How To Fly FPV Drones

David Lemay06 Jan 2023

Perhaps you've seen some spectacular First-Person-View (FPV) drone footage on YouTube or watched the Drone Racing League where they fly FPV racing drones on television and now you want to learn how to fly one.

What Is an FPV Drone?

FPV means first-person-view. Traditional drones are flown from the perspective of the pilot on the ground. What this means for FPV drone pilots is that they see the same thing the drone does while in flight.  Instead of the pilot's point of view, a camera on the drone's underside allows for a first-person view, allowing the pilot to control the drone from the inside. Much like a bird, or rather, a drone's, eye view.

The FPV drone and the traditional drone look identical from every angle. Traditional drones already have cameras installed or can have them added if the operator is interested in First-Person View (FPV) flight. If the FPV viewer prefers a more traditional perspective, they can have the camera turned off. It really is a matter of individual preference.

FPV drones provide a unique insight from the pilot's seat, allowing for a more exciting and realistic flight experience than is possible with other types of drones.

What Equipment Is Used When Flying FPV Drones?

As mentioned, FPV drones and traditional drones don't physically differ that much. Both are radio-controlled devices that have live-feed cameras installed. A significant aspect of the FPV protocol is the endpoint of the sent video.

FPV pilots control their drones using a live video feed from the drone's camera, as opposed to the ground-based view used in traditional drone flying. The drone sends the video to a screen or video goggles on the ground that can receive and broadcast it.

Any screen, from a 4K cinema display to a smartphone, will work for first-person-view flight. You can use any device as an FPV monitor if it can receive and broadcast the live video feed from the drone with minimal delay.

In contrast, video goggles worn on the head are highly specialized for first-person view (FPV) use. Thus, video goggles provide a more immersive experience and boost the quality of the first-person view like the impression of being "inside" the drone's cockpit. In terms of how they function in practice, video goggles are exactly as advertised. The goggles receive live footage from the drone and display it in real time, allowing the wearer to pilot the drone from a first-person perspective.

How To Learn To Fly FPV Drone

Once you understand how the various controls on a drone work and how they contribute to the overall flight experience, you'll be ready to take off on your own.

If it is your first time piloting a drone, start by slowly pushing the sticks to make the drone make small movements. As you gain confidence, you'll be able to execute more precise motions.

Four Basic Controls

  • To roll, push the right stick to the left or right. This rolls the drone to the left or the right.
  • To pitch, move the right stick forward or backwards. This tilts the drone forward or backwards. 
  • To yaw, turn the left stick to the left or right. This rotates the drone to the left or the right.
  • To throttle, move the left stick forward or backwards. This increases or decreases the drone's altitude.

How To Get Your Drone off the Ground

  • The throttle is the sole control you need to launch your FPV drone.
  • To get the propellers turning, gently lift the throttle (left stick). Then, stop. Do this several times until you find the ideal balance of throttle sensitivity and control.
  • To get the drone off the ground, gradually increase the throttle's position from where it was previously. Finally, bring the drone's throttle back to zero and release it for landing.

How To Hover and Land Your Drone

  • Using the throttle, launch your drone. Then adjust the right stick to hover your drone. You might also need to make a slight adjustment to the yaw (left) control stick as well.
  • Using the throttle, fly your drone approximately one to two feet off the ground.
  • To maintain the drone's hovering position, you'll need to adjust the right stick (and the left, if needed).
  • Reduce throttle gradually as you approach the landing point.
  • Cut the drone's throttle completely when it's hovering an inch or two above the ground.
  • Do this repeatedly until you can confidently hover and land with ease.

How To Fly Your FPV Drone

To fly your drone, you need to maintain the throttle at a constant rate, and use the right stick to guide the drone where you need it to go.

Flying a drone continuously involves rotating and changing directions at the same time. It will take some practice to get adjusted to the drone's viewpoint relative to your own, so you'll need to pay careful attention to how every movement of the control sticks affects the drone's flying.

  • Begin by taking off and hovering.
  • Next, spin or yaw your drone at an angle.
  • Fly it left or right and forward or backward with the right stick. Get used to flying the drone in different directions.
  • Turn it to another angle and maneuver it again using the right stick.
  • Continue doing so until you're confident flying at various angles.
  • Push the right stick forward gently to fly constantly.
  • Push the right stick slightly to the left or right while pressing the right stick forward.
  • Fly in various directions by using the right stick forward (pitch) and moving it left and right, and changing the direction the drone is pointing with the left stick (yaw).
  • Then, use the left stick forward and backwards to change the altitude of the drone (throttle).
  • Continue practicing until you're able to control your drone freely.

How To Fly FPV Racing Drone

Drone racing is an exciting new sport where competitors race at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour through challenging courses. The idea of taking out your drone for a spin with your buddies who are also doing the same thing sounds like a lot of fun, but that is not what we're talking about.

Drone racing is a multilevel sport, with entry-level enthusiasts allowed to participate in their community's league and elite pilots competing for multimillion-dollar payouts at international tournaments.

Armed with the understanding and knowledge of how to fly your FPV drone, all you need to do is to keep flying it and have fun. And when you're ready to compete, all you have to do is join a league that suits your skill level and enter the racing season.

David Lemay

David Lemay

I'm David Lemay, a lover of tech and have had an interest in drones for years. Bought my first few drones, before I started building my own. I want to share my passion with others, so I started this site to help others who want to get into the hobby.

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