Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Road to FPV (Part One)

Over the summer my nine year old kept asking us to buy him a “drone”. I didn’t know much about it besides the fact that my dad recently bought something called the DJI Phantom 4. Little did I know a couple months later I would be the one carrying on about drones, watching YouTube videos and making a plan for my new hobby. Here are the details about how I got interested in first person view (FPV) multi rotor aircraft and my initial plan for easing into the hobby.

During our summer vacation my son continued to bring up the drone thing and I realized it wasn’t just a passing interest. I decided to use it as a teaching experience and asked him to do some research about drones so he could pick out the best one for him. Since this gave him an excuse to search the internet he jumped at the opportunity and started making a basic spreadsheet with the different options. In order to properly help I also had to learn about them and began doing my own research. I quickly found there was a huge range of different options ranging from $20 to over $1,200. Most of the options we looked at had cameras, which seemed like a very interesting feature and a must have to keep his interest. Some of the drones had altitude hold, which let you take your hands off the throttle and it would just hover in place. I also found out the smaller less expensive ones had a battery life of around TEN minutes, which seemed really short. Once we finished the spreadsheet he quickly lost interest and all was forgotten for the time being.

A few weeks later I was using the Periscope app on my Apple TV and this guy Mr Steele was broadcasting live from a mall parking lot so I took a look. He never ended up flying but it seemed interesting so I did a quick YouTube search and found his channel. Over the next half an hour I probably watched 10 different videos and was hooked. The channel is a mix of footage shot from a GoPro mounted on his quadcopter, very short vlogs and some instructional videos.
Some of my favorite videos on Mr. Steele’s channel:

At this point I was extremely interested in the world of racing quadcopters and decided it was something I was going to look into doing, not the racing, but the flying of this type of aircraft. However rather than just diving in and spending a ton of money right away, I decided to come up with a plan for this new hobby and how I would work my way up the rungs of the ladder in the correct order. This is the first in a series of blog posts documenting my plan and the execution of that plan.
My Road to FPV (Part Two)