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Thread: What is First Person View (FPV) for Radio Controlled Flight?

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    What is First Person View (FPV) for Radio Controlled Flight?

    First Person View flying is the sport/ hobby of flying a model aircraft using a camera mounted on the aircraft and videos goggles on the ground. The pilot sees the live video feed from the model aircraft in real time using a wireless video link and this enables him to pilot the aircraft whilst experiencing the flight in a fully immersive way.

    Please click to visit our website and browse the many and various FPV systems that we sell (and support):

    All you need to get going with FPV is an RC aircraft (preferably something relatively slow and easy to fly), a camera, a video transmitter and on the ground a receiver and video goggles (many types of goggles now have receivers built in - for example Fat Shark Dominator HD, Dominator V2, Attitude, Boscam AIO and FlySight Spexman One).

    Multicopters (quadcopters most often) are very popular for FPV - but before they came along (first in 2010 and really mature in 2014 with the DJI Phantom 2) most people favoured foam pushed planes such as the Multiplex Easystar, the EasyGlider, the Hobby King Bixler, the Skywalker, etc due to their docile flying characteristics, their ability to carry some extra weight and being pushers the propellers were kept out of the FPV shot.

    Originally FPV systems predominantly used 2.4 GHz for video and the aircraft's radio control was 35 MHz in the UK (40 MHz in France, 72 MHz in the USA, etc). But soon 2.4 GHz radio control systems replaced 35 MHz (FM) systems and so the FPV manufacturers were forced on to 5.8 GHz. At first the range was poor but soon Fatshark and ImmersionRC came up with excellent 5.8 GHz FPV systems and since then they've refined them with more sensitive receivers, higher gain antennas, circular polarised antennas (which were a bit of a revolution when they came along) and also their 5.8 GHz Diversity receiver the ImmersionRC DUO5800.

    ImmersionRC and Fatshark actually stopped producing 2.4GHz equipment for a number of years but now its back! More powerful and more sensitive than before! With many people now using LRS (Long Range Systems) such as the ImmersionRC EzUHF, Thomas Scherrer systems and also Rmilec, Hobby King's Orange LRS (which was taken from Flytron's OpenLRS) and Dragonlink 2.4 GHz is can be a good option for some people.

    In the early days FPV was all about emulating real flight. There are some fantastic videos from people like Denis Gratton and Beachy Francois on YouTube showing scale models with realistic cockpits and cameras mounted where the tiny pilot's head should be! Head trackers like the original Track R1 from Aeropix allowed FPVers to move their head and have the camera move also. Aeropix became ImmersionRC and the TrackR2 came along which was much better. Since then Fatshark has taken over head trackers with the MIG head tracker and the Trinity head tracker. And nowadays the Trinity head tracker is optionally available on the Fatshark Dominator V2 and Fatshark Dominator HD fpv goggles as a module inside.

    More recently with quadcopters cameras are mounted on gyro stabilised gimbals such as the H3-2D Zen Muse gimbal from DJI and subsequently the H3-3D (and no doubt the DJI H3-4D next!). DJI seemed to pioneer brushless gimbals with the Z15 Zen Muse gimbals for large cameras such as Canon 5D MkIII, etc but soon there were much cheaper versions available - in home brew guise there was the Alex Mos board and in more Plug and Play varieties the Tarot gimbals and Feiyutech FY-G3 and FY-G4. These gimbals make super smooth video possible from flying platforms and have even become popular now in handheld form for move makers with devices such as the Movi and DJI Ronin handheld brushless gimbals.

    Here's a video of FPV flying from a DJI Phantom 1 quadcopter in New Zealand:
    Last edited by FPV-UK; 11th January 2015 at 06:11 PM.

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