In this article, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes FPV drone beginners tend to make and provide advice on how to avoid them. By following these tips, you can minimize frustration, save money, and ensure safer flying for yourself and those around you when you own your first FPV drone.
Lack of Preparation and Research
FPV is a serious hobby that requires dedication and a substantial amount of time and effort to learn. Many beginners buy the most expensive equipment available, thinking that it’s the best for everything which is not true. It’s all about getting the right tools for the job. You should conduct adequate research to choose the right tools based on your needs.
When you enter the FPV world, you are greeted with an array of components – different types of drones, goggles, remotes, antennas and more. The variety can be intimidating, but it is crucial to understand your personal needs and match them with the right tools. Ask in our forum to get some ideas if you are in doubt: https://intofpv.com.
Not Practicing in a Simulator
Before attempting to fly a real FPV drone, it’s crucial to invest sufficient stick time (e.g. 10+ hours) in a good FPV drone simulator. By doing so, you’ll learn the essential flying skills that can prevent costly mistakes. Simulator software typically costs $10 to $20, making it a wise investment when compared to the potential damage of a real drone worth 20 times that amount.
Here is a list of FPV simulator recommendations: https://oscarliang.com/fpv-simulator/
Buying Second-Hand or Expensive Drones Initially
As a beginner, it’s wise to start with a brand-new, budget-friendly, and beginner-oriented drone to learn the fundamentals while minimizing the risk of costly crashes or damages.
Purchasing a second-hand drone as your first quadcopter may seem cheaper and tempting, but it’s best to avoid this option. As a novice, you may not be able to identify existing issues with those quads, or have the necessary knowledge to fix them.
Here are my 5-inch drone recommendations: https://oscarliang.com/best-5-inch-fpv-drone-parts/#Prebuilt-5-inch-FPV-Drone-BNF
Buying Cheap or Outdated Radios
Invest in the best radio you can afford and seek recommendations from experienced pilots. Remember, you get what you pay for—and often buying cheap is buying twice, not to mention the time spent getting used to a new radio. Your radio will likely accompany you throughout your FPV career, and unlike your quad, it won’t crash or get damaged as easily.
Steer clear of unpopular radio models, as it can be challenging to find help when needed. If you’re unsure which radio link to choose, consider ExpressLRS, which is regarded as one of the best options available in 2023.
Here are my radio recommendations: https://oscarliang.com/radio-transmitter/#Radio-Recommendations
Bad Antenna Placement
It’s crucial to place and orient your antennas correctly to maintain strong video and radio signals throughout your flight. Proper antenna placement not only ensures a stable connection but also enhances your overall FPV experience.
You can learn about the ideal antenna placement in this tutorial: https://oscarliang.com/antenna-positioning/
Ignoring Failsafe Setup
Take the time to correctly configure your drone’s failsafe settings, which are crucial for preventing flyaways and crashes in case of signal loss or low battery situations. Familiarize yourself with how your drone will respond when it loses signal, so you can always stay in control and keep your flights safe.
Learn more about failsafe and how to test it here: [tutorial being updated, check back later]
I sometimes made this mistake too when I get carried away during an exciting flight, but it’s essential to keep track of battery levels while flying. Land your drone before the battery level becomes critically low to prevent potential crashes or damage to the battery.
- To monitor voltage during flight, setup OSD: https://oscarliang.com/betaflight-osd/
- To check battery voltage before and after flight, use a voltage checker: https://oscarliang.com/fpv-tools/#LiPo-Voltage-Checker
Charging all your batteries and not using them is another common mistake. Leaving your batteries fully charged for a long time shortens their lifespan and poses a safety risk. If you find yourself with fully charged batteries after a flight session, discharge them as soon as you can using the discharge function found in most chargers or use them in your drone until they reach the storage voltage.
If you are going away for a long time, say more than a month and you won’t be using your batteries, make sure they are at their storage voltage to ensure safety and longevity.
Not Removing Props for Safe Bench Work
While setting up your drone on the bench and connecting the battery, always remember to remove the propellers. This simple precaution helps prevent injuries and accidents that could occur if the motors were to unexpectedly spin up. Though it may seem unlikely for the drone to suddenly activate, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Ignoring Battery Charging Safety
It is crucial to never leave your batteries charging unattended. We cannot emphasize this enough. Additionally, avoid skimping on chargers, as safety should always come first. Investing in a reliable charger and maintaining a watchful eye during the charging process can help prevent potential accidents.
You can learn more about how to charge LiPo properly in this tutorial: https://oscarliang.com/lipo-battery-guide/#How-to-Charge-LiPo
Paying for Outdated Drone Courses
The FPV drone hobby progresses at an astonishing pace, information can become outdated in just a couple of years or even a few months, which can make some books or courses obsolete shortly after they’re published. To be honest, you have access to most if not all of the information needed online for free. Learn to use search engines effectively and participate in forums will keep you well informed.
While I continuously publish new content on this site, I still regularly update key existing resources to keep them up-to-date. If you find my content helpful, please consider supporting me to maintain this valuable resource for the FPV drone community: https://oscarliang.com/support-me/
Every drone pilot goes through similar beginner phase, and no one is immune to the mistakes that come with inexperience. The key is to learn from these setbacks and grow as you progress in your FPV journey. Embrace the learning curve and enjoy the thrilling world of FPV drone racing. If there are other frequently encountered mistakes made by beginners I didn’t mentioned, feel free to leave them in the comment so people starting out can be reminded.