Multi-Rotor Helicopters with First Person View (FPV)

When you hear the phrase first person view, you are likely to interpret it as a person’s own view, or point of view, about an issue at hand. It simply means, in layman’s terms, it is  how a person perceives a certain thing, place or issue. Let us look at first person view in the context of aeronautics to see how first person view is used in this industry.

First person view (“FPV”) is also known as remote person view (“RPV”) or simply video piloting. This is a system that is used to manage radio controlled vehicles from the pilot’s point of view.

It is a means of manipulating a remote control vehicle, such as a remote control helicopter or fixed wing  aircraft, without a pilot in the cockpit.

Using FPV, an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”), or radio controlled aircraft (“RCA”),  is operated by remote control using a camera mounted on the UAV in place of the pilot, and a ground station screen, such as a video monitor, displaying to the operator what the camera can see i.e. a first person perspective.

The FPV system basically comprises an on-board camera, an on-board video transmitter, a ground station video receiver  and a ground station display monitor such as video goggles, an LCD screen, a TV monitor or a laptop computer.

Where is FPV Commonly Used?

There are two places where FPV is commonly used. In the air and on the ground. In the air  FPV is commonly used in multi-rotor helicopters, quadcopters, hexacopters and octocopters.  Because of the ease in both construction and control, as well as the low cost,  the use of FPV on radio controlled multi-rotors has become popular for aerial photography and video taking. Multi-rotors are preferred over other craft due to speed, ability to hover, convenience and easy maneuvering characteristics.

The more advanced multi-rotors may also feature on-screen displays, GPS positioning, return to home commands, stabilisation systems and other autopilot functions.

How to setup a Multi-rotor Helicopter for FPV

To use FPV, you need to mount an on-board camera or video recorder, connected to an on-board video transmitter, on the aircraft.

You fly the aircraft while viewing the terrain from the pilot’s perspective, as seen on your ground station display, or video goggles, as if you are actually maneuvering the aircraft while physically in the cockpit. Your only limitation in flying the FPV aircraft is the range of the radio equipment in use, and local line-of-sight regulations. Your video link capability should match your transmitter, though they should not broadcast on the same frequency. Radio control transmitters, such as the Spektrum DX8, use the 2.4ghz frequency while video transmission should be relegated to the 5.8ghz frequency band.

Ground stations can be installed with high-end antennas and tracking systems for wider range and maximum visibility.

Cameras

The Hero GoPro is a great camera for aerial videos. The small 1/3 Sony CCD 420TV camera with a 3.6mm lens from Hobbyking is good for FPV usage.

Video Camera Sony CCD for FPV

Video Camera Sony CCD for FPV

Onboard Equipment Selection

On-board video transmitters  come in different types and designs. The 200mw 5.8ghz transmitter/receiver set from Hobbyking seems to work well. There is a more powerful 500mw unit if distance becomes an issue.

On-board Video Transmitter for FPV

On-board Video Transmitter for FPV

Ground Station Equipment

There are ground station viewing devices like video goggles, LCD screens, TV monitors and laptops in different models, designs and capabilities depending on the manufacturer. The Vuzix video goggles work well or try the Fat Shark units from Hobbyking.

Video Goggles for FPV

Video Goggles for FPV

Video Receiver for FPV

Video Receiver for FPV

Simply said, all your FPV gear and gadgets must synchronize and complement each other for good performance.

For more information about Remote Control Helicopters, please visit our website.

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About totallycontrolledhelicopters

I am the proprietor of Totally Controlled, a business that sells remote controlled helicopters. I am an active hobbyist with an interest in radio and remote controlled model helicopters.
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One Response to Multi-Rotor Helicopters with First Person View (FPV)

  1. Matt says:

    Really nice article! Please join http://www.multicopterforum.com the forum that is dedicated to multi rotor enthusiasts, hope to see you soon!

    Matt

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