In recent years, popularity of FPV racing has sky rocketed . So much so, that only last year, the worlds first FPV Drone Grand Prix was held in Dubai with thousands of spectators from all round the world coming to witness the new sport as competitors battle it out for the $250,000 cash prize. As the sport continues to grow, it's now easier than ever to get started in the FPV world although it can still seem overwhelming to figure out what aircraft and equipment to get, how to set it up and how to fly. My expertise lies with aerial photography and having almost zero experience with FPV drones, I was faced with the same problem, so thought I'd share what I learnt on my journey to help you get started on yours.
I quickly learnt that there is no 'best' first FPV drone setup for beginners
, it's all down to preference and what you're after...That can be an incredibly frustrating answer for a beginner to hear as it doesn't help anything and if anything can seem more daunting as you may not know all your options. These are some of the things i was personally looking for in my first FPV racer.
- Reasonable price - my budget is £600
- Spares ideally won't cost too much as I'm anticipating I'll have a few crashes
- Easy to set up - I'm no rocket scientist
- Easy to fly
Which FPV Drone to buy?
There are bunch of great drones out there and they all come in different forms. As a beginner, I wanted something with minimal setup time and skill. This would suggest getting an RTF (Ready To Fly) or ATF (Almost Ready To Fly) setup as it means the aircraft is already assembled ready for you to take it for a spin. You probably want to avoid getting a kit unless you have experience in RC already as you'll have to build the drone yourself. I narrowed down my top 3 options to the Diatone Tyrant 180
, Emax Nighthawk Pro 280
and the Sky Hero Club Racer
. After some careful consideration, I opted for the Night Hawk Pro 280 RTF
because it seems good value for money, comes pre-built and it also comes with a stock transmitter and an installed FPV camera which is two less thing I need to worry about buying. All I need to get now is a pair of video goggles, a battery and a LiPo charger. Cost: £199
What FPV Goggles to get
There are two options for flying FPV, you can either use video goggles for an immersive experience or if that doesn't float your boat or you have prescription needs that exceed the ability to use goggles, you can get a monitor
which can be mounted to your radio transmitter or tripod. For me, the goggles look a lot of fun and seem to be the popular choice in the drone racing community... plus i'd be lying if i said you didn't look super cool. Fatshark are by far the leading brand when it comes to video goggles for FPV racing. Out of the range they sell I opted for the Fathsark Dominator V3 Goggles
as they are the cheapest but are also used widely among the pros and have great reviews. Cost: £299
What LiPo Battery to get
With the help of the RC Geeks 'Compatabile hop-ups' feauture, I was able to quickly and easily find out which batteries are compatible with the Nighthawk Pro. It narrowed me down to two options; the Turnigy Nano-Tech 3S 1800mah
or the Gens Ace Tattu 3S 1800mah
. Out of these two, I opted for the Turnigy Nano-Tech battery because of the higher discharge rating. Cost: £23
What LiPo Battery Charger to get
There are a lot of chargers that are capable of charging batteries for the Nighthawk so I spoke to some of the guys in the RC Geeks office for some advice. I concluded that the Absima Cube 4 You Lipo Charger
would suit my needs and budget nicely whilst also future proofing myself slightly if i were to upgrade to 4S LiPo batteries in the future. Cost: £29
Round Up Of My First FPV Drone Setup
At a total cost of £540, this setup fits into my £600 budget nicely. Although I may want to buy a few more batteries to give myself more flights/fun before having to recharge. I looked into the cost of spares as well and was pleasantly surprised at the low cost of parts which is reassuring to know that it's not the end of the world if I brake something in a crash. What's even better is that all the products mentioned above is available from RC Geeks which keeps things easy and if your have any questions or concerns you are just one phone call away from speaking to our friendly team who are way more clued up than I am about FPV drones. In Part 2 of this post, I will show you how to set it up and share with you my experience of flying my first FPV drone. But until then, happy flying and have fun!