fpv rc planes

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by KeepYourChinUp, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    Hey guys, so I just stumbled across fpv rc planes last night and spent the better part of 6 hours watching youtube videos on them and oh my god I think I've just descovered my future hobby.

    It looks incredibly fun, so much better than flying in 3rd person because you can actually see your planes location all the time, see your enviroment and you feel so much more immersed, like you're actually flying the plane.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrSEyS-GpZs


    So anyone here fly fpv planes? If so did you build your own and what plane do you recommend for an absolute beginner?
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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  3. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    Those drones simply don't compare to the type of drone I linked. It's called a Skywalker X8 and they retail at about £150. Obviously that is just the plane and you need a lot of extra things for it to be the best it can be. Those android drones just look like normal rc quadcopters.
     
  4. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    You asked a general question 'Who fly's FPV planes?'
    I did not say they were comparable, although the MRP for the Parrot is $300.00.
    If you want specific FPV Plane details and recommendations, I suggest a RC forum!
    Max.
     
  5. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Geo, one of our AAC moderators is actively involved in this. I'm sure you will hear from him.
     
  6. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    Yes I know, sorry if I seemed a bit dismissive of your post, I didn't mean it to come across that way.
     
  7. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    Yup, here I am!

    We had a similar thread not long ago. Read a bit on it too :http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/showthread.php?t=95803

    Some prerequisites; keep them in mind to keep your hopes in check.

    1. You first need to know how to fly RC planes manually and in visual contact. There's no way around it. You must know how to walk first, in order to walk through a camera with latency later. Don't buy the X8 for your first plane. Buy something along these lines: http://www.rcmodelcentre.co.uk/st-model-discovery-artf-trainer/prod_22217.html
    If you already know how to fly RC planes, then disregard this post. Otherwise, we need to expand on this.

    2. FPV equipment isn't cheap. I'd wager you'll need around $1000 on equipment and tools to get a plane in the air. Be prepared for that.

    3. This is primarilly a hobby for programmers and electronic engineers. You need to know your soldering, wiring, programming, motors and signal conditioning. I don't mean that you need to get a degree to fly an FPV plane, but questions you will naturally have along the way, will get answered much more intuitively if you know your electrons. Oh, and you won't get frustrated when an EEPROM needs flashing, because you'll already know what those words mean.

    There's a lot more in this discussion, but we're not going anywhere. Ask away.

    One last thing: I'd advise you not to go for an X8. From what I hear, it has some flight characteristics not suited for beginners. Go for a Skyhunter, Talon or FX-79 Buffalo instead.
     
  8. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I agree with everything Georacer has said.

    I have been an avid modeler and RC flyer for more than 60 years. FPV is a new thrill; although, I have never done it. Our endeavors have been limited to just mounting cameras to the models.

    Let me also add a couple of comments about FPV and public perception in the hope that no one will act irresponsibly and bring a government clamp down on the hobby/sport.

    Some individuals have done some really foolish things with FPV. It doesn't take much imagination to realize the nexus between FPV as an exciting hobby and its use as a weapon or for other negative purposes (e.g., invasion of privacy). Thus, governments around the world have been on top of it for many years. In some countries, it is almost impossible to fly an RC model -- not even FPV -- without a clearance.

    The Academy of Model Aeronautics in the US has been a leader in working with the US government to develop regulations that will allow continued enjoyment of the activity while protecting public safety. Here is a link to the main site: http://www.modelaircraft.org/

    Hopefully, this link to the current recommendations will also work. If not, search the main site for FPV: https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/550.pdf FWIW, I believe some recent incidents blamed on models will/have result(ed) in increasing the no-fly restriction from 3 miles to 5 miles from full-scale airports.

    Regards, John
     
  9. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Privacy and personal safety are not in the US Constitution. Why is the federal government so concerned? If they are, they should be frying some much bigger fish before they get to FPVs.
     
  10. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    What jpanhalt sure applies in general, but many US citizens make the mistake of trying to enforce FAA (a US regulating body) rules to international members.
    Do your own research and learn what are the regulation and restrictions that apply to you and your country.

    Also, debates over the FAA reasoning are abundant over at DIYDrones and RCGroups (and don't really go anywhere). We could discuss it in a different thread, this is more on the educational/beginner side.
     
  11. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  12. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    Thanks for the information Geo. I live in the UK and although I've not actually read through the CAA regulations yet I'm assuming common sense plays a large part. Don't fly it near airports, don't fly it low or close to buildings and don't use it in restricted airspace.

    I'll read the regulations when I have time but thanks for the recommendations. I've never flown an RC plane before but to me it seems fpv would be easier than 3rd person view for the simple reason that you can see where you plane is heading and you know if the plane is dipping, turning etc.

    Trying to fly a plane from the ground when it's at 100ft seems extremely difficult. Anyway I'll be sure to start with a cheap plane as I expect to crash it often and when I do fly fpv I'll be sure to use a cheap camera to start in case I crash it.
     
  13. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    I wouldn't say FPV is more intuitive to control than 3rd person. The main reason is the lack of visual, haptic and auditory cues.
    When you fly FPV you look through a screen with a very narrow field, often with low quality image compared to your eyesight. Your peripheral vision is non-existent. You can't feel any accelerations and thus can't "feel" the tendencies of your vehicle. You don't know if your plane is suddenly rising or falling and this isn't immediately perceivable via a video channel. Finally, you can't hear your plane; the camera sound only picks up the wind static, which almost everybody mutes. As a result, you can't hear if your motor suddenly stops, is struggling or you lose a propeller mid-flight.

    Much like driving, flying in manned aircraft is a full-sensory experience, which isn't translated well in RC FPV yet.
    What you are left with, is a vehicle which you must fly by knowing its response to your every command beforehand!
     
  14. monster_catfish

    Active Member

    Mar 17, 2011
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    Hello KeepYourChinUp, please consider investing in a good RC flight simulator so that you can master the basics of avoiding stalls, "reversing" your aileron and rudder control inputs when the bird is flying inbound towards you, and, most critically of all, landing your fragile model in as controlled and gentle a manner as possible.

    Comparably priced PhoenixRC and Real Flight dominate the RC simulator market, with users of both those products as outspokenly loyal as are Ford and Chevy owners to their wheels of preference. I prefer PhoenixRc because the helicopters seemed more well, realistic, to me than they did in my earlier version of Real Flight.

    Additionally, PhoenixRC still offers FREE updates for the rest of all time, or until a policy change occurs, which is one heck of a deal not offered by anyone else. Both Phoenix and Real Flight offer live on-line group flying sessions where you can learn from and fly with skilled pilots from around the globe.

    If don't feel inclined to shell out $250USD for PhoenixRC, then ClearView is a FREE RC simulator download, that only requires payments averaging $10, for each additional flying model you wish to buy in addition to the basic two models that come with the free download. Another free RC simulator download is FMS, but FMS can be a bit finicky about your computer's operating system, and its external scenery leaves much to be desired.

    If each RC plane crash serves to improve your piloting skills, then that learning process can be shifted into overdrive with just a few patient hours of practice using an RC simulator, where there is NEVER a repair bill after each crash, and never a delay before getting airborne again with a tap of the reset button, making the RC pilot training a fun and completely stress-free process, with no nail-biting pucker-factor involved.

    Having "earned your wings" in the virtual world of RC simulator practice, your foray into FPV flight will progress with one major source of worry all but eliminated, namely pilot error. As Geo mentioned, the electronics assembly of a FPV model can get pretty involved, what with all the possible ways the best laid plans could literally crash and burn, but the RCG website is a gold-mine of useful and cost-saving expertise available for the asking to anyone young or old with a passion for RC flight.
     
  15. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    some friends of mine, who stayed in rc planes, have been making rc planes out of the house insulating foam. the flexable 1/4 inch thick type, cut out resembling the cheap balsawood flyers from the stores. a few rubberbands hold the wings and tail on, and all other parts are free to fall ooff in a crash too. much cheaper and extremely easy to fix in a crash than a rc model plane.
     
  16. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    This was a Foamy I put together for my grandson.
    $7.00 for the sheet of foam.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOixZFAyoik
    Max.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  17. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
    6
    1
    I thought you pilot them using high quality goggles paired with a decent camera you should get a good quality video relay with about 160degree fov?

    I've seen people flying them using the 2inch screen on their controller by forget that, the whole point of flying in fpv is so you can enjoy the experience of seeing the landscape and enjoying the beauty.

    Who in their right mind would pay hundreds of pounds only to fpv with a pixalated 2inch screen? Forget that!

    Thanks for the other comments, I'll be sure to fly 3rd person first.
     
  18. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    834
    417
    Hi,

    One thing to bear in mind is that you almost certainly will not be seeing the crystal clear 1080p video you see in that video. I would guess that that was recorded video and not what the pilot was seeing.

    I would hazard a guesstimate at the quality of around 240p would be more akin to what you would be seeing, along with some 'noise'.

    What Geo says about being physically being removed from the aircraft makes a lot of sense. I am dreadful at racing car games - even with a steering wheel and pedals, I couldn't ever drive around the streets on Need for Speed. But I can still drive quite well (hehe) in real life. The difference? I am getting feedback from the controls in real life, I am feeling the acceleration in real life, and I am capable of giving instant corrections when needed. FPV wouldn't be at all intuitive as flying in real life would be for the same reasons. In real life, you can feel the engines reaction to maneuvers, you can feel when the plane is stalling, and you can apply corrections accordingly. Being removed from this removes a significant part of the experience, which only makes it harder.

    Sparky
     
  19. KeepYourChinUp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2014
    6
    1
    Yeah I'm inclined to agree with you. Why is the video quality so poor just because it's being relayed? So it isn't the camera that creates the bad image, it's just when the image is transmitted to your goggles, the quality is lower, is there anyway to counter that? Like with a better transceiver or something?

    The only reason I'm interested in fpv is for the sole reason of seeing the landscape from a pilots point of view. If all I'm going to get is a dull choppy video then there isn't much point in it.
     
  20. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
    5,142
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    The video downlink with the current means is done by analog transmission. This is the first hurdle, which limits both image quality (no checksums, picks up static/interference) and bandwidth.
    In turn, the video is received by an analog receiver which drives a 640x480screen at most. Pixels are clearly visible in that resolution but thanks to the moving picture you tend to ignore them.
    Finally, radio communications are sure to black out if obstacles come in the way of you and your plane.
    A tree is enough to stop a 5.8GHz transmission.
    A barn will block 2.4GHz.
    A hill will block 1.2GHz.
    You can't really find equipment lower than that.

    This is a more realistic FPV live sample:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmD1ZB85czU (top left is the actual live footage)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AiNmPHqsMk

    Antennae are also an important component in this mix, since we are talking analog transmissions.
     
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