Can You Fly an FPV Drone Without Goggles?

Introduction

First-person view (FPV) drones have become increasingly popular in recent years. As the name suggests, FPV drones allow pilots to see a first-person view from the drone’s camera as they fly. This is usually achieved by wearing a pair of FPV goggles that display the drone’s camera feed. However, some pilots wonder if it’s possible to fly an FPV drone without goggles.

Key Takeaways:

  • It is possible to fly an FPV drone without goggles, but it is more challenging.
  • You can view the drone’s camera feed on a smartphone or tablet screen instead of goggles.
  • Situational awareness is reduced without goggles, making it harder to fly smoothly and avoid obstacles.
  • Beginners should use goggles when starting out until they become proficient at flying FPV.
  • Experienced pilots can fly without goggles using just the drone’s camera feed on a screen.
  • Additional spotters are recommended when flying FPV without goggles for safety.

Flying FPV Drones Without Goggles

While FPV goggles provide the ideal immersive experience, you can fly an FPV drone without goggles if you use the drone’s camera feed displayed on a smartphone or tablet screen instead. Here are some tips for flying FPV without goggles:

  • Mount the screen: Secure your smartphone or tablet on your drone’s radio controller or on a stand so you can view the screen while operating the controls. Glancing back and forth between your hands and the screen is difficult.
  • Use a sunshade: Outdoors, glare on the screen can make it nearly impossible to see. Use a sunshade or view the screen in the shade to improve visibility.
  • Increase screen brightness: Turn up your screen’s brightness to counteract glare. This will drain your device’s battery faster so have a backup or external battery handy.
  • Fly conservatively: Without the immersive experience of goggles, it’s harder to fly smoothly and maintain spatial awareness. Fly slowly and avoid risky maneuvers.
  • Use a spotter: Have a friend keep visual line-of-sight on the drone and alert you to any potential hazards. This greatly improves safety when flying without goggles.

Pros and Cons of Flying Without Goggles

Pros:

  • More affordable – No need to buy expensive goggles
  • Convenient – Use a smartphone you already own
  • Situational awareness – Can see your surroundings

Cons:

  • Reduced immersion – Harder to fly smoothly
  • Screen glare – Bright sunlight makes screens hard to see
  • Limited screen size – Small screens hinder visibility
  • Spotter required – Need someone to watch for hazards

Tips for Flying FPV Without Goggles

If you want to hone your skills at flying FPV drones without goggles, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start in a wide open area free of obstacles to get the hang of it. As you improve, you can progress to more confined spaces.
  • Use a high-quality camera drone with a stable feed. Latency or glitches in the video feed make flying without goggles nearly impossible.
  • Pick a drone with bright LED lights so you can keep track of its orientation when flying far away.
  • Display telemetry data like altitude, speed, and battery voltage on your mobile screen so you know when to head home.
  • Use your ears – Listen for changes in prop noise that could signal drifting or loss of control.
  • Keep flights short, about 5-10 minutes max, since the constant staring at a screen can be fatiguing. Take frequent breaks.
  • Use a tablet instead of a phone if possible – the bigger screen makes a big difference in visibility.
  • Consider getting a sunshade baseball cap. This lets you see the screen clearly while protecting your eyes from sun glare.

Best Drones for Flying FPV Without Goggles

While any FPV drone can technically be flown without goggles, some models are better suited for it than others. Here are some top picks:

DJI FPV Drone – DJI’s first dedicated FPV drone has a great 4K/60fps camera and O3 transmission for a clear feed. Plus it hasobstacle avoidance sensors.

iFlight Nazgul5 – An agile 5-inch racer drone with excellent HD video feed quality. The Nazgul5 is also very durable.

EMAX Tinyhawk II – A micro drone perfect for indoor flying without goggles. The Tinyhawk II has impressively low latency video transmission.

DJI Mavic Air 2 – DJI’s consumer drones like the Mavic Air 2 work great for FPV flying without goggles thanks to their stablefeeds and avoidance tech.

BetaFPV X-Knight 360 – The ducted propeller guards on this drone make it ideal for safely navigating small spaces FPV style without goggles.

Getting Started With FPV Flight

Interested in getting started with flying drones FPV style, with or without goggles? Here are some tips:

  • Use a simulator – Liftoff, Velocidrone, and DRL Simulator let you practice FPV flight virtually before taking to the real skies.
  • Learn manual flight – Master flying in Acro or Manual mode without reliance on GPS or altitude hold.
  • Start with a Tiny Whoop – Indoor-friendly micro drones like the Tinyhawk II are perfect for learning to fly FPV.
  • Use cheaper goggles – The Eachine EV800D or Skyzone SKY02X goggles are good budget options under $100.
  • Fly in ideal conditions – Calm days with minimal wind and clear visibility are best for beginners.
  • Consider FPV wing drones – Easy to self-launch and land, wings like the ZOHD Dart XL are great forFPV.
  • Follow drone laws – Respect no-fly zones, altitude limits, and other laws in your area to stay safeand legal.

So while flying FPV without goggles takes practice, it opens up the thrill of first-person drone flight to more users. With the right drone, screen setup, and flying conditions, FPV is possible without goggles for seasoned pilots. Beginners should still start out with goggles for the full experience until they have mastered manual flight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to fly an FPV drone without goggles?

In most countries, it is not illegal to fly an FPV drone without goggles, as long as you maintain visual line-of-sight with the drone at all times. However, regulations vary, so check your local laws.

Do I need a spotter if I don’t wear FPV goggles?

It’s highly recommended to have a spotter who can keep eyes on the drone when you’re not wearing goggles. Without the situational awareness goggles provide, having a spotter improves safety.

Can I fly FPV using just my smartphone screen?

Yes, you can use your smartphone mounted on your controller or on a stand as your FPV display instead of goggles. For best results, get a sunshade and increase screen brightness.

How far can I fly FPV without losing video signal?

Most consumer FPV drones can only transmit video reliably up to 1-2km unless you’re using specialized long-range FPV equipment. Obstacles and interference will also impact range.

Is there any latency or lag when flying FPV?

Even with the best FPV setup there will be minor latency, usually about 100-200ms. This delay can make flying more challenging. Using high quality, interference-free gear minimizes latency.

Can I record FPV video when flying without goggles?

Yes, you can record smooth cinematic FPV video to share even when flying by line-of-sight without goggles. Just be sure to use a drone with a high quality camera and stabilization.

What’s the best screen to use for FPV flying without goggles?

A tablet like an iPad provides a big enough screen for decent FPV situational awareness. For portability, smartphones work, but the smaller screen makes flying tougher.

Do I need a license to fly FPV drones?

In most countries, you do not need a license to fly FPV drones recreationally. However, some locations do require registering your drone. Always check local regulations.

How can I prevent nausea when flying FPV?

Enabling horizon leveling, using linear camera modes, keeping movements smooth, and taking regular breaks all help minimize nausea when flying FPV without goggles.