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Thread: Quadcopter or Helicopter? Which is better for FPV and why?

  1. #1
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    Quadcopter or Helicopter? Which is better for FPV and why?

    I want to get into flight (just do ground FPV ATM) and wanted to know what aircraft you guys think is better for FPV and why: Quadcopter or Helicopter? Which is better for FPV and why?

    I don't see why both couldn't have autopilot, etc.

    I like the simplicity of the quad (not so many mechanical parts)

    I wonder which is more efficient, and which weighs less. I think a heli would win a competition here.

    Is there really a huge difference in piloting them?

  2. #2
    Navigator Oliver's Avatar
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    Get into flight? Of these two types the quad is way simplest and: more flying - less adjusting plus a lot cheaper when you fail.

    Assuming no experience stay off the heli. Assuming you never flew i would start tossing som foam planes around and save the fpv-gear for a while.

    Wish i could re-live the first flights

  3. #3
    I have flown heli's for a few years, and after flying fpv with my quad i have no interest in fitting the camera to the heli. Flight times between the two are similar compared to size and the quad is a piece of cake to fly compared to a heli, also if you crash a heli the repair cost is way worse than a quad, let alone setting it all up again. Also once you decide plane/quad/heli forget about the fpv aspect at first and just fly it, Get used to the controls (which ever you choose mode 1/2 etc) good luck

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    FPV Addict Scotttu's Avatar
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    Heli's are just plain expensive and high maintenanace, albeit FUN........

    But a quad is where it's at. Not many people FPV heli's, although I'd like to it sure is a lot of money....
    "Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills"- Author unknown

    KF7TRX

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsanchez View Post
    I have flown heli's for a few years, and after flying fpv with my quad i have no interest in fitting the camera to the heli. Flight times between the two are similar compared to size and the quad is a piece of cake to fly compared to a heli, also if you crash a heli the repair cost is way worse than a quad, let alone setting it all up again. Also once you decide plane/quad/heli forget about the fpv aspect at first and just fly it, Get used to the controls (which ever you choose mode 1/2 etc) good luck
    +1 I have dumped my quad a few times on hard landings and have hit a few tree branches. Just turn it right side up and fly. Here is a video of one of my crashes. No damage to quad, if this was heli, I suspect it would have been cheaper to buy a new heli.

    View this video on YouTube

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    And the Unanimous Conclusion is:


    ~QUAD~



    My first aircraft was a 4ch helicopter (Saber). I flew it in short bursts, crashed it alot, hit myself with it, was constantly replacing parts (skis especially)...and then I bought a LIPO upgrade from the Local Hobby Shop...and the battery was connected to the connector wrong. Blew my charger and blew my heli. The LHS gave me a different control unit for the helicopter (Walkera). That blew both servos, in time (maybe they were damaged from the reverse polarity). And the heli was just never the same...pretty much gone. A friend has it now and I could get it back if I wanted but I don't think I want it back. The main problem currently is the tail motor "goes out" and the heli spins uncontrollably--even though all connections are set. I think its that "new" board I got...must be a bad one. Seems there is a gyro to keep the tail in the right place regardless of wind.

    Brings back memories though.

    Quote Originally Posted by sailingeric View Post
    +1 I have dumped my quad a few times on hard landings and have hit a few tree branches. Just turn it right side up and fly. Here is a video of one of my crashes. No damage to quad, if this was heli, I suspect it would have been cheaper to buy a new heli.
    The actual flight looked pretty smooth, especially the touchdown after the crash.

    Do you have autopilot or some sort of electronic stabilizer on your quad? Do you folks think these are an improvement for fpv? I mean I wouldn't mind --wait I have to go do something--"flips switch on transmitter and quad obediently hovers in place"

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    But that's probably another thing. Wind will affect the orientation of the heli a bit since the tail is what counters the rotation. But with a quad its pretty much inline, so that you don't really have to worry about the wind and that bit.

    But I don't know what to look for in selecting a copter. Is this something that I could eventually put FPV on?:



    How to TRICOPTERS compare?

  8. #8
    Navigator sailingeric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDCPs View Post
    And the Unanimous Conclusion is:


    ~QUAD~



    My first aircraft was a 4ch helicopter (Saber). I flew it in short bursts, crashed it alot, hit myself with it, was constantly replacing parts (skis especially)...and then I bought a LIPO upgrade from the Local Hobby Shop...and the battery was connected to the connector wrong. Blew my charger and blew my heli. The LHS gave me a different control unit for the helicopter (Walkera). That blew both servos, in time (maybe they were damaged from the reverse polarity). And the heli was just never the same...pretty much gone. A friend has it now and I could get it back if I wanted but I don't think I want it back. The main problem currently is the tail motor "goes out" and the heli spins uncontrollably--even though all connections are set. I think its that "new" board I got...must be a bad one. Seems there is a gyro to keep the tail in the right place regardless of wind.

    Brings back memories though.



    The actual flight looked pretty smooth, especially the touchdown after the crash.

    Do you have autopilot or some sort of electronic stabilizer on your quad? Do you folks think these are an improvement for fpv? I mean I wouldn't mind --wait I have to go do something--"flips switch on transmitter and quad obediently hovers in place"
    I have DJI F450 with Naza flight controller with GPS. I fly mostly with GPS on. It can be squirrely in manual mode but with GPS mode, you get confused or want to take a breather, just center the sticks and it will over in one spot until the battery goes dead. The good thing with GPS on my quad, I can bury the stick going forward and it wont lean more than about 30 degrees, so I dont have to worry about it tumbling and it will just accelerate.
    The quad you are showing below looks similar to mine. The F450 is a little tight for FPV but doable and you can be up and flying for $500-600 plus what ever you use as a ground station- goggles or monitor. I have the Fatshark Base and they run about $250 and I am very happy with them.

    Below is a video of going to manual mode and doing flips. After the flip I would switch back to GPS just to get it centered up.


    View this video on YouTube
    Last edited by sailingeric; 19th September 2013 at 05:51 PM.

  9. #9
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    Don't do it!

    I was impatient enough to mount my FPV equipment onto my Align Trex 550E while waiting for my Sky Surfer to arrive....

    I have been flying 3D collective-pitch helis competitively for 4 years now and I consider myself a pretty decent pilot. I can pattern and scale fly just as decent as I do hard smack 3D.


    Knowing this I thought it wouldnt be too difficult to attempt an FPV flight with my 550E...


    I spooled it up, popped her about 30-40 feet in the air, handed my transmitter to my flying buddy and asked him to hold the hover while I strapped my FatShark Dominators on.

    Boy, was it a rush and kinda neat, but extremely nerve wrecking. I didn't even attempt to do any kind of rolls or flips since it seemed too easy to get disoriented. After about 40 seconds of trying to be smooth and keep level it felt too hard to judge how much correction was needed and I tended to over correct. On top of that I was getting a bit dizzy and i'm not someone who gets seasick on the boat ride or susceptible to motion sickness...

    I turned down my Dual rates from 115% to 75% with 30% expo, but it was still too responsive.


    I was like, "Okay. Enough of this!" butt puckered up and all.


    Last time I crashed my 550E flying 3D LOS, even with throttle hold and techniques to minimize damage it was still almost a rekit. And thats the nature of the beast. Helicopters don't crash well, pretty much ever. Micro helis are more durable, but even they are pretty sensitive to impacts and highly susceptible to damage and would be too small to haul any fpv equipment without effecting flight times and CG.


    That's another thing about helis, too. They are a bit touchy with CG.


    My choice would be not to use a heli for FPV.

    FWIW
    Last edited by Canelo; 19th September 2013 at 05:57 PM. Reason: added title

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canelo View Post
    That's another thing about helis, too. They are a bit touchy with CG.
    To be fair, quads are equally touchy. A FBL heli in my experience behaves similarly to a quad as regards CG imbalance... If you are talking flybar then yes, probably more touchy.

    My choice would be to not even Think of using a heli for FPV.

    FWIW
    You'd be missing out

    Yes quads are easier, and as you say Helis do not crash well... So they definitely do not suit a "beater" style FPV ship. But for a ship you don't intend to crash they can be fantastic. With semi symmetrical blades and a lowered headspeed flight times can easily exceed typical multi-rotor flight times - just take a look at FPVflyers 600 which can easily go for more than 20 minutes up at mountain level altitudes.

    Another factor to consider is the controller. As much as it pains me to admit it, the Naza-H is probably the best choice for FPV heli at the moment. It is extremely sparse feature wise compared to its Naza-M cousin, but the core flight mechanics in Atti and GPS Atti are very good for taking the stress out of heli FPV... It is also extremely useful to leave the heli hovering automatically in GPS mode while you remove goggles and land visually... Which is another problem with Helis - landing FPV is an almost sure fire way to strike the tail lol.

    Overall, DEFINITELY not suited to a beginner FPV'er. Do not write them off however!

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