
Posted by smoothvirus | May 16, 2017 @ 03:56 PM | 5,809 Views
There was a lot of buzz in 2015 when this glider first came out, a full house 3.7 meter e-glider for under $300! In 2016 Hobby King released the version 2 of this glider but had to raise the price to about $350. However I got a deal and was able to get an Aether kit for 30% off.

We're going to FPV this sucker up!

The HobbyKing Aether is back and better than ever!

The fuselage is now fully fabricated from epoxy and where possible carbon fiber has been used for some parts providing exceptional strength without a weight penalty. The fiberglass firewall now comes pre-drilled ready to accept a motor of your choosing.

The large size and low cost make this a perfect entry level ALES model.

The Aether arrives as an almost ready to fly model, allowing you to customize it how you choose. Though it is a large model it disassembles easily. The wing breaks down into 4 pieces with a rugged carbon tube joiner for the center two wing panels and the tail assembly bolts to the fuselage and that means it will fit it all but the smallest of vehicles.

The large volume pod gives plenty of space for your battery and other equipment with access through the large carbon fiber canopy hatch being a breeze. The large wing, along with a generous amount of wing dihedral makes the Aether 3700 ultra stable. so its relaxing to fly and with large flaps to slow the model down, landings are feather light.

If you have never flown a large model, the Ather is
...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 17, 2017 @ 11:15 AM | 9,480 Views
I grabbed a Wing Wing Z84 kit during a Black Friday sale last year and since then have been deciding what to do with it. Since then I've become intrigued with the iNav firmware and the low cost flight controllers that use it.

Parts List:

Zeta Wing Wing Z-84 Z84 EPO 845mm Wingspan Racer Flying Wing KIT Green

30.5*30.5mm Betaflight Omnibus STM32F3 F3 Pro Flight Controller Built-in OSD BEC Current sensor

7M/8M Ublox M8N GPS Module for APM Pixhawk CC3D Naze32 F3 Flight Control

RunCam Micro Swift - NTSC

SunnySky 2208 1500kv

Suleve™ M3NH1 M3 Nylon Screw Black Hex Screw Nut Nylon PCB Standoff Assortment Kit 300pcs

APC 6x4EP Pusher Prop

Excellwayģ 20Pcs Mini Micro JST 1.0mm SH 6-Pin Connector Plug With Wires Cables 150mm

Hobbywing FlyFun 30A ESC Build-in BEC 5V/2A (2-4S)

Marbelo build log

Wing Wing Z84 and INAV

The Basics of Getting iNav Working on an Airplane
https://github....Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 27, 2017 @ 04:24 PM | 6,458 Views
I've been impressed with the Pitlab OSD/Autopilot for a long time now and I finally got one this spring. I was originally going to install it in my Finwing Sabre but I feel like the Sabre is so well tuned that I don't want to spoil a good thing. So I will be installing the Pitlab OSD into a brand new XUAV Mini Talon.

Parts List:

OSD and Autopilot FPV kit

X-UAV Mini Talon

CXN - Mini Talon FPV Pod

CXN - FPV Camera Pan/Tilt (32x32mm)

RunCam HD2 - Orange

Dragonlink - Rx Antenna with 12" (30cm) Cable

1.3 GHZ Video Transmitter Antenna - 3 CM Extension

RMRC - 1.3GHz 400mW Transmitter - US VERSION

Airspeed MicroSensor V3

Cobra C-2221/16 Brushless Motor

Cobra 40A ESC BEC

Dragon Link V3 ADVANCED Large Complete System

RMRC - LC Power Filter - 1.7A

Turnigy Multistar Twin Output 5/10 Amp (6-50V) SBEC for Lipoly

Xoar PJN Electric 9x6 pusher prop 1m Mini USB Cable Cord - A to Up Angle Mini B - Black (USBAMB1MU)


Main Page

Download Page

RCGroups Thread

V Tail Config

Pitlab OSD Playlist

Micro Receiver with Telemetry

V3 Quick Setup


How to change OSD layout in flight

Autopilot tuning questions
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 24, 2017 @ 07:36 AM | 7,589 Views
Parts List:

C1 Chaser 1200mm Wingspan EPO Flying Wing FPV Racer Aircraft RC Airplane KIT

Eagle Tree - Vector FPV Controller Package - XT60

CP Laminating Film - 3 Mil x 18"

SunnySky X2212 KV1250 II Brushless Motor

Cobra 40A ESC BEC

Aeronaut CAM Folding Propeller 8 x 5

Aeronaut Yoke for Turbo and Black 2-Blade Spinners 38/8mm

8mm x 5mm Bushing

EMAX - ES08MA II - Metal Gear Servo (x2)

RunCam Swift Mini

EzUHF Nano Reciever

Dragonlink - Receiver Antenna For Dragon Link - SMA Mount


mark_q build

markqv C1 Chaser Parts

How To - Set-Up a Pusher Style Folding Prop

New model C-1 chaser1200mm flying wing EPO foam RC airplane KIT w/HD camera Big wing wing Z84 (4 min 50 sec)

Compare to:

Skywalker X5

Skywalker Falcon

Sonicmodell HD Wing
Posted by smoothvirus | May 17, 2016 @ 10:51 AM | 8,205 Views
Here's the third installment of my Budget FPV Build article. Prices for FPV components continue to fall and you can now get a really nice full setup for just over $500. If you decide not to buy a high res video camera that brings it down to only about $437! Two years ago I struggled to keep the cost under $1000. The build is also getting simpler as you can now buy the full video setup as one package deal for about $100.

This year I really wanted to recommend Stone Blue Airlines Phoenix 56" but the kit is $134.99 and that does not include the electronics like servos, motor, or ESC. Made out of EPP foam, it's a more durable plane than the Bix3, but the goal here is to keep the costs as low as possible, while avoiding cheap junk.

I am still a fan of the RMRC Surfer but the price has climbed slightly so I left it out this year. However if you are in the USA and the Bix3 is sold out, then the Surfer is a perfectly acceptable alternative for only a few dollars more.

The components I'm selecting here might not be something I'm flying but are well regarded in the FPV community.

Like my other blog posts this will be a work in progress and your input is welcome!

* - A word of caution, a lot of these items are very popular and can become hard to find during flying season in the northern hemisphere (April-November).


HobbyKing™ Bix3 Trainer/FPV EPO 1550mm (PNF) $89.74

Main Battery + Charger

Turnigy...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 21, 2016 @ 02:03 PM | 9,049 Views
Copied from Reddit but I'll redact the user's name:

Hey there - I picked up your name from a reply to a post 9 months ago.
I've recently put together a decent quadcopter build with FPV gear. I've been thinking how nice it would be to have a plane to tool around using some of the gear that is easy to borrow from the quad (mainly just the Tx, the "goggles", etc).
Is there a major difference between the Skywalker / Bixler / Skysurfer? Wondering if they are basically different badges put on very similar products. Also there are at least 3 versions of the Bixler - is one the "best"?
At the moment I was thinking of just having the standard gear (2 servos and esc) and FPV equipment. I'm seeing some other gear for flight stabilization, GPS for "return to home", etc. Is any of that gear pretty much a must have? I've seen a few setups that are just ridiculously complicated, and am interested in getting the best bang for the buck.
I'd like to buy whichever plane in a kit. I'd love to get the servos and motor, etc, but do not want the Rx/Tx because I feel they would be weak-ish and I'd rather use my Turnigy with the FrSky module - upgraded to ErSky9x.
I'd appreciate any direction you might have the time to provide.
The Skywalker, Bix, and Skysurfer are all on a similar layout but the Skywalker is a little different.

Skywalker - a venerable and proven FPV platform. There are several different models available....Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 05, 2016 @ 11:07 AM | 10,103 Views
So I have been flying FPV for going on three years now, and thought I understood what the Fresnel zone was, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong. I thought the FZ was something you "flew into", as in, flying behind a building on 5.8 would be "flying into the Fresnel zone." Alas, this is completely incorrect.

I was doing some web surfing on the FZ and stumbled across this illustration:

..and BANG! I realized I have been wrong all along about what the Fresnel zone is.

The definition from that site is this:
The Fresnel zone is a football-shaped space between two transceivers – the longer the distance and the lower the frequency, the further across the Fresnel zone is.
Of course, for our application, the FZ would be a football-shaped space between a transmitter and a receiver.

I found this site useful as well, for visualizing what is going on.

Since I tend to be a very visual person, I made a quick illustration of what I think it might look like if you could actually see the FZ from the point of view of your video receiving antenna. Please forgive the MS Paint cartoon version of my flying site, and I can't claim that it's completely scientifically accurate.

So, in my illustration there are two FPV aircraft flying at the same distance away from the receiver. One has a 1.3ghz VTX and the other has a 5.8ghz VTX. The FZ would probably look a bit more "swirly" if I was using CP...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Oct 08, 2015 @ 04:38 PM | 14,131 Views
Wingspan: 1300mm
Length: 830mm
Flying Weight: 1000~2000g
Wing Area: 30 sq. dm.

Parts List:
X-UAV Mini Talon

Mini Talon Power Package
(no longer available! This came with a SunnySky X2216-1250, a 30A ESC, Emax servos, and a 8x4 and a 8x6 prop)

Eagle Tree - Vector FPV Controller

Vector Airspeed Expander with Pitot

CXN - Mini Talon FPV Pod

Runcam Swift - IR Block - Orange

CXN - FPV Camera Pan/Tilt (32x32mm)

RunCam HD2 - Orange

EZUHF 8 Channel Lite Receiver

Dragonlink - Rx Antenna with 12" (30cm) Cable

Graupner E-Prop 8x5

1.3 GHZ Video Transmitter Antenna - 3 CM Extension

RMRC - 1.3GHz 400mW Transmitter - US VERSION

HENGE MD260 260 Degrees Metal Digital Servo ( for camera pan)

RCGroups Thread

Rangler's Blog

UAV Experiment

X-UAV Mini Talon Build


Mini Talon X-UAV Build Number 2

Mini Talon EAGLETREE Vector Config

Mini-Review X-UAV Mini Talon

YouTube Mini Talon playlist

Four Props for the Mini Talon

Cobra 2221/12-1250kv vs. SunnySky 2216-1250kv

Overpropping the SS 2216-1250kv

An important note about the CG

Control Surface Throws

MarkQ Stuff

Mini Talon Parts Compilation

Compare To:

Mini Sky Hunter
Posted by smoothvirus | Aug 19, 2015 @ 10:51 AM | 14,527 Views
1) Make incremental increases in flight distance, 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles

2) Do 360 degree turns intermittently to check your video and control link against changes in polarization

3) Fly into the wind on the way out, glide back with the wind

4) Maintain a 10:1 altitude ratio (500ft to 1 mile away) to avoid Fresnel Zone violations

5) Plan your flight on google maps beforehand to get a feeling for the area

6) Set a clear goal and fly to it and back, donít detour, stick to the plan

7) Fly in a place where you can recover your aircraft should it go down

8) Get comfortable! Be prepared for anything including a bathroom break

9) Donít push through interference, better to come back and refine your setup instead of losing an aircraft

10) Static happens, keep calm and donít jerk the controls

11) Stay level in the turns to maintain polarization

12) Long range is in your head. A trusted aircraft will go as far as your control/video

13) Turn around when you start to see snow, get control glitches, hit your battery limit, or hit your goal

14) Record your flights with a DVR. Even if you donít lose your plane it can be helpful for diagnosing problems in the air

15) If possible, fly along a long stretch of road. Use it as a reference, and use it to drive to your aircraft should it go down

16) When testing battery constraints fly out Ĺ mile and back until the
...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Jul 12, 2015 @ 02:31 PM | 14,572 Views
The Sabre will soon be the newest model of FPV aircraft from Finwing, known for their excellent Penguin FPV plane. Finwing graciously sent a pre production sample of this new plane for me to review. I only received the airframe kit so all the electronics I am installing in it are my own. I'll be using the Eflite Power 25 for a motor since I have a spare one in the shop.

Parts List:

Finwing Sabre 1900 FPV/UAV Elite - Basic

Finwing 390 Mini Pan & Tilt

RMRC - 1.3GHz 800mW* Transmitter - US VERSION

VAS - 1.3 GHz Airscrew Ultra Antenna RHCP

Transmitter Cable (Large Plug)

EZUHF 8 Channel Lite Receiver

Eagle Tree - Vector FPV Controller Package

Vector Airspeed Expander with Pitot

Scorpion SII-3020-890 V2 Brushless Motor

60-Amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless ESC

Xoar 11x5 PJN Electric Series Beechwood Propeller

RunCam 600TVL Plastic Housing FPV Camera - US
-note: the...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | May 11, 2015 @ 09:09 AM | 11,953 Views
This is a quick .kmz file I whipped up for planning any kind of long range or high altitude FPV flying. In this case, long range is anything more than 3000' range and anything over 400' AGL altitude.

The blue areas are places where any kind of long range flying is not recommended. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive map and the only consideration is to keep clear of airports and manned aviation traffic. There are sensitive areas like military bases, nuclear power plants, and prisons that aren't marked here (with the exception of Camp David) but I would recommend staying away from them as well. I also did not mark small private airstrips.

If you're planning any kind of long range FPV operations I would also strongly recommend checking SkyVector and consulting the aeronautical charts before attempting any flights.

As you can see, most of Northern Virginia is blocked out so I actually have to drive quite a long way if I want to do any kind of long range flying.
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 22, 2015 @ 02:09 PM | 14,339 Views
I spent a long time doing research into FPV before I ever flew FPV, as in about a year or so, just researching the technology. At the same time I was buying up all the parts I would need to pull it off.

One of the questions I get all the time is where to find all this FPV knowledge. So in this post I will provide links to the information that I feel helped me out the most. I'm a very visual person so most of this is going to be videos.

It's admittedly a lot to sit through but if you watch all these videos the chances of your being successful at flying FPV the first time out will increase exponentially!

All Things That Fly #220
First of all, this episode of the All Things That Fly podcast cleared up a lot of questions for me:
note - some of the AMA rules discussed in the podcast are no longer in effect.

GSTV - Getting Started in FPV - Picking Your System
This video is meant to help those starting out in FPV with some advice on getting started on picking out an FPV system.
GSTV - Getting Started in FPV - Picking Your System (15 min 39 sec)

Stone Blue Airlines - Success in FPV
One of the best places to start is to work all the way through this series of videos hosted by Alex Greve (IBCrazy). This series will give you an excellent foundation of knowledge to get started with.

You can view the playlist on YouTube here:

Success in FPV Intro (1 min 23 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 18, 2015 @ 02:33 PM | 14,124 Views
I already have the Budget Build from last year down to $60 cheaper! More packages and more availability this year so putting this package together is much simpler.
Note that this will really be more of a "bang for the buck" build than a real "budget" build. Anyhow I get asked this question at the field all the time by people who are interested in flying FPV but might not have a big enough wallet to purchase a bunch of very expensive equipment. Granted, I'm on a bit of a budget myself, but I spent more than a year buying up components before I finally made it into the air!
The components I'm selecting here might not be something I'm flying but are well regarded in the FPV community.
A word of caution, a lot of these items are very popular and can become very hard to find during flying season in the northern hemisphere (April-November).
Like my other blog posts this will be a work in progress and your input is welcome! Keep in mind that this is also a bit of an experiment to see how low I can keep the costs.


HobbyKing™ Bix3 Trainer/FPV EPO 1550mm (PNF) $105.21


RMRC Surfer 1500 - PNP (Includes Installed Servos, Motor, ESC) $97.99

Main Battery + Charger

I forgot to add a battery charger to last year's build, I selected an AC/DC charger here but if you want to power the charger off of a car battery you can get a DC charger...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Oct 10, 2014 @ 09:31 AM | 16,116 Views
I told myself that I wouldn't be buying any more aircraft for the fleet this season, way back in the spring.

Anyway for 2014 the Sky Mule, and the 3DHS 51" Slick joined the fleet, and now a new multirotor will be added as well.

Parts List:
Blackout Mini H Quad Frame

Full Naze 32 - Flight Controller

Cobra 2204 2300kv (four)

Rotorgeeks 12A BLHeli ESC V4 (four)

Gemfan 5030 DD (lots of them!)

FrSKY D4R-II Receiver

SMA male to SMA female right angle jack pigtail

FatShark - 250mW 5.8GHz A/V Transmitter

VAS - 5.8 GHz Cloverleaf Whip Antenna (RHCP) Single, Straight

PZ0420 600TVL D-WDR Color Board Camera with OSD Menu DNR

Mobius Action Camera 1080P HD Mini Sports Cam

Naze32 Manual

Blackout Mini H FPV build questions

Blackout Mini H Quad - 220mm - Carbon Fiber - Built for FPV

Assembly Manual

D4R + Naze32 = Taranis Telemetry Heaven

Naze32 Wiki PID tuning

Naze32 Wiki

Blackout's Build Thread

TheBakedBeans's Build Log

FinalGuideAus Build Log

CleanFlight Setup Tuning Guide for Naze32 / CC3D

Flite Test Naze 32 Board Setup

Naze32 Setup Guide

CleanFlight Setup Tuning Guide for Naze32 / CC3D