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Transitioning to the FPV
162 4 7-22 11:12
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Chaosrider
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Flight distance : 1226762 ft
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To put this in context, I've been a technical writer for 100 years, and I decided that I'm going to put together a formal guide for transitioning to the DJI FPV. I very much wanted a document like this one when I started flying FPV, and not finding one, I made up my own training plan, which worked well.

I had exactly one training accident during my transition to Manual Mode. I managed to kill one of the batteries, but other than that, the damage was minor. I replaced one prop, put in a new battery, and I was back in the air immediately.

I got into a discussion with DJI about the event, and they suggested that I send the drone, with the battery, in for diagnostics, and replace the battery if needed. Since the aircraft was flying, I was reluctant to do that, but when I started to notice what seemed to be a slow response when I "punched out" to go back to Normal mode, I decided it was worth getting that diagnostic done to see if anything else had gotten dinged up in the process.

I got my replacement FPV and new battery back Wednesday. Thursday I finally managed to get all of the components linked up again (a bit of an ordeal), and I did a quick flight in Normal mode as a systems check. Today I've done a couple of Sport Mode Flights, and tomorrow, I'll be making the step back up to Manual Mode.

One of my motivations for writing this is to try to reduce the fear and intimidation factor for people who might be interested in trying out the FPV. To de-mystify the transition process. FPV flying isn't for everyone, but I think more people would buy one and enjoy it, if they could get an idea of what it would take to learn to fly it, before they buy it.

Today I'm requesting input of two different kinds:

1) Suggestions from existing FPV pilots about what worked for them, what didn't, and what they think beginning FPV pilots should know and do.
2) Questions from people who are interested in FPV flying, but haven't flown an FPV yet.

The initial draft is attached. I very much look forward to your comments!

8-)

22-07-22 DJI Mini-2 to FPV Transition Guide.pdf

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7-22 11:12
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luciens
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For me, there are two main standouts when I took up FPV some years ago:

First, FPV is a totally different experience from line-of-sight flying. It's closer to manned aviation than to line-of-sight RC, and if you have manned aviation flight time it can help you a little bit. I was also a private pilot (fixed wing) for a number of years, and that helped slightly. If you have helicopter time, that might help a little more. So, you have to be ready to more or less totally relearn how to fly, even if you have manned aviation flight time. It will help a little bit, but still it's a big transition to FPV.

Second, start with a simulator. Don't even bother starting with an actual FPV aircraft of any type, you'll just crash and lose the investment. With today's simulators, you don't need to do this anyway. All you need is a compatible RC controller and a decent computer. The DRL simulator, available on Steam, is the best one of the ones I tried. The advantage here is you can crash and crash and crash as much as you want for free. And the experience is close enough to a real FPV aircraft to get you to a skill level where you'll be able to fly the real thing without just crashing immediately.

Anyway, those are the two main items I remember from learning FPV from the start. I started about 10 years ago, when the equipment was awful compared to today. The drones flew terrible and all we had was really awful analogue video in awful little Fatshark goggles. Today the tech is so much better, and simulators are head and shoulders ahead of where they were 10 years ago. So that's how I'd start if I were starting from scratch today.
7-23 07:02
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Chaosrider
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luciens Posted at 7-23 07:02
For me, there are two main standouts when I took up FPV some years ago:

First, FPV is a totally different experience from line-of-sight flying. It's closer to manned aviation than to line-of-sight RC, and if you have manned aviation flight time it can help you a little bit. I was also a private pilot (fixed wing) for a number of years, and that helped slightly. If you have helicopter time, that might help a little more. So, you have to be ready to more or less totally relearn how to fly, even if you have manned aviation flight time. It will help a little bit, but still it's a big transition to FPV.

The feeling of being in the cockpit with the FPV is just incomparable. To me, it feels just like it feels to be in a manned aircraft, and that's what I was looking for all along.

I couldn't disagree more about the *requirement* for simulator training first. I think it's a good idea, but you can learn to fly in Manual mode without it. I did, and I only crashed once, on my 2nd Manual mode flight, due to failure to follow one of my own training rules. With a fresh battery and replacing one prop, it was back in the air the next morning, and I never crashed again.

The key to doing that successfully is to have a specific training plan for yourself, that's very incremental, and has fairly aggressive "punch out" rules. I'm sure my fixed wing time helped, not so much with the specific flight characteristics of the FPV, but with the more general knowledge of troubleshooting and dealing with issues live, in-flight.

The DJI FPV isn't optimal as a camera drone, but the goggles are awesome, and the 4K footage from the drone card is quite good. Even the 1080p footage that gets recorded on the goggles card is good, for 1080P.

Thx!

:-)
7-23 10:05
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luciens
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Chaosrider Posted at 7-23 10:05
The feeling of being in the cockpit with the FPV is just incomparable. To me, it feels just like it feels to be in a manned aircraft, and that's what I was looking for all along.

I couldn't disagree more about the *requirement* for simulator training first. I think it's a good idea, but you can learn to fly in Manual mode without it. I did, and I only crashed once, on my 2nd Manual mode flight, due to failure to follow one of my own training rules. With a fresh battery and replacing one prop, it was back in the air the next morning, and I never crashed again.

I don't actually disagree with you. In fact, I would say in the absence of a simulator, I agree you can teach yourself on the FPV drone, or even a regular camera drone with the FPV feed. If you fly in normal mode, solely with reference to the FPV feed on a camera drone, you can learn the basics of the controls and what it looks like from the FPV perspective.

That's actually how I did it the very very first time. I had a Phantom I which I mounted a 5.8ghz analog cam and transmitter to and an old pair of Fatshark goggles. I just learned to hover it FPV in normal mode and just let go of the sticks when I got truly goofed up.

Later when I got the first DJI goggles and a Phantom 4, I had a better situation. And after that, I started building traditional hexacopters and quads with analog video, and that's how I learned to fly in manual mode.

If you have the FPV drone, you can do it the same way.

I'm only referring to if you have no FPV time of any sort at all and you want to start with a traditional FPV quad that only has either manual mode or the strange "atti mode"-like mode in Betaflight quads. There I would recommend the sim first....
7-23 10:51
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Chaosrider
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luciens Posted at 7-23 10:51
I don't actually disagree with you. In fact, I would say in the absence of a simulator, I agree you can teach yourself on the FPV drone, or even a regular camera drone with the FPV feed. If you fly in normal mode, solely with reference to the FPV feed on a camera drone, you can learn the basics of the controls and what it looks like from the FPV perspective.

That's actually how I did it the very very first time. I had a Phantom I which I mounted a 5.8ghz analog cam and transmitter to and an old pair of Fatshark goggles. I just learned to hover it FPV in normal mode and just let go of the sticks when I got truly goofed up.

Actually, I didn't change to the FPV setting on my Minis, until I saw how cool it was when i was flying my FPV!

I'd have done some sim time if DJI had a sim for Android, but they don't. So I figured, "How hard can this be?" I'll just take it slow", and I gave it a shot. My first day of my FPV self-training went like this:

My first day, on my first FPV flight, I didn't even wear the goggles; I just had them on my forehead. I launched the drone into the air, and just let it hover for a bit. Then I rotated it 360º in both directions. Then I moved it slightly left and right, and slightly forward and backward. Then slightly up, and slightly down. At that point I knew it handled just like a big, fat Mini-2, and I made the bold and daring step of flying it down to the end of my driveway (about 100 ft) and back. Then, in another bold and daring step, I put the goggles on, and repeated those maneuvers.

The eventual switch to Manual mode was a Very Big Deal by comparison, but the incremental approach, only doing more complicated things when I've mastered more basic things, worked just fine.

:-)

TCS
7-23 13:22
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