Basic FPV Flight Training- Teaching a 7 year old how to fly FPV. - RC Groups
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Oct 09, 2007, 02:41 PM
Just trying to get a nut.
scrtsqrl's Avatar

Basic FPV Flight Training- Teaching a 7 year old how to fly FPV.

Here's my newest science project:
I am to teaching my 7 year old how to fly FPV. The goal is to have him "solo", specified for this exerise as: to fly the aircraft for at least 5 minutes from launch to landing w/o any verbal or physical input from me.

I will document his progress here as a "how to" guide to FPV flying.

For starters, I've broken up FPV flying into Two basic skills which have specific associated tasks that he needs to able to reliably perform in order to "solo":

1. Controlling the Aircraft
- Turns
- Climbs
- Descents
- Loops
- Recover from unusual attitudes
- Take-off
- Landings

2. Navigation.
- Camera work
- Recognizing checkpoints on the ground
- Position keeping over an area
- Navigating to a specified point
- Finding his way home

He has had four flights to his credit. He has thus far learned to Turn, Climb, Descend, do loops and recover from unusual attitudes. He was able to Land once today. Additionally, he can be trusted to maintain position over a specified area and shows some initial understanding of getting from one place to another.

In a later posts, I will catalog the tasks I asked him to perform for each flight and the rational...

My intent is to help beginners along the way and maybe provide everyone with some comic relief.
Last edited by scrtsqrl; Oct 10, 2007 at 10:15 AM.
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Oct 09, 2007, 03:25 PM
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skunkworks2006's Avatar
Sounds like a great thread. Good work.
Oct 09, 2007, 03:46 PM
Experimental pilot
With today's "video game" generation I wouldn't be surprised if you let him go out alone from day one, he could outfly us all that are over 30 within a week's time!!

Oct 09, 2007, 07:59 PM
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JMSTECH's Avatar
Boy scrtsqrl, you come up with some good ideas. What do you eat every morning? Sounds like you might lay out the first format to train new recruits in mass quantity!
Oct 09, 2007, 08:49 PM
Robot, RC Pilot & Builder :-)
kevinhines's Avatar
SecretSquirrel, This is just too cool. What a great father/child idea! I have two kids, and I also mentor school robotics teams, and if I could get the kids excited about something like this, I'd like that a lot.

What airplane is your son flying? Is he flying with the camera on a pan & tilt setup? Does he already know how to fly the old-fashioned way (without FPV)? Is he wearing goggles? When you are teaching him, are you looking at him, the plane and/or the video image?

What advice do you have for others who would want to try something similar?

Please post some pictures of your setup.

I look forward to keeping up with this project you two are experiencing together.

Oct 09, 2007, 10:15 PM
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PeteSchug's Avatar
This sounds very risky to me.

You are probably going to have to buy him his own plane so you can get to fly once in a while.

He will probably beat you at FPV dogfighting when he does get his own plane.

Sounds like great fun. I can only envy both of you. He is the part of first generation brought up in a world with FPV. He certainly picked the right father.

Oct 10, 2007, 09:25 AM
Registered User
I think I'll have my daughter try this at 16 months old! Got to be 1 up on scsq
Oct 10, 2007, 10:10 AM
Just trying to get a nut.
scrtsqrl's Avatar

Flight 1- Turns & Camera Work

I'd like to describe my methodology. I don't claim that this is the only way, only that it worked for me when I was learning how to fly and that it is so far working for my son. He had zero experience flyng rc conventionally, like me. He has no real flight time.

The key is breaking down complex skills into little managable tasks. These tasks should be "teachable" within a flight and repeatable during succeeding flights. The sequence that these tasks are performed by the student is dictated by their difficulty and general risk to the aircraft. One introduces the student to the easiest and least risky tasks first and progressively ratchets up the difficulty and risk. The idea is that each simple task mastered contributes to more complex tasks that follow, thus allowing the instructor to manage the risk of a crash.

About the student
We are raising him in the "old school". He has had very little time on the TV, zero time with game consoles and some time on a computer keyboard. He has however played quite a bit of sports since he was three. He is able to distinguish and accept instructions that are restrictive ("thou shall not...") and specific ("thou shall...")

The Airplane
We are using our trusty EasyStar. It is configured as light as possible with a stock motor which gives us a very stable & slow airplane. It reliably stays airborne for over 30 minutes on one charge. This avoids breaking up instruction thus improving the learning curve.

The Flight Conditions
He only flies when:
The winds are less than 4kts & the sun is not within our field of view.

Conduct of Flight

The goal of the first flight was to teach him how to turn and work the camera.

It always starts with a brief formatted the same way all the time:

Task: I explained to him that for today, all we would do is learn to turn and look around.
Technique: Limit his lateral control throws to about 1/4 of a stick deflection (specific instruction) and for now, any pitch and throttle inputs are forbidden (restrictive).
Standard: He should be able to distinguish through the goggles if he is turning or wings level. He should be able to initiate and stop a turn on command.

I launched the plane and climbed to an altitude of 200'. Once at altitude, properly trimmed and confident that the plane was functioning normally, I first gave him the goggles while I maintained control of the airplane. At this point, I Demonstrated a couple of turns. Once he felt confident enough that he understood what he needed to do, I handed him the controls and Introduced (I let him do it for the first time) him to turning. I hovered closely just in case he over controled or did something wrong...fortunately he followed instructions and was able to start and stop a turn on command. From then on he was Practicing turns. All this time I monitored his progress visually and through the DVR screen.

Once he had his turns down, I had him manipulate the camera. For now, only in pan. I had him look around for "check points" which we would later use tod define our "working area", all the while giving him "turn/roll right', "turn/roll left", and "stop turn/wings level" commands to navigate.

Once I was happy he was able to turn and operate the camera, I took him off the goggles and had him relinquish controls back to me. I spent some time in the air for my proficeincy and landed just before we ran out of juice. All told, he was at the controls, on goggles for around 15 minutes. I think more than that, his attention span would wane and cause him to start doing stupid things.

In summary for the first flight we completed the following tasks:
Turns (Demo'd, Introduced, and Practiced)
Camera work (Demo'd, Introduced and Practiced)

On the next flight we:
Turns (Practice)
Camera work(Practice)
Basic Station Keeping (Demo, Introduce)

I will describe the second flight in a later post. As y'all get more familiar with the teaching techniques and terminology, these posts will become shorter, so please be patient.
Last edited by scrtsqrl; Oct 10, 2007 at 10:33 AM.
Oct 10, 2007, 10:29 AM
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JMSTECH's Avatar
Oct 10, 2007, 01:32 PM
Happy FPV flyer
Kilrah's Avatar
Oct 10, 2007, 11:40 PM
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JMSTECH's Avatar
Originally Posted by Kilrah
Kilrah... I don't know how you find these things.... I thought I didn't sleep .... Now that link is incredible!!!!

And Domoson.... your comment was too funny pal!!!
Last edited by JMSTECH; Oct 11, 2007 at 12:01 AM.
Oct 11, 2007, 03:04 AM
Happy FPV flyer
Kilrah's Avatar
Hmm, I'll ask the one who gave it to me
Oct 11, 2007, 06:35 AM
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PeteSchug's Avatar
Originally Posted by JMSTECH
Kilrah... I don't know how you find these things.... I thought I didn't sleep .... Now that link is incredible!!!!

And Domoson.... your comment was too funny pal!!!
Justin is local. He is from Dumont NJ, which is closer to where I live than where I go to fly. I've got an early video of him sitting on the floor in diapers, flying a sim on a large screen.

He and his father have showed up at the WRAM show for at least the past two years. A sort of quiet celebrity, still much younger than most of the kids there, but already a very capable flyer.

According to his father, he learned the basics entirely on his own, starting by just advancing the throttle until the plane crashed into something, then learning to prolong things by pulling up elevator, and refusing to allow his father to touch the tx until he was done. I think he took verbal instruction once he could fly.

Word has it that he is a very careful pilot but even so, he lost control of a heli in a gust at the NEAT fair and hit someone. Nobody blames him, including the person who was hit. (At least that's the story I heard)

Oct 11, 2007, 06:58 AM
Suspended Account

Tuscon Aerobatic Shootout

Justin flew a 3D demo last week at the TAS with a 90 size nitro helicopter and blew everyone away. The kid is awesome.
Oct 11, 2007, 10:25 PM
Registered User
JMSTECH's Avatar
Simply amazing guys!!! The kid is a amazing!!! I tried to teach my daughter to fly one of those cheap $50.00 helis I bought at the Rat Shack last year. I'm still working on it! At least her interest is there for RC, now if I can only get my wife into it as well! Makes my life a whole lot easier

Oh Kilrah.... cheeky bugger

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