You, yes you, can build and fly a personal UAV. Read this and see how!

If you like this instructable, consider voting for me in the RC contest.

I remember riding in the car when I was little, watching the shadow of our car float over the ground beyond the guard rail. I would imagine that the shadow was from a plane and would think about what it would be like to see the journey from the air. What if I had a little plane that I could fly from the car and explore the areas just behind the trees. What if I could launch a plane on a hike, and see the far peak on the other side of the glacier, or take a video of myself and friends waving from the top of a mountain?
These days, I live near the ocean and wonder what it would be like to capture video of sailboat races, darting in and out of the masts like the seagull scene in "Finding Nemo." What about a video of whales from the air? To see what the seagulls see as they float over the water, under massive bridges and over tiny islands...

Then I found FPV UAVs and the dream became a reality.

This instructable will walk through your my first FPV UAV, teach you how to get started, how to make one, how to fly one, and introduce modifications you can make as you dive deeper into the sport.

*NOTICE: I do not use this plane for any purposes other than photography and research (i.e. search and rescue concepts, aero design, measurements and mapping, etc...)
I do not support the nefarious use of these planes for spying or militaristic intent. I believe that as more UAVs fill the sky, it is important to show their potential as tools for science and recreation. As I build and fly, I often get comments like "what evil will you strap to it?", "who are you spying on?" To those people, I hope that you stop watching fox news and start watching Planet Earth. The world is full of places to explore, it gets even better from the air!

Step 1: Eyes in the Sky

FPV is going to cost you money. I hate to say it, but its true. The part you want to shell out a little dough for is your telemetry equipment. I went ahead and got a set of Fat Shark goggles with a camera. I really like the package I got from ReadyMadeRC.com

The goggles, camera, transmitter and receiver, plus shipping all came to my door in less than 3 days at a cost just under $300.00
I got the:
Fat Shark Predator V2 Video Glasses w/Transmitter and Camera

There are cheaper kits. There are more expensive kits. I chose this one but can always upgrade later!

Why should I spend $300:
-You can fly, drive, sail, any model with this camera. It can be moved and placed whenever you want. You can even strap it to a dog and see what he does.
-The goggles allow for hookups with other video equipment and camera upgrades
-Fat Shark has figured out a nice system, they fit well and even have extra lenses for those who wear glasses. 

Thanks for your good infos. Could have been more extensive though. <br> <br>Anyway you propose to buy a 110$ plane for learning and after moving to a 75$ ? <br>And how about the vital point of &quot;Return to home&quot; function ? <br> <br>Good point for the parachute and the launcher. Two great ideas. <br> <br>More details would be welcome! <br> <br>Best
And also how about the 2 cameras? One for FPV and the other like gopro for shooting and filming ? <br>In this case, are you servo remote the gopro start or just mounting it with filming all the time?
Wazza, Thanks for the support! <br>The main differences between the foam plane for $110 and the $70 TD1.5 is the functionality and what comes with it. The firebird comes with motors and remote etc... But it is meant to be a trainer, a stepping stone to bigger UAV's. The TD1.5 is made of fiberglass and balsa, and alas, only the frame costs $70. The motor, esc, radio, etc... all add up to more and there are a huge variety of upgrades to choose from that could cost very little, or thousands. My rig is set up to carry a parachute, large battery and an HD camera along with the FPV gear. I will soon post more pages with flight data and photography! I also have replied to resistanceisfutileiflessthan1ohm concerning the amount of description in my instructable. Please feel free to follow the link there for the factory build instructions. My goal was for this instructable to be useful for other models as well, each will be slightly different. Hope this helps! <br>~M~
seriously cool, one of the best things i've ever seen on here. a bit more detail could be helpful in the description of how it was built. what is it's range and flight time?
Thank you for your support! I finally found that there is a set of instructions to build this model on hobbykings &quot;international&quot; version (they ship from several warehouses with different order pages depending on country). These provide more detail for those who wish to view it. At the bottom of the order page here: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__22175__Target_Drone_v1_5_Fiberglass_FPV_Airplane_1520mm_ARF_.html You will find a tab labeled &quot;files&quot; <br>The pdf contains instructions. <br>I however, did not want to include instructions. I saw the plane as a blank frame and built it how I saw fit. I hope that others who build from this project design will post their own unique features, hacks and mods. I hope this helps! <br>~M~ <br>PS, I will add a second section with flight data and photography soon,
The Bear, The web company is putting a warning label on the goggles because they are able to be used with high strength radio equipment. I would highly recommend reading up on all legal matters before getting into this hobby, however, fpv flight with these goggles only requires an amateur ham license if used with long range UHF equipment (ultra high frequency). A standard radio, as shown in this instructable (2.4GHz), is used for general RC flight. Flying this plane with this setup and FPV goggles is ok under current law. Do not fly your plane further than you can see and/or hear. IF the goggles cut out, you should be able to return and land your plane under normal RC flight operation (as stated when practicing with the firebird.) Thank you for your concern!
<p>This is one of the best drone projects on instructables!</p>
<p>Does anyone know where to buy the Target Drone v1.5, as I can't find it on HobbyKing or Ebay :\ I really am looking for this particular rig or any other one that looks like this as it really suits the UAV look in my opinion.</p>
If it fall underwater will it be destroyed
<p>Hi! Fantastic Instructable! I am looking at building this, and I was wondering what your average flight speed was in this? How long do your batteries last? </p>
Crikey, that's amazing!
<p>How do you determine the propeller size?</p>
Looks cool
<p>Could you post a video of it in flight? and please post more instructables on drones :) </p>
<p>Hello, I want to build this and I have all the pats sorted out i just dont know what size propeller i need, I will be using this exact same body and ( <a href="http://buzzhobbies.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=108" rel="nofollow">http://buzzhobbies.com.au/index.php?route=product/...</a> )</p><p>and this motor </p><p>( <a href="http://buzzhobbies.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=108" rel="nofollow">http://buzzhobbies.com.au/index.php?route=product/...</a> )</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Henry</p>
<p>hi, i am wondering if you would be willing to help me out with my east project, i am building a UAV for the purpose of putting eyes in the air for service aid workers in the event of a natural disaster like a tornado or a earthquake, and also being able to be sized up for the purpose of wild fire surveying and large building fires</p>
wow! I really like the build of this, nice job bro
Hi saw your project here. Thanks for sharing. How do you like your 9x radio system?
<p>Something like UAV Factory Penguin B ???</p>
<p>UAV Fasctory Penguin B something like that ???</p>
This guy now has a contract with the NSA
put a small zip tie loosely on the rubber band, it will make it work better
where are your first two videos ?
this thing is seriously awesome, kind of want one, but seems like alot of trouble and a pretty good chunk of monies.
Would you please make a DIY Video I will be Very Grateful :D&nbsp;
have to ask, <br>How to you hook up the parachute on this model?
Do you have a flight video this sounds awesome, I wanna build this and take it the Grand Canyon
Didn't need the comment about fox
Walrusking, <br>I am sorry that you dislike my commentary. I do not mean to make any political statement or argument here. My view: The true value of any technology will only be realized when it is taken for granted by the general public. Just the same, a technology will generally become the tool it is labeled to be. The news (sorry for naming only one major source) says drones are weapons. I hope to show that people can use the same technology as a tool for research, photography and recreation, maybe someday even parcel delivery and transportation. <br>I hope this clarifies my intent. <br>~M~
I'd love to get started, but with so many options out there its a bit confusing! &nbsp;The ones that seem have the most traffic are:<br> <br> 1) APM<br> a) APM 1.X based on ATMega1280<br> b)APM 2.x is an ATMEGA2560 and ATMEGA32U-2 (for USB) based platform<br> c) ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 running Arducopter 3.0.1 firmware . AIOP All In One Pro Flight Controller V2 running MegaPirateNG (MP NewGen) and MultiWii firmware for UAV capabilities d) APM 3.x : future ARM based Arducopter version<br> <br> 2) dsPIC Based Platforms<br> a) AutoPilot UDB5 UAV Development board with IMU, running MatrixPilot firmware AUAV3 running MatrixPilot firmware<br> b) Gluonpilot2 (dsPIC33) with Xbee running GluonPilot firmware<br> <br> 3) STM32F1 ARM Cortex M3 Based Platforms:<br> a) MultiPilot32 hardware with ArduIMU+V3 Shield, running Arducopter32 firmware (i.e. 32 bit version Arducopter 2.x)<br> b) Naze32 running MultiWII firmware<br> <br> <br> 4) STM32F4 ARM Cortex M4 Based Platforms<br> a) PX4 running PX4 firmware, and also Arducopter32/APM2.6 via ATMega emulation VR-Brain (MP32F4 v4) running Arducopter32 firmware, and possibly in the future PX4 firmware<br> b) OpenPilot running OpenPilot GPS/GCS software AeroQuad32/Baloo running LibMaple firmware<br> c) Quadrino hardware running MultiWII firmware<br> <br> 5) AutoQuad6<br> <br> <br> Why do some software packages (OpenPilot, Gluonpilot2, PX4) not run on platforms of similar hardware? These incidentally don't run software from other platforms either.. why?!<br> <br> Would most Radios work with any platform? PPM-Sum, Fry-Sky on a Futaba, Graupner MX-16?<br> <br> Are multirotor frames perhaps easier to learn? (Hoverthings FLIP FPV, QAV500, APM 3DR Y6, Parrot's AR Drone 2, etc)<br> <br> Any thoughts on ready-built uavs? AlwaysInnovating's mecam, banggoods' mikrokopter.us, YS-X4, HoverFlyTech, MaplePilot, FlyCam Black32, indigogo's skydrone / ufusion ahrs, etc, etc,<br> <br> <br>
Great, voted, and Blogged, and if you follow the link, you'll see how to control these, at a Global level, with SparqEE! <br>http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/08/sparqee-vossa-invencao-vira-global.html
You must wake up everyday and say &quot;Hell yeah! I'm Me!&quot;
Buying one tomorrow!!!!
This is really cool! im looking forward to building one myself. i would like to see some flight recordings and pictures and more detail involving the code that went into the arduino and the Fat shark goggles. Also, i cant decide which goggles to get, any recommendations? im deciding between the attitude sd, the dominators, or the boscam GS920 goggles.
This is such a passionate yet very informative article. I hope it can talk more people into FPV including the ones that watch FOX news more than Planet Earth. Keep the good work coming, I really enjoy it. Thanks. <br> <br>BTW: where is your RC contest you mentioned at the beginning? I want to support you there as well.
This is a matter of personal taste more than anything, but if I was able to make a UAV of my own I would much rather have designed and built the shell myself because it could be made to my own specific needs and there would not need to be a compromise, eg. maneuverability or stability. <br>Also, does yours use elevons or is there a lack of pitch control? <br> <br>Nice instructable. I voted for it in the RC Contest.
Thanks to all of the people who have checked this out and supported it! I never thought it would take off like this (no pun intended). I will update this soon with more camera information and flight photography!
nice! very informative!
Awesome build... In gonna go make one so I can look at the herons nest near my house
This is such a fantastic project. I also enjoyed the write-up. Congrats on the build.
i have voted for it

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