Drone enthusiasts all around the world are fascinated by long-range FPV flying because it gives them unrivaled freedom to travel through dense forests, glide over waterways, and explore magnificent landscapes. Even the most seasoned of pilots may find the technical aspects of long-distance flight scary. For this thorough tutorial intends to arm you with useful advice, knowledge, and best techniques to competently handle the difficulties of long-distance FPV flying.
How does Long Range FPV Drone Differ from FPV Freestyle?
An essential part of a long-range FPV drone is GPS. If utilized properly, these tiny gadgets can spare you from a great deal of heartache. Given that DVR is recorded, a GPS enables real-time display of the drone’s coordinates, improving chances of recovery in the event of a collision. Additionally, GPS enables tracking of the take off point, which may save your life if you get lost while flying a long range FPV drone.
Using Li-Ion Batteries for Extended Flight Time
Long range FPV drones often don’t need as much agility as a freestyle quadcopter and can be loaded up with high-capacity batteries safely with minimal concern for performance loss. In fact, if long range distances are to be attained, a larger battery than the conventional 4S 1300mAh is necessary for most configurations. Depending on the lift capacity of the aircraft, some pilots even use two batteries to achieve genuinely extended flights. To acquire a higher capacity, this is accomplished by wiring the batteries in parallel. Contrast this with connecting them in series, which would raise the voltage. Be cautious if you decide to take this route! Flames are bad, but power is good. The popular 18650 and 21700 Li-Ion cells are common choices for long-range.
Equip Your Drone with a Self-Powered Buzzer
Having your drone’s GPS location and a loud buzzer added can make finding it in the event of a crash much simpler. A buzzer with an integrated battery is very useful since it may keep beeping for several hours or even days after the long range fpv drone loses power (for example, because the battery is removed or runs out of juice).
Choosing the Right FPV Setup
Digital FPV Systems
Due to their robustness against multipath interference, new digital FPV systems, such those made by DJI and Walksnail, perform at least as well as analog systems for long range flights.
Impressive results for a 5.8GHz system were reported by True-RC, an antenna manufacturer, in testing they did in 2023. They claimed to have achieved 30km with the DJI Goggles 2 and FPV Air Unit and 23km with the DJI Goggles 2 and O3 Air Unit.
Analogue FPV System
Higher output power on a 5.8GHz VTX extends the range but has diminishing returns and accelerates VTX overheating. The RushFPV MAX SOLO, which can output up to 2.5W, is one of the most potent VTX options. However, when employing the proper antenna combination, 800mW should be adequate for the needs of the majority of users.
Use a diversity receiver module and directional antennas on your FPV goggles to increase range. In terms of performance, these two modules are arguably the best available right now.
Although 6″ – 7″ size frames are frequently more suitable for long range fpv drone, several long range FPV pilots have had amazing results using regular size 5″ frames. The objective while using a 5′′ frame is to make the frame and internal parts as light as feasible while putting an emphasis on a bigger battery and effective motors and propellers. Consider a multirotor frame that is lightweight and designed for racing.
However, because to improved efficiency and the capacity to transport larger batteries, 6′′–7′′ frames with a wheelbase typically between 220-300mm enable longer flying periods. Additionally, larger frames have the tendency to cruise more smoothly and have better line holding abilities than their smaller counterparts.
On Screen Display (OSD)
For long range FPV, the OSD is a crucial feature because it enables real-time tracking of the aircraft’s numerous metrics. This is crucial for long range fpv drone since it might mean the difference between your plane making it home and you having to go for a trek if the battery gets low. With OSD, battery monitoring is only the beginning. Long range fpv operations benefit from the GPS tracking of control link quality, direction and heading, and location as well as altitude when a barometer is present. Given that so many contemporary flight controllers come with an OSD already built in, there’s almost no excuse not to incorporate this practical feature into your long-range FPV drone construction.
The Guide for Choosing 7 inch Long Range FPV Drone Accessories
Frame and Propeller
The one of the drone accessories is frame. And the optimum frame for long-range FPV is the one that is the lightest and largest that you can practically employ for your project. A lighter frame is quite helpful over long distances because it means the motors will consume less power to keep the quad airborne. Greater distances and longer flight periods are directly related. A 7 inch frame is the most popular choice since it offers the optimum proportion of size, weight, cost, and utility.
Best frame：Aquila 7 by STPHobby
The 7” FPV Quadcopter frame is made by STPHobby and is HD ready. The 7” LR frame may be constructed with your DJI HD kit. Seven-inch FPV drones can offer a more steady flight, a greater load, and a better flying sensation.
Next is the drone propeller that have the largest diameter and fewest blades while still being appropriate for your construction are the ideal for long-range FPV. The important factor to take into account is your prop length now that your frame has been established. Therefore, you would select 7 inch props if you were to choose a 7 inch frame.
The efficiency of a propeller decreases as the number of blades rises due to increased drag. Therefore, it can be claimed that a bi-blade propeller (two blades) will be the most effective option for long range FPV and will result in the longest flight periods. However, there are certain compromises, such how much noisier and harder to balance a bi-blade is. Tri-blade propellers may be a good option if you’re aiming to shoot long-distance cinematic video because they trade some efficiency for smoothness. A bi-blade arrangement would be the best option if you wanted to smash ultra-long range records.
Best Propeller: HQProp DP 7X3.5X3 V1S PC Propeller
Long-range pilots may now enjoy very smooth flights and jello-free videos thanks to HQProp’s launching of a 7″ three-blade prop.
Motor and Battery
The third of the drone accessory is drone motor which provides you the longest flight duration and most distance flown,and is the most efficient for long-range FPV. When selecting a FPV motor, it is important to balance the weight of the FPV drone that the motors must lift, the weight of the propellers that the motors must spin, the motor’s size, and the motor’s KV value.
Best Motor: MEPS Motor 2806.5
Greater FPV frame load capacity, longer flight times, and high efficiency and low heat generation. In FPV flight, every second matters, and SZ2806.5 aids in maintaining altitude for extended periods of time.
The next drone accessory is battery. Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are currently your best option for long range FPV drone coverage of the greatest potential region. Lithium-ion batteries have more capacity per unit of weight than lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries. If the weight is reduced without impacting the amount of energy stored in the battery, the amount of work the motors need to do to maintain the quad in the air will be lessened. The battery’s current draw will be decreased as a result, increasing the range and flying time.
Best battery: Tattu R-Line
Many elite FPV racers prefer the Tattu R-Line, which speaks to the battery’s caliber and effectiveness. Although the R-Line may be the most expensive choice, some customers claim that it degrades its performance more quickly than other batteries. However, the Tattu R-Line is a viable option if you’re looking for exceptional performance and are prepared to pay a premium.
FC and ESC
The next drone accessory is the flight controller which is your quad’s brain. It is in charge of connecting all electronics to process all potential inputs and outputs. Finding a flight controller with a mount size that matches your frame should be all you need as a beginning. Don’t forget that some frames just have a center mount, while others have both center and rear mounts, giving you more options for how to set up your electronics.
Best FC: Foxeer F722
The V4 F7 FC from Foxeers has a simple design and high-quality parts. Because every solder point on this FC contains through holes, raising pads during collisions is no longer a concern. When using crossfire, it is possible to link with DJI, Vista, and X8, and wiring up the quad is simpler.
The next drone accessory is ESC. The Amp Rating is the most crucial consideration when choosing an ESC. It will be indicated in the specifications for an ESC whether it is 15A, 30A, 40A, etc. The continuous amps your ESC can tolerate are shown by the amp rating. This is crucial because if your ESC’s amp rating is too low, it could fry or catch fire, especially while operating at high throttle. The rule of thumb is to choose an ESC with a slightly larger amperage rating than what your engine and propeller will require when operating at full throttle.
The usual ESC amp ratings for each frame size are listed below:
Best ESC: Skystars 60A 4in1
Outstanding over-current capacity. Extremely stable 6S LiPo battery support. improved control efficiency. Stronger anti-interference capabilities are offered by EMI Shell. factory flashed with the most recent Blheli_32 firmware, which supports telemetry features.
Receiver and Video Transmitter
The next drone accessory is the receiver which is a component that takes the pilot’s commands and transmits them to the flight controller. In general, transmitters of the same brand work with matching receivers. Size, weight, and RX Protocols are a few things to think about while purchasing receivers.
Best receiver: Matek ELRS Diversity
This compact receiver has a comprehensive diversity system in addition to being the ideal marriage of Matek’s high-quality hardware with the excellent ELRS firmware.We advise constantly using the most recent version of ExpressLRS receivers and transmitters.
A video receiver, such as a monitor or FPV goggles, receives the signal from the drone’s FPV camera through a video transmitter. You have a choice between analog and HD VTX. It makes sense that the analog VTX gives you a hazy, grainy signal that is in no way comparable to the HD VTX. The analog VTX, on the other hand, is less expensive, lighter, smaller, and has a very low latency.
Best VTX: Caddx Vista kit
The Vista is compatible with DJI’s HD FPV System and has complete DJI authorization. The Caddx Vista was designed to be smaller, lighter, and easier to install onto your quad than the DJI Air Unit Module. It also has mounting holes.
What is FPV Monitor?
A visual screen called an FPV monitor shows what an unmanned aerial vehicle’s camera views. It is often attached to the pilot’s goggles, but some FPV monitors are put in cars for security reasons.
FPV technology enables UAV pilots to fly from their point of view and see exactly where they are going without running the danger of them colliding with anything or anyone.
Flying an aircraft from its point of view is referred to as first person view, or FPV, in a noun sense. FPV monitors are screens specifically made for this use, using cameras installed on drones or aircraft to provide viewers with a “first-person” view that makes them feel as though they are seated in the cockpit directly next to the pilot.
Best FPV Monitor Recommendation
Best FPV Monitor: Eachine LCD5802D FPV Monitor
Eachine’s LCD5802D is a 40 channel 5.8G FPV monitor with an integrated DVR that works with any current R/C racing drone or aircraft on the market!
No matter where your machine takes off from at home base while flying through wooded trails over mountain sides high up into skyways far away places, it contains two receivers, each of which is capable of providing good in-flight reception, so you never miss out again!
Additionally, it has an integrated DVR that may record your flight. By doing this, you can save time and show your friends the additional video of your most spectacular flight.
The monitor receiver is already included in the package, but additional receivers can be purchased (each of these monitors requires its own receiver); if you want additional displays, you merely need to purchase additional receivers for them.
With an OSD menu display, you may adjust settings directly on the screen without pressing any buttons or even connecting the device to a computer.
With a 7-inch TFT LCD touch-sensitive screen and an 800 x 480 high-resolution, picture-perfect display, it is simple to operate. Some FPV monitors don’t even have a built-in DVR, but this one has, and it has some extremely excellent features for the price!
The last drone accessory is buzzer. And don’t take the chance of misplacing your prized possession in a tree or a tall field and being unable to find it. To ensure that you can find your drone if it gets lost, put some form of noise-generating gadget. Some buzzers even feature a backup battery that comes on for the longest possible time when the main power goes off.
Best buzzer: Finder 2 by ViFly
Contemporary ViSense technology. Significantly louder than a standard buzzer. There are two ways to disable the buzzer. The VIFLY Finder 2 buzzer is designed to install an extremely loud beeper with a loudness that may reach 110 dB in order to easily find the lost drone over a great distance.
Tools Required for the Build
- Solder and soldering iron
- Scissors and electrical tape
- Zip Ties
- A wire cutter
- A multimeter to ensure that each connection is functioning properly.
- A standard screwdriver and a hex key driver appropriate for your frame.
- A nylon standoff or spacer and a battery strap
Long Range FPV Tips and Tricks
Start Small and Gradually Progress
Don’t overdo it when you’re trying out your long range FPV drone for the first time. Take it gently and gradually expand your mission distances. This lessens the possibility that you will lose your drone as a result of something like a loose wire or an awkwardly placed antenna.
Listening to the Motors
It’s challenging to hear your long range FPV drone at a distance. Some drone pilots find that hearing their motors churning and the beeper buzzing gives them a sense of security and ties them to their drone. However, only analog systems have this feature; at the moment, none of the digital systems support audio. Although the noise can be pretty loud and obnoxious, I felt I should share the idea because some pilots have found it useful. However, this is not for everyone.
Recognize your limits
Determine the maximum duration of flight for your long range fpv drone at various amp draws, then note and use that information. Keep in mind that one of the important factors you will need to control when executing your long range fpv trip is battery capacity. To avoid becoming stranded on the side of the mountain, you should arrange your flight so that you only use up to 80% of your battery’s capacity. Plan your flight appropriately to get the most of your thrilling mountain dives and to guarantee that you have enough fuel to return home. Nothing could be worse than having a dead battery while still having a valley in front of you and your long fpv drone. If you want to refine your flying skills, it’s best to practice on a simulator which allowing users to simulate the flying experience of drones in a virtual environment, helping drone enthusiasts to practice their flying skills. For the best simulator check out this guide: What’s Best FPV Drone Simulator for Beginner 2023.
Conduct thorough pre-flight checks
Make a complete pre-flight inspection to make sure your drone is in good operating order before you take off. Make sure everything is secure and working correctly by checking the battery level, the propellers, and all other parts. This will assist in avoiding any problems during flight.
Choose a safe and open flying area
Decide on a safe, open location to fly your long range FPV drone in when making your flight plans. Avoid flying over densely populated areas or close to electricity lines if possible. Locate a sizable, uncluttered area with few obstacles, such a park or open field.
Be aware of weather conditions
Always check the weather forecast before taking off, and steer clear of flying in bad weather like heavy winds, rain, or poor visibility. Be aware of temperature variations that might have an impact on the battery life and operation of your drone.
Develop Emergency Procedures
Make a strategy for handling emergencies like sudden signal loss, video interference, or low battery conditions. For instance, become familiar with turning on GPS Rescue mode and immediately changing the antennas for the best signals. Knowing what to do in an emergency might assist avoid mishaps and reduce possible drone damage.
Is Long Range FPV Flying Legal in Your Country?
We must talk about whether long range FPV flying is allowed because we don’t want to promote any unlawful actions. Different nations have different regulations governing the maximum distance an FPV drone can fly as well as the permitted VTX output power. In some locations, FPV flying is totally forbidden. Please abide by the laws of your nation and refrain from endangering yourself or others in order to ensure responsible flying.
Don’t fly in restricted airspace and make sure you are aware of any no-fly zones in your area, such as airports, military bases, or national parks.