Most people know that drones are used to take photos, or have read about Amazon’s idea of using drones for delivery. However, drones have become a serious hobby, with plenty of clubs, races, and online communities sharing ideas. Racing has drawn together a thriving community that can be enjoyed by people of any age. Now, the latest twist is First Person View (FPV) drone flying, where an onboard camera transmits pictures to goggles, letting you experience flying through the air.
A Short History
When quadcopter drones emerged, simple human nature determined that people would set up racetracks. Using the line of sight, people raced around courses or perform freestyle tricks. The hobby grew rapidly, but FPV saw the hobby explode. A first-person-view headset, linked to a camera on the fpv drone, allowed pilots to see from its POV. FPV opened up new possibilities and, soon after the technology emerged, drone racing became a serious sport. Many pilots are professionals with sponsorships, and travel to race meets around the world. Money is flowing into the sport, and governing bodies oversee national leagues.
Another important advance was the miniaturization of quadcopter drones. The original 450mm drones were too cumbersome and shattered when they crashed. The more nimble, 250mm drones were faster, agiler, and shrugged off most spills.
Join the FPV Fun
Of course, you don’t need to be a hardcore professional to enjoy the sport. Countless pilots have set up local clubs to meet fellow enthusiasts, share tips, and hold races. The hobby is for everyone, and you will often see teenagers racing alongside middle-aged IT professionals. From this article, I just want you to understand that consumer-level drone is designed for everyone to enjoy the fun and thrill. Even though you are not professional in mechanism, math or programming, there are still lots of high-quality products for you to choose in the market now.
A basic drone and FPV goggles don’t cost the earth, so you can easily join a club and learn how to pilot. As you improve, you can upgrade your drone for extra speed and buy FPV goggles with the wide view and recording capability. Many drones are available, with Syma, Hubsan, Eachine, Cheerson, and UDI offering a range of options.
The Hubsan X4 Quadcopter
One good drone to get you started is the Hubsan X4 quadcopter. We found this small and inexpensive drone to be very agile, making it perfect for beginners. It is small enough to fly indoors and powerful enough to use outside on a calm day, although it struggles with stiff breezes. The controls are not too sensitive, and the drone includes a camera. As always, we managed to crash it many times, but the X4 survived with just a little superficial damage, and spare parts are easy to find.
We found that the controller was easy to hold, and we were impressed by the LCD screen that helps you alter the flight mode and match drone performance to conditions. This nice feature isn’t present in most low budget options. The controller also lets you calibrate the gyros and accelerometers from the ground, which is very useful. The main disadvantages are the choppy camera stream and the low flight range. We found that the battery life is short, at five minutes, and they took quite a while to recharge, so we recommend carrying spares. However, at a very affordable price, it is a great option for first-timers. Affordable, high-performance units like the Hubsan X4 will let you join the racing fun.