The Buddy System: When Learning to Fly FPV Drones, Having a Partner Helps


FPV drone operation is where flying and video gaming collide.  Imagine an intense flying game that relies on quick reflexes and unwavering concentration.

If you miscalculate by just a few inches, it could cost you the game.  But in this game, the stakes are higher because you’re flying an actual drone.  FPV or first person view drones are growing in popularity but it’s not a good idea to jump in without experience.  Having a partner helps, so here’s how to make the buddy system work for you.

Do Your Homework

If you want to befriend or get closer to a current drone flier, you’ll have to do your homework on the FPV topic.  Read articles, peruse forums, and ask questions.  Be able to talk to seasoned fliers.  This will make it easier to make friends and ask others to help you become a better navigator.

RCGroups and Flitetest are two forums where you can find information and possible friends.  Similarly, use Facebook and Twitter search to find people with words like ‘drones’ and ‘FPV’ in their profiles.

Simulate Online

As mentioned, FPV flying attracts gamers due to the likeness of playing a video game.  Rather than hone skills while using a real drone, practice flying by playing an online or console game.  A range of games is being created that seek to simulate the drone flying experience.  It would be helpful to get good at flying in a game before using a real drone.  If simulation is good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for those interested in flying FPV drones.

Begin on a Minor Scale

Start small at first.  You don’t need an extremely expensive drone or one that has a bunch of modulations.  Alternatively, purchase a beginner drone, one that is easy for a novice to handle, one that won’t be destroyed within the first few flights.  Furthermore, do further research on ‘buddy boxing.’  Basically, a more advanced and experienced buddy can override your controls so you don’t damage your drone during initial flights.

Build Your Own

Take a different approach, and rather than rely on the expertise of others, acquire your own knowledge about drones from the inside out.  Build your own drone so you’ll grow acquainted with every component and learn how it relates to other parts and makes the drone perform.  Start small with a 180mm to 250mm drone.  Buy a recommended frame and necessary components.  As suggested above, visit forums, brick and mortar hobby shops, and ask those with experience for their opinion.

Keep the Crash Half Full

Initiate a ‘glass half full’ approach after a crash or damage.  Sure, it’s not optimal for your drone to get damaged and crash.  However, the upside of the experience allows you to get better acquainted with parts, methods of repair, and the limitations of your drone and flying skills.  To start, the durability of the frame is very important; you want something that can withstand a beating and maintain its integrity despite multiple crashes.

Mike Plambeck is a Drone Enthusiast who is passionate about helping people learn about both commercial and hobby drones. When he’s not out flying or filming he writes for various online publications and spends time with his wife and two young children.