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.
│ SANTA GOT ME A SKYZONE SKY02C GOGGLES
└──[ Sunday, December 24, 2020
It turns out I will not test the EV100. I got something way better - Skyzone
SKY02C. Top of the line budget goggles. They exceed all my expectations so
I wanted Skyzones those from the beginning. More than any FatSharks. For the
quality, features and looks.
When I got them in my hands for the first time I imediately feel quality.
The plastic, buttons and strap feels good and strong. They look like a
futuristic goggles not some cheap toy.
On top of that there is a superb painting using immersion printing
technique. I choose one with many colors. It coudl easly be put in the
Cyberpunk game and will fit perfectly.
Speaking of fit. The foam is comfortable and the shape of faceplate is
made for european heads. It closes all the light gaps on my face.
Goggles are light and the battery is on the side. This makes them easy
to wear for a long time.
From the other reviews i tought that the screens will be small. But they
are way bigger than that. For me this is the maximum size (or degrees of
view) I need. This is one of the reasons I ditched box goggles. I don't want
to move my eyes too much just to see battery indicator (in the corner).
Resolution is good enough for analog signal. It will be problematic for
future digital switch but for now it's perfectly fine.
I realy needed a good DVR. To this day I used Eachine ROTG02 with my phone.
It was barely usable but cheap. Good for start.
Thanks to SKY02C I now have automatic recording with way better quality.
What is most important is that now the videos will have stable fps.
Thanks to diversity recievers and my lollipop antenna I got way better
reception now. I only tested it indoors but the difference is significant.
I just love to use them. With just one click (on button) I have a live feed
from the quad and started recording. I can take off.
It's just fun to use them. And in the end that's what matter the most.
│ WHY I WANT THE EACHINE EV100
└──[ Sunday, October 25, 2020
FPV is all about connecting the pilot with its drone using a remote camera.
You need a good camera, transmitter, receiver, and goggles. The last part
is most important. Without good goggles, other parts will be irrelevant.
Since I started my journey I wanted good and comfortable goggles. To this
day I have my box type goggles from EMAX. Very cheap and basic. I can fly
using them but it's just not the same. They are bulky, fornt heavy, not so
good reception and the screen is just way too big.
The one that pro pilots use costs too much. Way more than the drone itself.
Like three times more. So I started to look for something less advanced
but reasonably priced. It turns out it's not that easy.
Every reviewer or race pilot recommends Fat Sharks. They compare other
goggles to those pointing out why are they superior and why I should
but them. For a long time, I just thought that is the reality. But recently I
started to really analyze the market and watch amateur reviewers and causal
pilots. What I found opened my eyes.
Many people enjoy way cheaper goggles and really recommends
them. One in particular - Eachine EV100. The exact one that all those
professionals say is so bad.
What do I want from goggles? They should be light, small, have good screens
and reception while keeping the price low.
EV100 seems to check all of those boxes. From what I learned they are the
best you can get in that price range. And this is the key part. They are
not the Fat Shark killers/replacement. Never meant to be. They are a very
good goggles for less than $100. Or 1/4th of the price of a Fat Sharks.
Eachine made an excelend looking pair. They look way better than most of the
expensive ones. Hard to imagine but that's the reality. They look premium
and clean. Almost like made by Apple. And I like this style. Every
reviewer accepts that. But from this point, I found two oposite camps.
One camp says that EV100 are bad because they don't have a true diversity.
They only have antenna diversity. One receiver that uses two antennas and
chooses the best signal from them. The other camps says that they can't
see any difference between two receivers (like in Fat Shark) and one. And
that Eachine has a very good reception. Good enough for me. I have a small
drone with small antenna and having even four recievers would change
The screens. This is the most talks about aspects of the EV100. Everyone
says it has very small screens. At first, I discarded those goggles because
I thought this will be a deal breaker. But the more I dig into it I started
to change my mind. First of all, when I saw a real honest comparison it
turns out that many expensive goggles have the same or little
bigger screens. Or have 16:9 screens what I do not want. Eachine has 4:3 as
it should be. I read that it's just a fist glance and more you use it the
more you adjust to the size and it will not be a problem at all.
The screen resolution and colors are very good. With that size, it's like
retina displays. You can not see the pixels.
I need a DVR and EV100 doesn't have one. But there is an official external
module that fixes this and it costs around $15. So on any comparisions it
says a lack of DVR but it's super easy and cheap to have one. That was
Knowing all of this I started to realy want Eachine EV100. It looks more
and more like the perfect fit for my TinyHawk. When I knwo what to expect
I will not be disappointed. But this information was hidden for some reason.
It looks like Fat Shark just overshadows it.
I found many amateurs like me that were super happy with those goggles. I
hope I will join them soon!
│ BEGINNER TIPS #2
└──[ Sunday, October 25, 2020
Never fear crashing the drone. You need to accept that you will crash.
You will break the drone. It's a little misleading when you watch videos
online of other pilots. You rarely see crashes. And those happen even
on the best of the best. Yes, Mr. Steele also crashes!
That being said the key thing is to get a drone that is rugged while
easy and cheap to repair. For me, TinyHawk 2 Race fills those requirements.
When I started FPV I crashed every 30second. After a few months, it was
few crashes per pack. Now after more than half a year, I can fly full
pack without a crash. But it's more of a cruising. But when I'm learning
some new trick o try to fly fast - crashing are unavoidable.
I crashed the TinyHawk so many times. And finally, I brake the carbonfiber
frame. But the new one is very cheap and swapping it is easy. I did not
brake any prop yet. Avan props are indestructible :)
There is an unofficial rule that if you do not crash it means you do not
learn. You need to go outside your comfort zone and try new, scary things.
There is one exception to the things I write above: water/rain. Do not
fly above the body of water. If something gets wrong - you failsafe and
the drone drops - it's over. And you will lose the most costly part -
the flight controller and/or video transmitter. It is not worth it.
Rain and wet grass are less dangerous but still can do the same damage.
If you end up in the water - unplug the battery BEFORE you take the drone
out. There is a *little* more chance that it will survive thanks to that.
Just put it in the rice for a night.
FLY WEACH WEEK
Flying each day over and over is not better than flying once a week.
It may be not logical at first but that's how our brain works.
It needs time to "process". After a few days without flying you'll
find that you become way better. I hear that from Mr. Steele and did
not believe it. But then I pick up a drone after a long pause due to
bad weather and other stuff. And I was impressed by how good my skill was.
It happens to me a few more times. Now I know it is true.
In short - flying day and day will increase your skill just a little bit.
Making a few days off and then fly will increase your skills way more.
If you live in a country like me - Poland - the weather just make the
days off for you.
FLY SUPER TIGHT SPACES
My TinyHawk 2 Race is designed for outdoors. Anyone was saying that
it is way too powerful to fly indoors. And that is true in some way.
If you want to fly exclusively indoors then yes - use any TinyWhoop.
But for me, the challenge of flying a racing drone in super tight spaces
is worth the trouble. I learn throttle management and increase my space
awarnes dramatically. Yes, I destroy a few plants in the apartment and
crashes a lot more. But when I go outdoor and fly in the tree branches
it's way easier now.
I also way better in low flying / low throttle management. It is very
difficult with TinyHawk 2 Race as it has motors designed for speed
not for precision. But flying in the apartment forces me to learn
how to move the stick very, very delicately to keep the quad just
above the floor.
This is super important if you want to hit low gaps under the park
benches. I always was impressed by others that hit those. I couldn't
see myself doing that at the beginning. It was so hard to do.
Now I can do it easily and with confidence. And all of that I owe to
│ POCKET GUIDE TO FPV DRONES
└──[ Sunday, September 20, 2020
Table of Content
- Drone classes
- Hardware you need
- The skill levels
- The cool parts
- Bottom line
I become addicted to flying a drone at the beginning of 2020. I like the
idea since the first DJI showed in the news years ago. It was very expensive
and big. But prices go down and the drones become smaller and just easier to
use. They are all designed for videography. And it's cool when you travel a
lot and visit awesome sites. But when you live in a city like me a classic
drone is hardly usable. An now we are facing the restrictions that will
prevent ppl from flying them over the other ppl. I also don't travel that
much. For those reasons I never bought one. I wanted it as anyone but don't
have a real reason to use it.
That time I did not know anything about custom drones. They are made mostly
for racing. Hence the name that sticks to them. And those are way more
interesting. Technologyimprove to the level that racing drones become very
small and cheap. I watched a few videos how ppl racing in the coffeeshop
under tables and chairs and over lamps under the ceiling. This looked
amazing. The best part was the live video feed in goggles. I was ready to
buy my first starter kit - EMAX TinyHawk RTF.
China's delivery took some time. But it finally arrived and I was super
excited. Flying a racing drone is way different and harder than flying DJI
type of doing. So the first days were constant crashes and learning how to
not hit the ceiling right after takeoff. After a week the first challenge
was to fly from room to room. It seems like an easy task but it's not for
a new pilot. And that's the whole point. I was hooked because it requires
leaning and rewards you at every step. And there is a lot to learn and a
hell lot of steps to take.
DRONE CLASSES / GROUPS
Racing drones are mostly known for those big and dangerous beasts that
require a big chunk of a battery. In reality, all our hobby drones are micro
drones. The normal-sized drone is a military airplane that just doesn't have
a pilot in it. This micro category is divided into drone classes. Those are
invented by the community and have loosely defined definitions. But that's
fine. It is just to make life easier for discussions and finding information
about the given drone family.
The most common is the "5-inch" class. Maybe also named "6s". One says about
propellers size other about the battery cells count. Big drones need big
batteries. Those are packed in a series of cells. As I mentioned those quads
are very dangerous. Putting a finger in the rotating blades will cut it in a
split second. What you gain is speed and power to have a GoPro mounted on
them. With bigger antennas and better electronics range is also wider. They
are not cheap and require a lot of manual maintenance. Not for a newbie.
Another group of drones is named "Toothipics". These measure around 3" and
runs on 2-3s batteries. They are way smaller and lighter. Are easy to carry
around. Still powerful to do all kinds of tricks. But instead of GoPro, all
they can have is a tiny Insta360 Go. Most pilots do not use the second
camera as those are mostly for training and freestyle in the backyard or a
park. The name was given by a kebabfpv who first build such a quad.
Third, the smallest class is known as "Whoop". From a TinyWhoop drone
invented by Jesse Perkins. For some time it was the only such small quad.
It was very cheap and safe to fly over people. Now there are many more to
choose and everyone hijacked this name as a new category. This is the best
choice for a first FPV drone. There are many ready to fly (RTF) packs for a
relatively low price to choose like EMAX TinyHawk. They run on 1s batteries.
This makes them unpowered. For flying in very tight terrain as an apartment,
it's exactly the idea. This also helps new pilots get used to flying. You
can fly outside but it will be not good for many tricks and wind will become
a problem. But it is still super fun at the beginning.
HARDWARE YOU NEED
To fly FPV Drones you need three basic components: a drone, radio
controller, and a pair of goggles. Also batteries for all of them, spare
propeller, etc. But those main three are the most essential. You'll swap
batteries or propellers a lot but stick with the goggles and radio for a
The drone part is obvious. But the other to are mostly ignored by the
regular people. And those are as important as the drone itself.
Most cheap video drones use your phone/tablet as a steering device. Touch
screens are the worst thing to use for super-precise steering. What you need
is a (very) good manual controller. Each controller has two sticks and
operates in mode 2 - left stick controls yaw and throttle, right roll, and
pitch. Those are the most important parts. If there is an option, take one
that uses HAL sensors. Some Chinese controllers are not that expensive and
use HAL sensors like Jumper T12 or T18. I highly recommend them. Using a
cheaper, toy-like controller will result in bad flying. This is the first
upgrade you should make.
Goggles are your virtual eyes. You can fly without them in LOS (Line Of
Sight). It means flying around you as far as you can clearly see the drone.
It's still fun to do but it's nothing compared to the FPV with goggles on
your head. Professional goggles are very, very expensive. It's the most
expensive part of the FPV hobby. But there are cheaper options. What's the
difference between them? Mostly ergonomics and features. I personally still
use cheap box goggles that are big and bulky without andy DVR on board.
But the video quality is basically the same as it's all analog PAL/NTSC. You
can't go higher than that. Start with cheap ones and upgrade when you're
ready to dive into the hobby.
THE SKILL LEVELS
I invented the 5-level hierarchy for a typical drone pilot. From complete
noob to a pro licensed sports star.
You don't know anything about the drones. You know they exist and can fly.
You have all the hardware, the quad is ready to fly. You crash each time
seconds after takeoff. You need to learn everything.
You fly in stab/horizon mode. Indoors. You can takeoff a hoover for some
time and move around a little bit. You crash after few seconds after
finishing any maneuver.
You fly in stab/horizon mode. Indoors. You can fly from room to room and get
back. It takes time but you can avoid crashes on known paths. You learned
the knowledge of moving the sticks very delicately and don't panic when
something goes out of plan. You repaired your drone (physically).
You fly in stab/horizon mode. Indoors and outdoors. You go outside and can
fly around the trees. You crash a few times per pack. You rescued a crashed
drone from the tree using turtle mode. You squashed the last juice from the
first battery packs and needed a replacement.
You fly in air/rate mode. Mostly outdoors. You learned the rate mode and a
few basic tricks. You crash once a few packs. You can hit a small gap in a
tree. You own more than one drone. You know exactly what each part of the
drone works and what upgrades/replacements you want to do. You killed at
last one quad.
You fly in air/rate mode. Mostly outdoors. You start in a race. You practice
individual tricks. You start to train racing. You place gates on the grass.
You were on at last one race with prizes.
This is the last level as you can only be better at anything you already
learned. There is no new type of skill to acquire. You spend another 90% of
the time to become a master.
Keeping the quadcopter in the air and steering it is a very difficult task.
That's why almost all the drones are driven by computers. Especially the
commercial like DJI is making. It needs to be easy and safe to fly. They
have many sensors and systems for obstacle avoidance. Pilots do not steer
the engines. The pilot gives orders to the drone computer that he wants to
fly forward with a given speed, take a turn or stop. Stopping is
particularly important because it's way harder than most peoples imagine.
Racing quads works a little differently. There is still a computer that runs
all the motors but there is little help. The pilot is deciding how much and
how fast the drone should rotate in a given axis. In reality, there is not
even a "forward" nor "stop" action. It's just a pitch rotation.
Example. As a pilot you push the stick forward, wait for a second and go
back to the center. A computer-guided drone will fly forward by pitching
down and increase the throttle. Then after that second it will pitch up, use
the throttle to slow the forward movement, and then pitch to the horizon and
adjust the throttle to hover. Racing drones will pitch down and the drone
will fly forward but also decrease altitude. There is no stopping so it will
just pitch back and drift.
If you understand that difference now we can get back to the most important
thing. Racing quads have two modes to control those axis rotations.
Horizon / Stab mode
In this mode stick movement control how much rotate the aircraft. Exactly as
in the example. If the pilot moves the stick in some direction the drone
will rotate the same amount. When the stick is centered the drone will also
center. Another benefit of this mode is that the computer helps with keeping
the drone aligned with the horizon. That way it's easier to fly and it is
used mostly for indoor flying. But this is very limiting.
Acro / Rate / Normal mode
This mode is where the fun begins. It's super hard to learn at first. It's
just so different that our brain needs to get used to it. But when it does
it's the most freedom and smooth way to fly. So what's all about it? The
stick positions define how fast should quad rotates ina given axis. There is
zero assistance from the computer.
For example, you do not keep the stick forward to fly forward it will just
keep the drone rotating - pitching slow or fast. Pushing the stick fully
forward and keeping it in that position will result in 360 rolls. Until it
crashes. To move forward you move the stick a little bit and go back to the
center. This way the drone will pitch a little bit and stay that way. You
also need to add throttle to not hit the ground. With the right amount of
throttle, it will fly forward with too much it will fly up and forward. And
it will do this until you correct position by moving the stick back the same
amount to pitch back. But if the craft gets the momentum it will drift
forward for some time. To really stop it you need to pitch up to use engine
force to slow and then in the right moment pitch down to the horizon. If you
do this too late it will start to fly backward... It does not feel like fun
and it is definitely not for a beginner.
In both modes the throttle management works the same way - just changes the
motors speed. In commercial drones, this stick controls the altitude of the
THE COOL PARTS
As you can see flying racing drones is fun and challenging at the same time.
Using small whoop you can explore your apartment like never before. See it
from the view of a fly. Build tracks from household stuff like chairs and
cardboard boxes. Then taking it outside to the garden or near the park is
another level of excitement. Racing between trees and branches, chasing
birds, looking at the neighborhood from above. Looking at yourself from all
Finally when you learn acro mode and just start to "feel" the aircraft. Then
you become free. The pure feeling of flying whenever you want at any angle
You are only blocked by your own reflex and skills.
To this day I love to just go in the air and fly around. Without any tricks,
hitting small gaps, or trying to get the fastest lap. Just be there and fly
like a bird. For me, it is an act of meditation. It's hard to describe to
someone who never experiences it. Looking at videos and flying yourself in
the area you think you know very well is on another level.
Know what OOBE (Out Of Body Experience) is? Well, FPV is just like that.
You can look at yourself and just fly in places you'll never be able to be.
I think this is why it's so addicting.
Not that important but still a perk is just a fact that you have a drone.
For many people, it will be a status symbol. Definitely a cool gadget.
Strangers stop nearby when I'm flying just to look and comment. And kids
love this stuff. When wearing a goggle with pointing antennas and a big
radio controller with many switches you look like form dystopian cyberpunk
There is fun and all. But it's also a good exercise for your mind. You will
sharpen your reaction time, spatial awareness, and being calm in stressful
situations. In the beginning, you will lack all of those and crash. Training
FPV is literally training your brain. You will exceed those skills thanks to
this hobby. It will help you on the road while biking or driving.
Training outside will force you to take fresh air and find new exciting
places to fly. For me, it's a reason to leave the apartment. Each journey
now a quest to find that perfect spot to ripp. If you're like me and like to
spend a lot of time behind the computer everything that encourages me to
move is a good thing.
I hope I interested you and soon you'll be in the air :)
│ 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 #2
└──[ 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!