Essential Guide to Starting with FPV Drones in 2024

We recently had a customer reach out to us asking for some advice about the best way to get into FPV, since we wrote quite a thorough reply figured its worth sharing on here should anyone else be in the same situation. Complete with an AI generated book cover image :laughing:

The very best thing to do first is research - I’d recommend watching some videos on YouTube from channels like Joshua Bardwell, Chris Rosser, Mads Tech, DroneMesh, UAVFutures, Rotor Riot, and anyone else you find along the way who you enjoy. You should look at videos for setup guides, build guides, simulator guides and videos about learning how to fly. There’s also a number of helpful forums (such as this one) and guides available online such as Oscar Liang’s site. It’s also important to look into LiPo safety practices and risks, and how to fly safely, legally and responsibly.

There’s a lot of information available out there, so try not to be put off if you find it all overwhelming at first. Most drone operators/builders start off with very little knowledge, and with time and experience, it all builds up until you find yourself becoming a walking FPV encyclopedia. You only really need to know how to set up everything (your drone, goggles and radio) to get started, as well as learning how to fly. You’ll probably run into issues and have some crashes along the way, which is how you build knowledge - when these things happen, you research them and your understanding grows as you overcome the problems in bite-sized chunks. Eventually, you don’t need to look it up any more!

Generally, there’s two recommended routes into learning how to fly FPV drones:

Option 1: Get a radio and and an FPV simulator

  1. Get a radio that you’d be happy to use for a future drone build/purchase, and get flying in a simulator until you’re confident.


    • You can spend a little more on a good radio that could last you years even after you’ve learned how to fly.
    • You’re starting out with one of the most important pieces of kit for the hobby already checked off the list.
    • You can’t do any damage to yourself, others, or property when you’re flying in a simulator.
    • Some simulators provide tutorial sections to help you learn without having to look elsewhere.


    • While it’s gotten very good with time, some people still don’t feel that simulators quite mimic “real” drones exactly, which can be a little jarring when swapping over to a real drone.
    • FPV in a simulator is handled via your computer screen (unless you get some goggles which allow HDMI input, which can add to the overall cost substantially). This can contribute to the jarring feeling when transitioning to flight in the real world, as FPV goggles are a different experience to the screen.
    • Simulators don’t always accurately account for real world problems like video feed breakup, so you may not know what to expect and how to handle this at first.
    • As there are no consequences to simulator flights, you need to discipline yourself to ensure that you learn good flying skills and practices to avoid being a risk when flying a real drone.

Option 2: Get a small beginner drone kit

  1. Get a small drone (known as a Tiny Whoop) RTF (Ready-To-Fly) kit and learn at home, indoors.


    • You have an FPV drone kit right off the bat - everything you need to fly is included.
    • You get a feel for how a real drone flies and how to control it - perhaps better than you otherwise would in a simulator.
    • Tiny Whoops are small and minimize risk to yourself, others, pets, or property.
    • Lots of very experienced drone operators like to fly tiny whoops long after they’ve learned how to fly - they’re fun, and can be flown even when it’s raining outside! You might hold on to your kit for a long while.
    • An RTF kit can enable you to upgrade to larger drones in “stages”, as you already have everything you need. You could get a drone which is compatible with your kit’s radio and goggles, and then move on to a better radio if you find you want something better, and then the goggles in the future (or in any other order as your needs and wishes see fit!).
    • Perhaps most importantly, you have a real drone to learn to troubleshoot, upgrade, and repair. This knowledge is very valuable with time and better prepares you for larger drone builds and maintenance.
    • Your tiny whoop kit’s radio may well be compatible with simulators as well!


    • Tiny Whoops don’t always fly with exactly the same feel as larger drones. If/when you size up, there may be a bit of a learning period to the transition (though the basics remain the same).
    • Tiny Whoop kits are generally made up of cheaper, low-end gear (in terms of the radio and goggles), and you may find you want to replace these quickly if you’re not getting on with them, or shortly after you’ve completed learning, which can lead to “paying twice”.
    • Learning with a tiny whoop in a cluttered space is difficult - you may find you need a large open space at first to avoid crashing constantly.
    • Crashes have real world consequences - you might cause minor injuries or damage, but most likely, you can damage the drone meaning purchasing replacement parts.

Some people just pick one path or the other, and others like to go for both. It’s entirely up to you, but it’s important to learn how to fly as safely as possible before you go for a large(r) or more powerful drone. Make sure you read up on your local laws and regulations as well, to make sure you don’t break the law without even knowing!

What To Buy

If you are looking for a good radio for option 1 which may last you a very long time, I can recommend the following:

A quick note, for some radios, you’ll see options such as “ELRS”, “FrSky”, “CC2500” - these are the “protocol” that the radio uses. Essentially, you can think of it as the language the radio speaks. The drone will have a receiver, which has to have the same protocol / “speak the same language” to work with the radio. ELRS is quickly becoming a kind of de-facto standard for hobbyists due to its very impressive range and reliability, replacing FrSky and Crossfire protocols as the most popular/recommended options. If you have the choice, ELRS would be our recommendation.

If you’re instead (or also) looking for a RTF kit for option 2, I can recommend the following:

The Outdoors option is likely going to feel “closer” in terms of performance and characteristics to the Indoors/Outdoors option, but as it has no propeller guards, it’s less safe for flying indoors and therefore isn’t quite as helpful on rainy days, and is more likely to be damaged in a crash. The Emax E8 radio, while not the best, is compatible with PC simulators.

I hope this helps! Sorry for the wall of text… any questions, please ask and we will try to answer