Flying an FPV drone has a spectrum of difficulty, depending on who you are and what your background might be.
Do you have youth on your side? Do you play a lot of video games? Do you have experience with other RC models?
Your circumstances can certainly give you an advantage but for many of us mere mortals, flying an FPV drone can certainly feel like a steep learning curve at times!
In this article you will learn about the difficulties that all beginners face when first learning to fly.
Plus I share with you the best method to overcome those difficulties and get started the easy way!
What is an FPV Drone?
First we should establish what exactly are we referring to when we talk about an “FPV drone.” The acronym “FPV” in this context means “first person view.”
When we talk about an FPV drone, we are discussing quite a wide topic. An FPV drone can be anything from a fully autonomous DJI Mavic through to the super-fast lightweight racing drone.
Any drone that is flown using a camera from the perspective of a pilot onboard the drone can be technically considered an FPV drone.
However when the term “FPV drone” is used, what we are usually referring to is a drone flown with FPV goggles in acro mode.
Acro mode is the holy grail of flight modes and can be considered as expert mode.
It is the closest that a pilot can get to full manual control of a multicopter.
When we ask the question whether or not FPV drones are hard to fly, what we really mean is are they hard to fly in acro mode?
Are FPV Drones Hard to Fly For Beginners?
In general it can be said that learning to fly an FPV drone in acro mode (full manual control) will be difficult for anyone.
Those who have quick reaction times and good hand-to-eye coordination will have some advantage, however even the most youthful video games expert will find the initial learning curve tough.
This is not inherently a bad thing, the challenge gives the hobby a lot of appeal!
After 10 or 20 hours you can be out flying in acro mode comfortably, but there are still years of enjoyment ahead in perfecting the skill.
Why is it So Hard To Fly an FPV Drone?
Flying an FPV drone in acro mode is difficult for beginners due to there being no additional stabilization or aid from the flight computer.
If you tilt the drone to side and then take your hands off the sticks, it will remain tilted and will drift off in that direction, most likely crashing if corrective input is not made!
The pilot must constantly provide control input to the drone in order to correct for environmental factors such as the wind, whilst also providing the desired control input.
You can think of it like a balancing act, such as riding a unicycle or juggling. Like with those skills, practice makes perfect!
So why fly in acro mode, what are the benefits? Acro mode gives you complete control.
With enough practice it is possible to fly in a way that would never be possible with intervention from the flight computer and is an absolute necessity for freestyle and racing.
Flying an FPV drone in acro mode is difficult for beginners due to there being 4 different inputs that must be balanced and controlled.
Each stick on the controller, also known as a gimbal, has the ability to control 2 of the inputs. The pilot must balance 4 inputs using 2 sticks and 2 hands.
The following image shows where the control inputs are located on a typical controller.
However do not be disheartened by the fact that it can be difficult to learn to fly an FPV drone. The difficulty makes the challenge very enjoyable!
How do you Learn to Fly an FPV Drone?
The easiest way to learn to fly an FPV drone is by first practicing on a simulator. There are some fantastic simulators available, such as LiftOff, that are very realistic.
You can learn to fly in acro mode entirely in a simulation where the consequences of crashing do not exist.
You can continue to practice and learn new tricks even as an intermediate and expert pilot.
When I was first learning to fly in acro mode, I practiced on a simulator for several months over the winter period before ever flying in acro mode in real life.
When I eventually came to fly in acro mode for the first time, I was able to pilot the drone without crashing.
Had a not spent time on a simulator, I am sure it would have been a different story!
For further information about learning to fly in acro mode on a simulator, check out my article about LiftOff.
Learning to fly an FPV drone in acro mode is a skill that is practiced and perfected over time.
It is certainly very challenging for a beginner to learn to fly an FPV drone in acro mode, however this is a good thing and it makes the hobby very engaging!
It is also very rewarding as you progress and start to become a better pilot. I would highly recommend learning to fly acro and certainly do not be disheartened by the difficulty.
If you need some further help deciding whether FPV is right for you, I have some further reading here that you should check out.
If you have decided that you want to have a go at this awesome hobby, a great first place to start is by choosing a transmitter and getting stuck in to a simulator.