My thoughts of micro, racing, whoop drones. Some tips&tricks. Stuff I never think of before starting the hobby. Anything I discovered and want to share.
│ UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
└──[ Sunday, July 19, 2020
Rescently I got strange problems with TX on my quad. It failsafe withoud any
reasons randomely during flight. I tried different antenna angles, calibrated
the radio few times. Nothing helps.
Lastly I started to update the OpenTX in Jumper T12 Pro and its
multiprotocol firmware. I also change the boot image with an image of
the TinyHawk. Just for fun.
Today I go for my usual "3 packs a day" training. And don't get a single
failsafe. The reception was also more stable.
Update your software!
│ SKILLS YOU LEARN FROM FPV
└──[ July 4, 2020
Flying micro drones is fun. It can be beneficial for your brain also.
Training FPV flying makes you better in reaction time, fast decision-making
planning, taming stress, orientation, and some electronics.
Reaction time combined with fast decision making is defining a good pilot.
Flying at high speed between obstacles there is just no room for thinking.
Decisions must be made instantaneous. And if the decision was bad or delayed
it's a crash. And it's not that easy as just not hitting a tree in front of you.
After that maneuver, there's probably more trees. Deciding how to fly over it
you need to also think about what will be the next step. There just needs to be
a space to continue the flight. Saving one hit to just hit something second
after that is not good. And without this planning, it will end with chaotic
avoidance one after another. You need to think of all of those possible paths
and choose one that is a smooth, curved, and safe one.
And when you choose purely you need to correct that fast. Stress will run high.
It's that moment when you can lose it and start to move the sticks all over the
place. It always ends in a crash. With more experience, it becomes easier to not
panic and just barely corrects the flight path.
Another cool thing that eventually becomes unconscious is to always remember
your orientation in space around. Where the quad is, where are the key points
of the path you chose and where you are as a pilot. You need those to keep the
radio signal connected. Flying over that concrete building may end up in losing
connection and crash. But this is an easy example. In the park you have trees.
One tree will not make a difference. But when between you and the craft the
number of trees increases it can be a problem. And when something happens, and
it will happen for sure, and you crash you need to know where it was for a
rescue mission. Everything looks different from above. You need to know the
place you're flying. Keeping track of some distinguishing features of the
terrain. Like a big tree, some house, you in the middle of a field. All those
things that will make it easier to map in your brain where the drone is at
the moment and where it is heading.
The drone will break eventually. You'll brake the antenna or motor. I learn a
lot about antennas, why it needs to be exactly that long how to solder it
correctly. Soldering alone will be the first skill you learn. How to handle
lipo batteries. And many other little things about electronics, physics,
I think that all of those things are very useful in life overall. And learning
them from such a fun hobby is a great opportunity. It won't be easy but it will
be a well spend time.
│ TINYHAWK II RACE FIRST DAY IMPRESSIONS
└──[ Monday, June 15, 2020
Waiting is over - I got the TinyHawk II Race! My dream quad. Huge thanks to
Joshua Bradwell for this awesome gift.
First impressions of the drone are overwhelmingly positive. I fly 6 packs
already outside. And one pack at home. This is an outdoor beast.
This TinyHawk looks amazing. For me, it's the most beautiful drone out there.
It's small and light yet extremely rugged. The frame is made of carbon fiber
and the drone came equipped with Avan propellers. I still did not break any
on the classic TinyHawk. Those in the newest are even stronger.
Video quality thanks to Runcam 2 is also a huge improvement. It's bright and
sharp. It has a good dynamic range. On top of that, the link is stronger and
But the Race would not be named that without a reason. The motors are top-notch.
They are super quiet and have this nice low pitch sound. It's not like a
mosquito as the drones just to sound but more of humming from a rack server.
The drone is super fast. At last for me. Even if I don't fly that fast it's
important when I need this speed to escape some potential crash. It also helps
with diving from high altitude. I have no problems avoiding hitting the ground.
With my slow, cine like flying I got around 6min for each 2s pack (2x1s).
That's almost twice what I'm just too. I saw a lot of negativity against Emax's
decision to make it double 1s battery instead of one 2s. But I'm glad they
did that. I have now 3 packs for my new drone without buying any new battery.
All the TinyHawks are using the same 1s batts. I don't see any problems with
Last but not least is the tune of this quad. It is just perfect. I didn't need
to change anything. It flys superb out of the box (using second profile).
That's enough for a first impression. I'm very happy :)
│ ORQA SKYDIVE SIMULATOR
└──[ Wednesday, June 10, 2020
I once played the ORQA SkyDive simulator on the day it went live (as a
preview). I could not fly at all. The quad flew very strangely and
uncontrollable. I was disappointed and forget about it.
A few days ago I heard about an update. It includes two very important fixes:
- 4s default quad (from 6s)
- new improved physics
Now I was impressed by how good the simulator works. And I think it's my
new favorite sim!
1. Good Physics
Physics are on pair with DRL Sim. Dron feels controllable. It's still too
powerful and big for me but closer to usable. In no time I was able to rip
those bando sites. It is a construction site but I imagine it's abandoned.
I have a few favorite spots on that map good for training. For now on I don't
need anything more.
2. Runs on IBM x3570 Server
I have a 40" NEC monitor hooked up to the IBM server. It's part media center
part web/cloud host. It has 2x Quadro nVidia cards and 16GB of ram. And a lot
of CPUs on top of that. I was very happy that Orqa.SkyDive runs so smoothly.
I changed the resolution to something around 980p. I have half of that in real
life FPV feed :) It's more than enough. Now I can sit on the couch and practice
on a big screen .
3. Fast. Good and Free
What's sums it's all is that the simulator just works. Windows, Linux. It
recognized my Jumper T12 (as a Taranis) and I was able to set it with no
problems. The time form clicking play in Steam app to flying in the virtual
sky is short. Significantly shorter than DRL. No bullshit videos and
complicated menus. Just a few seconds of loading screen and a fly now button.
Also, no intro showcasing the level. It gets straight to flying. I like that.
Ah, and it's free. As for now at last.
│ JUNE UPDATE
└──[ Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Since last weeks many things have changed. Covid is practycaly over. I can go
to the park to lay on the hammock without any problem. On the other hand my
resurrected TinyHawk broke agan. This time it's more serious - one of the ESC
is not giving enough power to the motor. It's not quite dead but this makes
the quad unstable and unable to use full power of all four engines.
In the mine time I started dedicated page for 3d printed parts for TinyHawk
electronics as a Project Falco. I designed new canopy. It is quite heavy
so after few tests I made a super light alternative. But that was the moment
that ESC broke and the project is on hold. I need to buy new FC.
Another project I started is FPV Playground. It is a small set of 3D
printable tabletop props for drone racing. Tiny gates, flags and drones.
You can use the set to Plan your race track ahead. Or give it to a kid to spark
the inspiration to become a fpv pilot in the future. Overall fun staff.
I'm still waiting for the new drone but it's very close. Few days remaining!
TINYHAWK RESURRECTED THE STORY
Thursday, May 14, 2020
EMAX TinyHawk is my problem child. It is a perfect drone for beginners. I began
my hobby with zero knowledge about drones. TinyHawk forced me to learn how to
repair, maintain, and rebuild it. I want to tell the story of that process.
The first thing I learned was to check motors. If they rotate not smoothly it
means there is some dirt - in most cases hairs. Taking them from the bottom is
quite easy but requires unscrewing the motor form the frame. To make it easier
I always unplugged the whole engine from the mainboard and work on it
separately. Then those hairs got winded up and clogged inside. This was harder
to get out as I needed to disassemble  the whole motor.
Turns out those plugs in the mainboard are the most failing thing in the whole
drone. It's a known problem. They got loose and stops giving power. After some
time mine got broken one after another. The solution to this problem is not that
easy. At first, it's just a matter of pushing the cables by hand and it works
again. But it's not a permanent solution. The day came and TinyHawk was grounded.
To fix that I needed to solder the wires straight to the mainboard.
The frame and canopy are not designed to have fixed wires. It is impossible to
solder wires and then put the frame and canopy or to solder while the drone is
assembled. I decided I need a new frame. Helpfully someone made one and upload
it to the Thingiverse. I printed it.
This way I now have a TinyHawk on a completely customized frame. And it's a way
nicer frame. It's now looking more like a toothpick than a whoop.
Back to the soldering motor wires. I only have an old soldering iron that is way
too big for the small spots. But after some try and error I manage to attach
motor wires. Some first test flights ended up each time with some broken
joints. But after resoldering them so many times I learned how to do it
properly and now they surviving most crashes.
The battery holder was another thing I removed. I printed a small piece of
plastic that holds a velcro strap and also has landing gear. Replacing the
battery is way easier now. And the landing gear - straight legs provide an
easy way for the drone to lift off.
Then the antenna bends in the middle making the reception way worse. I started
to get the RX connection losses. I needed to fix that. I know nothing about
antennas. This page  was very helpful. I took antenna from the original
radio transmitter (from RTF combo) and welded it to the drone. Now the
reception is fine again.
On one of the training sessions in the park I hit the tree and the drone
crashed in a small pond. The frame broke, one of the props get lost and the
electronics were flooded . I get home as soon as possible and put the
TinyHawk into the rice . I printed the new frame and reassembled everything
on it. The drone works again.
I learned how to solder small cables, why antennas have a particular length,
how to make good and strong modifications and upgrades to the frame. I did not
surrender and keep my drone working  :)
ACRO VS ANGLE MODES
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
I write in the last post how the Angle mode is the ultimate answer. I want to
Flying outside where you have unlimited space. Most of it is empty. Acro mode
is so much fun and freedom. But doing the same indoor. Especially in a super
small apartment trying to hit that gap between the chair and the flower next
to it. In this environment Angle mode is your friend.
It's not true that using one mode will make you forget the other or make it
harder to learn. From the time I learned Acro I become much better at Angle.
I learned to move the sticks very jently.
Long story short, use the modes according to the situation your in.
Acro Mode (air) outdoor, Angle Mode (stab) indoor.
FIRST ACRO FLIGHT IRL
Saturday, May 9, 2020
During a time when my drone was grounded I started to learn Acro mode. Till now
I only fly in Angle and Horizon modes. Learning Acro in real life using a real
drone was too hard and too strange to me. And I didn't get it.
I spend 13 hours in Drone Racing League Sim flying only Acro. At first, it was
super hard but after a few hours I was able to fly with some comfort and after
a few days I finally get the idea. Soon I was able to race against time. I even
beat my scores on easy tracks. All nice but how this translate to the real
After three weeks I got a working drone again. I get the spare motor, soldered
all wires to the board, 3D printed new frame, and was ready to go outside.
I paired for the first time my new controller (Jumper T12 Pro) and switched
to the Acro mode.
It flew like a bird! I was surprised by how good I am in this mode. The new
controller makes a huge difference in steering. It's a must-have if you want
to make progress. As of the Acro mode it gives me that connection to the drone
everyone was talking about. Now I get it.
That saying I still think it's better to start flying in Horizon/Angle and get
used to all the other things like looking at the battery, localizing yourself
in the environment, don't get lost, etc. But forcing yourself in a simulator
to learn Acro is very good practice.
Acro mode is the ultimate goal.
DRL SIM IS MY NEW ADDICTION!
Sunday, April 26, 2020
I started using simulators with FPV FreeRider. It's very nice for its price
but overall to simple. Then I bought an official simulator from Drone Racing
League. The DRL Simulator is available on Steam for ~$9 (I paid 35,99PLN).
With mixed feelings at the start after a few hours with it I got hooked for
The first flys with it were complete failures. Physics are super realistic and
it's hard to get used to. I chose 3" class as this is one step up from
TinyWhoops and easiest to fly. I couldn't hit any gates nor made a lap without
constantly crashing. That was a hard realization after getting quite good at
the FreeRider sim. But I played more and try to get the feeling off the new
After just 5 hours with the sim I could fly around over the trees and hit bigger
gates. I get used to the weight of the drone - turning or stopping when you
gain the speed is super hard for beginners.
The next logical step was to take some racing practice. I started with the
easiest and short track. It reassembles an 8 number. With two wide curves and
big gates. After the first finished race I got the information that I'm 350-ish
on the leaderboard. That was a very bad run just first I got finished. Then
after a few tries later I got to the 155th spot! It was that moment when I
decided to get to the top 100th place. Race after race I got better. Crashed a
lot after being too aggressive on the curves or just missed the gate. In the
end I secured 105th place. It was too late at that moment to try harder but I
still was quite happy with the results. It was my first racing experience.
That leaderboard and constantly trying to be better, finish the race faster
by a second. This experience sold me a DRL simulator.
There are also awesome freestyle maps. Real-life and futuristic. Easy and
capable editor to put props exactly as you want. A lot of maps created by the
community. Lastly the exact same tracks that pro pilots fly at competitions!
UPDATE: Next evening I got back to that track. After few tryouts I finally
got to the #98th place! :)
SIMULATOR - LEARNING OFFLINE
Thursday, April 23, 2020
I never used a simulator before because I did not have a radio transmitter that
could be connected to the PC. But now as I upgraded to the Jumper T12 I can.
I broke my TinyHawk and don't have any working drones at the moment. And As I
always saying: each day with a grounded drone is a lost opportunity to be a
better pilot. To not lose those days till I get TH2 Racer I decided to use a
simulator. The FPV FreeRider is my choice. It's cheap, works fine, and
simulates physics very realistic.
I also never fly in acro mode before. Only angle and recently horizont. So why
not use this time to learn acro the easy way, not hurting the drone? That's how
I began to love the simulator.
I follow the "How To Fly A FPV Quadcopter / Racing Drone" by Joshua Bardwell
and start learning acro.
After 30 min I get the idea and can fly around some trees. After 4 hours I was
able to fly in the parking lot and thru towers! I'm still making a lot of
mistakes and don't feel comfortable in small spaces. But looking at the rate of
crashes I will be a nightmare to learn in real life.
I don't know yet how this will translate to flying a real drone but based on
comments it should be fine. That's why I now highly recommend buying a good
radio and using a simulator a lot for any new pilots.
BEGINNER TIPS #1
Saturday, April 18, 2020
If you're a beginner you should always have those simple tips in the back of
1. Never fly over other peoples, crowds or private possessions.
2. Buy a DVR equipment and record each fly. If you lost your drone you can
look at the recording and figure out where it was last in the air.
3. Enable turtle mode if you can! It **will** saves you from many dead-end
situations like drone stuck in the tree.
4. Get familiar with your spot and pay attention to the places where the wind
always winds from one direction.
5. Pay attention to the battery level. Fly closer to you when battery capacity
is at the end (~3.0V).
6. Don't leave fully powered batteries for too long. Use them, recharge them.
7. Fly as much as you can. Each day :)
WHY MICRO DRONES?
Saturday, April 18, 2020
I started with drones at the beginning of 2020. First with the DJI Tello.
An extremely capable drone for its price (~100 euro). But it's more of a
tool - a flying camera than anything else. Also, it can only fly outdoors
with no obstacles around. And it's as good as the environment around you.
Living in the city in a small apartment it's not good. I use my Tello only
on holidays and special occasions.
Then I found out about TinyWhoop - a micro drone for flying indoor and with
First Person View in mind. It started a "whoop" category. Small drones make the
pilot feel like a little insect flying around the house. As with all the hobbies
it instantly becomes a competition with racing around caffess and small
That instantly loved the idea. I can fly at home, take the whole pack in a small
bag outside whenever I go to the park. I can fly over the trees, under benches.
I can feel free!
FPV DOCUMENTING PROJECT
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Flying a micro drone is hard at the beginning. It doesn't have any AI assistance
other than keeping the horizon straight. No obstacle avoidance. It flyes
exactly how the pilot moves the sticks on the controller. That's both good
My first days with TinyHawk was filled with constant crashes. But slowly I
getting better and better. I thought that many peoples will come to the same
problems and challenges. I wanted to help others while learning myself.
Lastly I wanted to have a history of my progress. A place where I can point to
in the future and show that to be good you need to practice. And anyone started
That's why this page was created. I hope you find something useful and stay
inspired to keep flying!