Build a micro-sized first-person-view quadcopter




It would be really helpful if people who promoted FPV flying would share the Academy of Model Aeronautics guidelines for flying. This is the main group for RC Aircraft hobbyists and "professionals" that works with the US Congress, the FCC and FAA to make sure amateur and hobbyist use of RC Aircraft is not outlawed (which many have tried do). They have done extensive work in both the legislative and regulatory arenas to make sure you can still legally fly RC aircraft in the US.

Here are their guidelines for FPV flying:

Following them will help make sure RC flying of all types stays legal. The biggest guideline that people ignore is that it is currently legally required that you have to keep your aircraft in your line of sight at all times.

I know people disagree with the AMA guidelines, but really they are the best out there and are pretty much focused on safety and keeping the hobby legal in the face of a lot of folks who want to out right ban it or regulate it out of existence. No other organization has done as much to make sure you can still legally fly RC aircraft of any type.


That sounds like an excellent rule for our military UAVs as well.


Maybe these people should reach out to the hobbyists? I've never heard of them and I've been flying quadcopters for a couple of years now.


Link to youtube is no-bueno. just refreshes to the front page the youtube. : [


On a different, but related note: How hard would it be to take one of these quad-copters and upcycle it to make a vehicle capable of transporting ME?
Seriously, if you got a very good one and took it apart. Then, get bigger blades and more powerful engines. I mean, theoretically, you should be able to scale it up, right?
No, just mount ME to were the GoPro goes.
Any takers?


Are you telling me I need a spotter to fly a 100mm quad via FPV?


You might want one anyway in case someone tries to assault you for "pervin'.''


What I was trying to say was that any article about FPV aircraft, even small ones, should include some information about best practices and the AMA guidelines are the most well informed (and conservative) guidelines you will find I think.


You mean, this?


video is just awful. If the RC aspect of a quadcopter is the most appealing thing about building this, fine. But if video from the air is the most important aspect, it's a real turnoff.


jerwin - You had it right the first time. This little thing is definitely not a video maker. It is about safely and easily training yourself to fly FPV so that when you are ready, you can take the helm of a bigger platform for aerial photography.

In fact, it doesn't actually record video. I used a cheap-o DVR on the ground to capture the video just for the purpose of demonstrating how this quad flies. However, the image quality from this setup is usually much better than it is in this video. I think that I damaged either the camera, or the video transmitter by accidentally applying the wrong voltage.


Nah the video quality is perfect! Reminds me of the time I was convinced my dosed sugar cube had been ruined (it got wet) so I took another one. Boy was I wrong, but I had a great time regardless. There was less green and purple and more red and blue going on in my experience though.


I didn't know such a thing existed. Thank you, Nixiebunny.


On a different, but related note: How hard would it be to take one of these quad-copters and upcycle it to make a vehicle capable of transporting ME?*

A while back the US army tried out a device that was a pair of counter rotating helicopter blades under an open platform. The operator stood there surrounded by whirling blades of death, but hey, what could go wrong? They ran into blade strike issues and the project was discontinued.


Sounds like a lot of fun. About how much would this cost to make? (I know there are a couple of component prices in the article, but any idea how much altogether?)


Let's see...

For just the quadcopter project, I'd say $85.

$15 Transmitter
$30 Camera
$30 quadcopter
$10 supplies for antenna, shipping, solder etc.

If you dont have any kind of ground station, then I would say plan to spend another $400 for goggles such or SkyZone, or if you can live with an LCD monitor and a shade, then you can get something for under $200. There are LCD screens now that have 5.8ghz receivers built right into them.


Hi Steve,
very interessting post & project. I am working on a similar thing using the Micro-X Quad from Turnigy. Question: did you face any distortion coming from the motors into the video-signal? Maybe the polulu filters that?
Thank you, Hermann


Hi Herman,

Yes, I do see the typical horizontal interference lines on the video, but they are not too bad, I can ignore them. I think that you may be right about the Pololu acting as a bit of a filter, as it does have a small inductor on it.


Total neo at this. Can you recommend a "cheap toy micro quad" to crash while gaining LOS experience? How much is "cheap"?