Learning To Fly The DJI FPV DRONE!

I’ve been flying stabilised DJI drones for more than 5 years now, and I would consider myself as an experienced drone pilot. Well, most of the time I guess. To be honest, I’ve always been a fan of flying very fast and close to objects, as I think that it just looks epic. So naturally, I was instantly amazed by FPV drones when they hit the filmmaking world, but still, I never dedicated my time to get started with it, as I knew that it would take me ages to practice in the simulator, build my own drone and fix it whenever there would be a problem. But a few years later, as I got to know some other professional FPV pilots and saw what crazy moves they could do with their drones, I changed my mind about it, and finally decided to give it a try. I’m super excited about it, I never flew an FPV drone before. Are you ready? – Just give me this camera. – I hope I’m ready, dude. Oh my God. I guess I… Wasn’t ready. – That is exactly what should not happen. – F*ck. But as I saw DJI launching their very first FPV drone, I had a spark of hope. It would be ready to fly out of the box, come with its own simulator, have features like different flight modes, and a Return to Home function. That’s when I thought “alright Niklas, it’s now or never, I’m gonna get this drone and I’m gonna learn how to properly fly FPV”. Alrighty, let’s open this thing up. Oh, that smells new. Wow, this thing is heavy. And the goggles. Oh my God, this is so cool. The controller. A pair of propellers. Safety guidelines. I think I should probably read this. Man, these goggles look so cool, I’m gonna put them on. I’m seeing nothing. But still, it feels cool. This is what it looks like. It’s pretty heavy, so if this thing crashes… Into you or into somebody else, it’s going to be pretty bad. Alright, so now I unpacked everything, but before I’m going to start with my first flight, I’m going to practice in the simulator, because I once flew an FPV drone, before what you guys know, I crashed it because I was miserable at it. Oh, fuck. And this time I’m going to take it very slowly. This drone has a couple of different modes, but before I switch to manual mode, I’m just going to stick to the simulator, and I’m going to spend a lot of hours in the simulator, practicing, so that I actually have a good feeling when I start flying this thing manually for the first time. So, I first unscrewed the two screws on the back of my controller, in order to make the left control stick stay in its place. That’s really important if you want to fly in manual mode, as the left stick determines your speed. After setting up the DJI simulator, I decided to go for a short workout and eat a pizza, which I thought would be the perfect preparation for my first flight. Okay, so I just connected it to the app and now it’s restarting. Oh, fucking hell. Dude… Dude, this thing is so dangerous. The first thing I get when I answer the app is a Chinese tutorial. What is this DJI? Alright, so now here I can just check out what it would look like. Got it. Start/stop button. Come on, guys, I wanna fly! So, this is pretty slow, I would say. Whoa. Oh my God, that’s super weird if you shake your head. Okay. Oh, fuck. Whoa. I’m gonna stop doing that. Oh my God, I’m getting sick from this already. Just imagine this at like, five times this speed. Skills training. Learn to master flying in M mode, starting with basic functions. In this tutorial, they basically explained the general controls for manual mode, but… I already felt pretty lost. I always want to tilt my head with it. Oh, okay. Whoa! Woah, what? I think I’m completely lost right now. Oh my God. This is already so much more difficult than I expected, holy shit. Straight track. It’s just so sensitive. It’s crazy. Fuck. Oh my God, I’m sucking at this. Fuck! I don’t know what to do with my head! Fuck! I’m already getting sick from two tutorials. I feel like the pizza that I just ate is coming up again. Why did I get into this? Throttle down, double tap, throttle up. Let’s go, guys. Okay, that’s not going too bad right now. Woah, challenge complete! That was kinda good. I’m completely honest right now, this makes me feel sick and I didn’t expect it to be… To be like that. From this point on, things only got worse. Oh no, I missed it. Oh my God. Honestly, guys, I’m feeling so sick. Why did I do this? Why did I buy this drone? I’m going to get rid of the goggles for now, and I’m just going to fly with my phone, because you can also just look on the screen of your phone, and I hope that this feels a little bit better. Alright, we’re gonna go for our first free flight. Ready to go. Yeah, that’s what it’s like, that’s a lot better. Going through it. Let’s go through some obstacles now. I wanna fly through that hole in the roof. Alright guys, so… First impression? Honestly? I’m feeling sick, I’m feeling demotivated, and I’m scared of flying an actual drone. Oh my God, this is going to be a long journey, hey. After recovering from my first simulator experience, I decided to fly to Mallorca, in Spain, which would be the perfect place for flying FPV with its gorgeous landscapes. Towering cliffs, incredible roads, and some of the bluest water on this planet. If there was a place made for flying FPV drones, it would be here. After landing, I met up with my buddy Matthias, who’s already quite experienced at flying FPV drones. So, together we explored some of my favourite places on the island, where Matthias would always take his drone for a spin. I myself still stuck to driving the Atv, as I didn’t dare to fly my FPV drone in real life yet, but I surely made use of observing another FPV pilot. I watched how he set up the drone, navigated through different obstacles, and to which things he paid close attention. After seeing all of the crazy shots he captured throughout our week together, my motivation was back, and I decided to give the simulator another chance. Alright guys, so I’m right now in Mallorca, and I posted on Instagram that I’m feeling motion sick from the simulator, and a lot of you guys already let me know that it goes away the more you practice, so I have high hopes. Also, a lot of you guys said that I should practice with another simulator, because the DJI simulator is not that accurate when it comes to all of the gravity settings and all that kind of stuff, so I just downloaded myself another simulator called Liftoff on Steam. You also tried a lot of flying in a simulator before you actually flew in person, right? Yeah, in the beginning, around 8 hours before the first flight. – 8 hours? – 8 hours. – 8 hours and then you flew for the first time? – Yeah. Okay, that’s actually quite fast. How long did you train already? I think it was like… Half an hour? I think it was half an hour, and like after 10 minutes of it, I was just like… As it turned out, my PC simulator required a lot of system performance, so even with the lowest graphics settings, I wasn’t able to record while flying in the simulator. Sorry for that. After Matthias returned to Germany, I dedicated more and more time to practice in the simulator. I used both the DJI simulator with my goggles, and Liftoff on my laptop. It ws pretty easy to connect my DJI controller with the PC simulator, and overall, it just offered a much larger variety of different maps and drones to choose from. So I was able to fly in those crazy environments, like for example in airports, an harbour, construction sites, and different drone racing tracks which exist in real life, which is kind of cool. Still, I spent most of my time in the DJI simulator, as it did a solid job, and it was really helpful to have the goggles on and learn how to use the actual drone with all of its settings. My motion sickness slowly disappeared and, obviously, I gave my friends a taste of it as well. So, with each flight I felt more and more confident and I was able to practice different movements, like for example diving, flipping and orbiting around objects, and after altogether around 5 hours of sim training, I decided to launch the bird for the first time. For real, DJI really has to make a bag for this one. Alright, guys. So, now I’m here on the roof of our finca, and I think that this is going to be a good spot to go for the first flight, but I think that it doesn’t make sense to start in manual mode here, because there are just too many trees here, and I’m going to drive somewhere else later on. But I think it’s good to just start in sport mode, to just get a feeling for the goggles, to see if I’m feeling motion sick again. And yeah, I’m just going to give it a try and see what it looks like. By the way, guys, if you’re looking for ND filters for your DJI FPV drone, Freewell already launched their pack. I’m using Freewell on almost any camera when it comes to filters. So, they have this small pack here with 4 different ND filters: ND 4, 8, 16 and ND 32, so you’re definitely well-equipped when you want to get some smooth shots and have the right shutter speed, so I think right now, I’m just going to use an ND 16. Just plug it on here, and boom, you’re ready to go. You can also find links to those in the description. Let’s give it a try. It’s kind of windy here, but let’s go for a flight. Okay, motor starting. Yeah, it already feels a little bit like in the simulator. But yeah, already in normal mode. It kind of feels like FPV. Like, you also have the yaw and the rotation, but I’m just a little scared that there’s a like tree coming on the left or on the right side, because it’s not as wide as I expected. But yeah, this feels cool. Oh, there’s me. So, I suggest that we now switch into sport mode. So now I’m in sport mode. Oh, wow, this is already a lot faster. Holy shit. Oh my God. I’m feeling a little bit weird just standing here on the roof, oh my God. Holy shit. Whoa! Oh my God. I never flew with a drone that fast, wow. This is insane. Holy shit. Let’s go for a little bit closer shot over the finca. I think now I get it, like, why FPV is so much fun. Oh, there you can see the dog. He’s just running around in the garden. Oh whoa, whoa, whoa. Low battery, return to home. Well, that was unexpected. Oh my God, it returns to home by his own. Fuck, what is it doing? What are you doing? So yeah, that was… a little bit weird. Alright, so what is my first impression? To be honest, it’s a hell of fun, it’s just so much adrenaline when you fly that fast, but at the same time, it’s just so weird to get it that you’re flying in reality, that there are actually like real trees, actually real houses, if you only flew in the simulator before. And also, I was only used to see all of those smooth FPV shots which are stabilised in post, and it’s just really weird to kind of see in your goggles when the drone shakes, when there’s like a wind blow coming or when you brake with the drone. So yeah, it’s feeling a lot more raw than I expected, and yeah, I’m a little bit scared to switch into manual mode, to be honest. Later that evening, I went for a second flight on the roof in order to become more confident in sport mode. My goal was to get to know the behaviour of the drone a little bit better before flying it completely manual, without any stabilisation systems activated. So I flew a lot closer to various objects and looked for lines to follow in order to get cinematic shots, and by the end of the flight, I already felt a lot safer. To be honest, I already feel ready to try out manual mode, because I mean, sport mode is a nice feature and you can get shots that look like FPV, but still, it’s a completely different feeling, and you can’t do all of the movements that you can do in manual mode, so I think tomorrow I’m just going to hit the road, and I’m finally going to test out what it’s like to fly in manual mode. Alright guys, it’s a new day and my motivation is really high. Today we have one big challenge, which is to fly in manual mode, and right now, I’m actually driving in the middle of nowhere to look for a perfect location to practice in manual mode, because obviously I don’t want to have that many obstacles, I don’t want to have that many trees and power lines, and I hope that I’m going to find a spot which fits well, let’s see. That doesn’t sound good. Alright, so I think this is a spot that we can work with. Look, there’s actually nothing here, only grass and a couple of ruins standing around here, so I think those will actually be really cool if I want to have some obstacles and fly close to them. And let’s look for a spot where I can take off. Alright guys, so everything is up and running, the drone is ready. I’m feeling a little bit scared, I’m kind of having some flashbacks from when I crashed Phil’s FPV drone. So yeah, I think I just have to throw myself in there and I have to get started, and hopefully it’s gonna be a successful flight, so let’s go. Alright, motors are starting. Oh my God, I’m shaking. Whoa. Okay. It’s not going too bad. Oh my God, my heart is pumping. Fucking hell, I can’t really speak right now. Whoa! Oh my God, my hands are shaking so much. This is so fun. Holy shit. Oh whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay. Something I learned from my last try with Phil, is don’t underestimate the drone right away, but just practice slowly. But yeah, it is very close to the simulator, to be honest. There I am. Oh my God, I love it! Okay, let’s go a little bit closer to the grass. This is so cool. Holy shit, I love FPV. I’m addicted, I’m officially addicted to FPV I think. Actually, I’m feeling really confident right now. It’s not like it is super super sketchy, but I’m feeling confident. Hopefully not too confident. I’m gonna pitch up the gimbal even a bit more, so I can go faster. It was a really good first flight, to be honest. I loved it. Fuck, I love it! New battery. Let’s go! Oh my God, this is really like flying. I’m gonna go close to those ruin, because obviously… Obstacles always look really good. Whoa! This is just like in the simulator, honestly. It’s so close to it. Maybe I shouldn’t fly over the rental car, because it’s completely new and only has like 10 kilometers on it. Alright, that’s the part where I’m already feeling too confident. But one thing that we have to remember, is that I’ve been flying drones for like 4 years now. Yeah, this is so much fun, hey. Whoa! Alright, let’s land it before I crash it. Okay, so… I think that was a very very successful first manual flight. It was a lot easier than expected, but probably because I’m on a really really wide field here, but as soon as you get closer to smaller objects or you’re flying through houses, and all that kind of stuff, obviously you have to build up these skills. But yeah, for now the goal is just to practice as much as I can, and then I’m just going to go to some of my favourite spots here on Mallorca, and I’m going to capture some really really epic cinematic shots. Now that I tasted blood, I was fully committed to harnessing my FPV skills. My goal was clear: I wanted to gain full control over my drone in order to capture cinematic shots like I envisioned them before starting this journey. So in the upcoming days, I drove to various spots all around the island, I launched my drone every single day and challenged myself with new environments as much as I could. Let’s go for another try. With each flight, I could feel my confidence grow and I saw how I improved. It’s already feeling so much better than in the beginning. I think the sun is coming up in a minute, I think we have the perfect timing, And after one straight week of training, I was finally able to pull off the shots I always imagined. Yo! So, my FPV journey finally comes to an end. I think, by seeing those shots, you can tell that I now know to control the drone and how to fly it safely, and yeah, it was a hell of a journey, to be honest. When I look back at the beginning, when I flew in the DJI simulator and I was just feeling so motion sick, I honestly didn’t expect that I would learn how to fly this drone, but yeah, as it is with everything, practice makes perfect, and you have to put in the work in order to get some results. I’m really happy to be able to fly FPV drone now. Obviously, I’m still a beginner, and I think it takes a lot of practice in order to compete with the pros, when you can fly really really close to objects and through some different obstacles, and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I think there’s still a long way to go, but… This was already a really good step forward, so yeah… Let me know if you enjoyed this content, I would be happy to create another video about the DJI FPV drone.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.