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Flying electronic RC planes from the ground is fun. Piloting a FPV plane from First Person View is really cool. With the arrival of light and powerful video stream transmitters and long range remote RC transmitter modules , the range of flight has increased from line-of-sight to an order-of-magnitude wider.


To build a reliable platform I want to begin with the fundamental basics and then extrapolate more specific products.


  1. Lower frequency will allow greater range, longer wavelength requires larger antenna
    • Higher frequencies, 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz, will quickly get attenuated by the atmosphere
  2. One energy-source, single set of batteries for motor, camera, OSD, VTx, Rx, servos
    • Minimized weight, as batteries contribute as the heaviest component
  3. Receiver antenna diversity for maximum flexibility of the airplane, each antenna 90 degrees perpendicular
    • Omni-directional antennas will have a radiation pattern much like a form of a doughnut, with dead-spots center, above and below
  4. Same radiation polarization on ground station and airplane where possible, alternatively inverted-v on aircraft and circular polarized ground antenna
    • Signal quality of same polarized electric fields can be many tens of dB different [1]
  5. Parallel 3S 11.1V Lithium-ion Polymer batteries, both on plane and ground station
    • Prevents voltage drop if one cell is bad, might add reverse current protection (diode) to avoid 3S "charging" the then 2S battery
  6. Power- and signal-wiring separated as much as possible
    • Noise from motor can degrade digital signals if coupled with signal-wires
  7. Shielded components and wires, twisted wires, will eliminate most noise and oscillation, PCB ground plates facing interference source, last resort ferrite rings and capacitors (LC-filter)
    • Minimize both ambient noise and interference from nearby components, think of a long wire as an antenna that will pick up anything, ground the wire shielding close to battery
  8. Video-transmitter on a higher frequency band than RC-transmitter, 1.2GHz VTx and 72Mhz/433MHz RCTx, 2.4GHz VTx and 72MHz/433MHz RCTx
    • Having the same frequency/band on VTx and RCRx will cause signal deterioration/nulling
  9. Video-transmitter, as well as RC-receiver, powered by 5V voltage from main Lipo-batteries via BEC
    • When the main engine batteries are drained or the ESC unexpectedly shut down, a separate BEC will continue to power the rest of the 5V system, 12V directly connected will require more filtering
  10. Split aileron servo signal to use twin aileron servos for each wing
    • Prevent loss of control on servo failure, must be mounted close together to drive force-drive the dead servo, might drop this
  11. Proper cooling of video-transmitter using an appropriate heat-sink and thermal-adhesive
    • Powerful video transmitter dissipate a lot of power in form of heat, prevent signal loss


  1. A wing for speed and stability
    • Makes it possible to fly in windy condition and greater distances, less drag
  2. Batteries in front and electronics behind the batteries, suitable motor to create enough lift
    • Front heavy for stable dives when motor is inactive and in up- or down-drift
  3. Find the center of gravity by temporarily putting everything where they're supposed to go
    • Makes it easier to find where the sparing bars between the wings will go and position of the motor mount, leave the final battery location for last to fine tuning CG
  4. Motor mount on or close to the center of gravity
    • Easier to handle during acceleration and less wobbly when the force is pushing the center instead of the back end, imagine a horizontal axis over the wings as center of gravity
  5. Keep the servos, transmitters, and battery packs as near the center as possible
    • Makes the flight more stable in windy conditions, instead of wobbling back and forth because of inertia
  6. Antenna for VTx mounted at the end and center of the left-wing, while the two RC-receiver antennas on the other right-wing, shifted 90 degree
    • Minimize interference between the two radio systems, 90 degree angled to allow cross-polarization, both vertical and horizontal for better signal quality at different plane orientations
  7. Servo location as far forward as possible to put center of gravity back
    • Push-rods on an angle does not affect the elevator action, might put but more pressure on the servo [2]
  8. Mount the motor outside the mounting plate, against the backside
    • More continuous airflow results in quieter throttle up and high speed flight [3]
  9. Use high speed and good torque (> 8 kg/cm) standard servos with servo rod guide for ailerons
    • A fast decline will put lot of forces on the ailerons, pulling out of a dive even more, guides will hold the rods straight
  10. On the FPV ground station pick a good directional antenna and receiver with good sensitivity, <-90dB
    • A proper ground station will yield better results than increasing the transmitter output power [4]


Use this as a guide to ballpark what is needed and then just pick whatever falls inside your needs and specifications.

Video system


Preferred voltage is 5V to avoid boost/step-up converters and switching noise isolation.


  • GoPro HD Hero - High-definition on-board recording
  • Contour HD - Another HD on-board recorder
  • Aiptek HD - Small hd cameras [5]
  • KeyCam HD #11

Flying [6]:

  • TBS 69 FPV Camera - Pixim Seawolf CMOS sensor, 12V, 690 lines
  • Globe Flight GF-PX690 FPV Camera 690TVL Pixim Seawolf - Similar to TBS [7]
  • Security Cameras 2000 PZ0420 / PZ0476 (cased) - Sony Super HAD II CCD, 600 lines, wide contrast range, excellent value 52USD, 1/3-inch sensor [8] [9] settings
  • Globe Flight GF-PX540 - Pixim PX540 CMOS sensor, resolution 540 lines, pricey, 1/3-inch sensor, lower 1/3 brighter, high quality 3.6mm lens, 22 grams, 10-12V [10] [11] [12] [13]
  • DX201 DPS camera - 540 lines, excellent image quality, based on same Pixim CMOS sensor as above, 12V [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]
  • DPC-480A / RMRC-480 / NGH-480A / BEV OSC 480 - 480 lines, great colors, 1/3-inch sensor, can configure brigher zones, 36 grams, 12V [19] [20] [21]
  • Fatshark RCV922 camera - Resolution 420 lines, 1/3-inch sensor, lower 1/3 brighter, unsaturated colors, 3.6mm and 2.8mm lens, 30 grams, 3.3-5V [22]
  • WDR600 - 550 lines, 1/3-inch sensor, 12V [23]
  • Fatshark CCD killer - 420 lines, light, comes with pan/tilt setup, cmos sensor (apparently kills ccd), 3.3V-5V [24] [25]
  • Black Widow KX131 - 380 lines, 1/4-inch sensor, nice colors, value, 23 grams, 5V [26]
  • FPVCAM-480 OSD - Resolution 480 lines, 12V [27]
  • SONY KPC-VSN505PHB - 550 line resolution, rf noisy but can be fixed [28], 5V
  • Sony SN555/VSN700 camera - 555 line resolution, excellent low light performance, 29 grams, 12V [29]
  • DPC-161 - Cheap, resolution 380 lines, 5V [30]
  • Sony SN777 - Same as VSN505 [31], 555 lines resolution, 12V, RF noisy [32] [33]
  • KX-171 - 5V, too dark in sunlight, LVP and G2 might be better [34] [35]


A very wide lense, like a 2.1 mm, will give a distorted view as everything seems far away, ideally something narrower like 2.8 or 3.6 mm will give a better experience. Video of the view angles.

  • 2.8 mm F2.0 - wide with good flight overview
  • 3.6 mm F2.0 - more narrow and centered flight view
  • 4 mm F1.2 low light lens - perfect for dawn or night flight


For video transmission from the aircraft. Preferably use 2.4GHz band as it's safer, won't interfere with other, no high powered devices on band, 900MHz overpowered by mobile phones, 1.2GHz aviation communication [36]. There are three main manufactures of modules; Comtech, Airwave and Sky-RF.

  • Lawmate 500mW 2.4GHz Tx - 5-5.5V, 12 grams, use ch5 2370MHz and ch8 2510MHz, outside regular band, noise-free, mod for better cooling [37] [38] [39] [40]
  • Foxtech / BEV 5.8GHz 200mW Tx - 6-16V, 25.1g, microphone, RP-SMA connector but comes with converter adapter, unfiltered power output for camera, 1000m range stock dipole antennas, 3km confirmed [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47]
  • IntelligentFlight GP-707 2.4GHz 10mW micro transmitter - 1.6 grams, comes with receiver [48] [49] [50]
  • Sunsky Fox-800A 1.2GHz 800mW orange/yellow transmitter - Real output 650mW [51] [52]
  • Sunsky FOX-400A 1.2GHz 400mW green transmitter - [53] [54]
  • Best Offer Buy BOB ESXF700mW SR-700MW 1.2GHz 700mW blue/purple transmitter - Good PCB quality, 12V, 62g complete, 10g PCB, receiver SAW filter upgrade recommended, add heatsink to RF transistor [55] [56] [57]
  • BEV 1.3Ghz 800mW transmitter - 12V [58]
  • XEN 1.2GHz 700mW transmitter [59]
  • ImmersionRC 600mW 5.8GHz transmitter - Airwave, built-in 5V regulator for camera, 6-16V

Receiver - Single

  • Lawmate 2.4GHz RX-2460CK receiver - 8 Channels, 12V DC in (min. 10V), small, Comtech FM2400RTIM8 module [60] [61] [62] [63] - RSSI [64] - SAW filter upgrade XC993-ND [65]
  • Foxtech / BEV 5.8GHz 200mW Rx - Sky-RF, 6-16V, RP-SMA connector, dual video outputs [66]
  • Lawmate R1200-STD 1.2GHz receiver - Good match for Sunsky Fox and BOB 1.2GHz transmitters, good sensitivity -85 dB albeit not best, SAW filter upgrade recommended [67]
  • IF 2.4GHz GP-737 / GP-707 receiver - only 4 channels, hair better than Lawmate 2.4GHz [68]
  • RangeVideo 1.3GHz Deluxe receiver - RSSI 0-5V output
  • Foxtech / Hobbyking RC305 5.8G 8CH receiver - Cheap, -90 dB sensitivity
  • Airwave 5.8GHz receiver - Perfect match for ImmersionRC 5.8GHz transmitters, known manufacturer, 9-12.6V
  • EagleEyes FPV Station - Receiver with antenna diversity, antenna tracking

Diversity Receiver

  • Immersion RC Duo5800v2 diversity receiver - Two Airwave receiver modules built-in, -85 dB sensitivity
  • Immersion RC Duo2400 diversity receiver - Exactly the same as 5.8GHz but different Airwave modules

Diversity Controller

These are connected after the video receiver.

  • Oracle Video Diversity Controller - Monitors video signal from two receivers (with different antennas), picks the better, opposite of RSSI-based selection [69] [70]


A 14 dBi patch antenna has a narrower radiation beam than a 8 dBi patch antenna. A focused 14 dBi yagi for a focus beam in one direction. [71] Check the FPV Lab success to FPV guide, the documents at the bottom.

  • Clover Leaf - Circular polarity, omni directional, cork screw radiation, put on VTx, use right/left hand polarity for receiver and transmitter or directional circular antenna [72] [73]
  • Helical antenna - Directional, for video receiver, tuned by making your own [74]
  • Skew Planar wheel - Circular polarity, omni directional, bit larger and less directional than clover leaf, use on VRx [75] [76]
  • BlueBeam set - Consists of one 3 lobe clover leaf (aircraft) and 4 lobe skew planar wheel antenna (ground) [77]
  • L-com 1.3GHz 8dbi Patch Antenna - Modification needed to make it resonate at 1280MHz instead of 1160MHz [78]
  • 2.4GHz 14 dBi Patch antenna N-connector [79]
  • IFTech 5.8GHz 8 dBi Patch Directional SMA-connector [80]
  • L-com 5.8GHz 8 dBi Patch Antenna [81] [82] [83]
  • Sander style dipole - Omni directional, lighter than any purchased dipole, can be tuned to exact wavelength of frequency, tube changes resonance, rc car tube 164 mm, PVC 153 mm, nylon rod 143 mm, generally 164 mm [84] [85] [86] - Du Bro antenna tube
  • Inverted-V antenna - Omni directional, more spherical than dipole, simpel to build and tuned [87]]

OSD - On-Screen Display

  • ImmersionRC EzOSD - Uncluttered display, GPS on-board, signal strength indicator via I2C, current/voltage sensor with Deans
  • SimpleOSD - Minimalistic, only the most necessary information [88] [89]
  • Eagle Tree OSD Pro
  • DOSD


  • Hitec HS85-MG - as the pan servo
  • Hitec HS56 - as the tilt servo


Resolution is limited by the camera not the goggle, best camera can deliver 480 lines [90], though sensor might state a higher resolution but it's not delivered.

  • Carl Zeiss cinemizer plus - Adjustable fit, 32 degrees viewing angle, better optics, 640x480, screen smaller but higher resolution/optics, small box, half immersed, better color and contrast than Fatshark, diopters adjustment -3.5 to +3.5D, longer video switching than Fatshark [91] [92] [93]
  • Fat Shark Dominator V3 - 30 degres FOV, no edge distortion, 45-inch on 2 meters, 640x480, modules for Fat Shark Dominator 2.4GHz/5.8ghz and head tracking modules, new rubber support shape, 6-14V
  • Fatshark RCV922 V2 Base Edition - Wide angle 46 degrees, 80-inch on 2 meters, 640x480, fully immersed, adjust for interpupil distance, video and power inputs, FPV ground station friendly, 6-12V [94]
  • Vuzix 920 glasses - great image quality [95]
  • HeadPlay Googles - Adjustable, 800x600 resolution, requires exactly 12V, large box [96]
  • EVG920 Video Eyewear - Not adjustable interpupil distance, 80-inch on 2 meters, 640x480, 1000 mAh battery, 5V [97]
  • Fatshark RCV230T/922T Teleporter - All-in-one, limited 320x240 resolution and range [98]
  • Fatshard RCV922 Aviator - Video input, 640x480 resolution, Vin 6-12V [99]


  • BEV high sensitivity microphone for FPV [100]


  • 9 Inch LCD Display - Does not switch to blue screen on poor signal, 12V [101]
  • Haier HLT10 10.2-inch LCD display - for ground station, audience view, 12V


For recording the received feed from the plane. For high quality footage it's recommended to use onboard flight camera (e.g. GoPro or Keycam).

  • FPV-Japan DVR - Records to SD card, MP4 [102]
  • Lawmate PV500 EVO - 720p video recorder, pricey [103]
  • Archos 604 - Groundstation video recorder [104]
  • Pinnacle Video Transfer - Video recorder [105]


  • Immersion RC PowerBox - Groundstation video and power filtering box
  • NGHobbies 5V PSU for Lawmate 500mW Tx - Excellent small power supply for LM

Control system


When on UHF the regular 2.4GHZ/35/72MHz transmitter not be used. The PPM signal is feed to the long range transmitter.


  • Futaba 9C 35MHz [106] [107] [108]
  • Futaba 6EXP PPM/PCM 1024 35MHz [109]
  • Futaba 10C 10-Channel Computer Radio [110]
  • Futaba 10C/9CS/9C 72MHz Synthesized Module [111]


  • Spektrum DX7 - Mod it for long range 433MHz [112]


  • Futaba 8FG Super 2.4Ghz FASST radio
  • Spectrum DX8/DX7S 2.4GHz 7/8-Channel DSM2 radio
  • Futaba 6EX 6-Channel 2.4GHz FASST radio


Connects to any PPM radio via trainer-port.

  • ImmersionRC EzUHF transmitter - 433 MHz frequency band, 200mW or 600mW power-mode, 9-12V prototype model
  • Dragon Link transmitter - Transmits at 433MHz, 500mW [113]
  • Thomas Scherrer OZ2CPU UHF system - Many hardware revisions, hard to keep track


LRS - Long range systems
  • ImmersionRC EzUHF receiver - 8-channel receiver, signal diversity, 50A current-sensor, 10 Hz GPS
  • Dragon Link receiver
VHF - Very high frequency receivers


  • ImmersionRC EzAntennaTracker - Uses GPS-coordinates from EzOSD inserted in the right audio channel
  • FY31AP autopilot system - Return to home, follow path, hold altitude system [122]
  • Gain Boost 2.4GHz Amplifier 1000 mW - Perfect for existing Spectrum DX6/DX7 radios (no replaceable module to replace) [123] [124]



  • Ritewing Zephyr II - Official version of the Zephyr, injection-mold, equipment bays, no stalls and better low speed flying characteristics, easier to land (slower), great community [125]
  • Ritewing Zephyr - Fast wing, foam wing base, glass fiber rods, and winglets [126] [127]
  • Multiplex Easystar - Simple glider-plane [128]
  • ParkZone Radian PNP - Glider, prop in front, huge easy to spot [129]
  • EasyStar - Cross between glider and sport plane, 3-channel, easy to modify [130]
  • AXN Clouds Fly - Great glider, limited space for equipment
  • Ele Bee - Flying wings [131]


  • Hacker A30-10L V2 143g [132]
  • Ritewing Roket 2856 1400kv [133]
  • Hyperion ZS 3014-12 1132 KV 750w Max 126g [134] [135]
  • NTM Prop Drive Series 35-36A 1800Kv 875w [136]
  • Turnigy D3542/4 1450KV Brushless Outrunner Motor [137]
  • AXI Gold 2826/10 Outrunner Motor [138] [139]
  • Turnigy 35-36B 1300Kv Outrunner [140] - Great for Maxi Swift [141]
  • Turnigy AerodriveXp SK Series 35-36 1400Kv 550w [142] [143]


  • Graupner Brushless Control 70 BEC - togehter with Hacker combo [144]
  • Hacker X-55 SB Pro Brushless Motor Speed Controller ESC 55A [145]
  • Turnigy Plush 60A ESC [146] - Great for 4S
  • Castle Phoenix Ice 100 [147]
  • Turnigy Plush 40A Speed Controller [148] - Great for 3S


  • Aeronaut CAM foldering carbon propellers [149]
  • Graupner CAM Folding Prop Blades 9 x 6
  • Aeronaut CAMcarbon Power-Prop 10"x7
  • Turnigy 10x6 folding blades
  • TGS 10x6F Precision Folding propeller [150] [151]
  • Aeronaut CAMcarbon 9"x7 folding prop blades [152]

Yoke Centrepiece

Aeronaut folding propellers assumes a 42mm centrepiece in it sizing, Graupner assumes a 32mm centrepiece [153]. The procedure to assembly the propeller is shown by Team BlackSheep

  • Aeronaut 42mm aluminium centrepiece [154] [155]
  • Graupner 38 mm 38/5/8 folding prop spinner - suits [156] [157]
  • FPVManuals Propeller stop [158]
  • Auronaut Shaft adapter 5 mm [159]

Motor mount

  • Ebay high-strength boat motor mount [160]


  • Hitec HS-645MG - Metal gears [161]
  • Gaupner Servo DES 708 BB MG - Metal gears [162] [163]
  • Turnigy 380MAX Micro Servo [164]
  • Blue Bird BMS-661DMG+HS Super Fast Digital Servo (MG) 6.4kg .08sec 46.5g [165] [166]
  • Futaba S3010 Standard High-Torque BB Servo [167]


  • Turnigy nano-tech 4S 3300mAh - 2x [168]
  • Turnigy S3 2200 mAh
  • Zippy S3 2200 mAH - Cheap Hobbyking packs
  • Flightmax S3 2200 mAh [169]


  • Bantam BC-6 - Korean, high quality

Control Horns

  • Sullivan Steel Control Horn 1-1/8" [170] [171]
  • Dubro Large Scale T-Style Control Horns #366 [172] Ebay [173]
  • 3 mm Servo rods [174]


  • Laminate - Apply to foam wing to give it a outer strength and cover for paint
  • Riteweave - Flass fiber mesh to add strength over open cuts in the foam [175]


  • Loctite 200 High Performance Spray Adhesive - Bonding between laminate and foam, Zephyr II
  • 3M90 adhesive - Spray adhesive for base coat to bond laminate, Zephyr I
  • 3M77 Super Multipurpose Spray Adhesive - Alternative for Loctite 200 on Zephyr II
  • Zap-a-Gap CA glue - For sparing bars in wings, or Gorilla glue
  • Gorilla glue brown or white - Glue for wing, sparing bars, motor mount, activates by adding water [176]
  • Goop, Bison Polymax - Fasten winglets to laminate
  • Epoxy adhesive - Properly fasten the motor mount plate to the surrounding foam


  • 3M Mailing & Storage tape - Mounting elevons to the airframe, 1/3 on the elevon, UV resistant [177]




  • Camera: TBS 69 Pixim FPV camera - 180USD
  • OSD: ImmersionRC EzOSD - 180USD
  • Transmitter: Lawmate 500mW 2.4GHz Tx - 50USD
  • Antenna: Custom built for specific frequency - 5USD
  • Ground antenna: Panel or patch antenna - 20USD
  • Receiver: Immersion RC Duo2400 diversity receiver - 270USD
  • Goggles: Fat Shark Dominator V3 goggles - 300USD


  • Transmitter: ImmersionRC EzUHF transmitter - 209USD
  • Antenna: Custom built for 433 MHz frequency - 5USD
  • Ground antenna: Omni-directional - 10USD
  • Receiver: ImmersionRC EzUHF 8-channel lite receiver - 109USD



  • Camera: DPC-480A / RMRC-480 / NGH-480A / BEV OSC 480 - 90USD
  • Transmitter: Lawmate 500mW 2.4GHz Tx - 50USD
  • Antenna: Custom built for specific frequency - 5USD
  • Ground antenna: Panel or patch antenna - 20USD
  • Receiver: Lawmate 2.4GHz RX-2460CK receiver - Get the combo - 45
  • Goggles: Fat Shark Dominator V3 goggles - 300USD


  • Transmitter: ImmersionRC EzUHF transmitter - 209USD
  • Antenna: Custom built for 433 MHz frequency - 5USD
  • Ground antenna: Omni-directional - 10USD
  • Receiver: ImmersionRC EzUHF 8-channel lite receiver - 109USD



  • Camera: DPC-480A / RMRC-480 / NGH-480A / BEV OSC 480 - 90USD
  • Transmitter: Lawmate 500mW 2.4GHz Tx - 50USD
  • Antenna: Custom built for specific frequency - 5USD
  • Ground antenna: Panel or patch antenna - 20USD
  • Receiver: Lawmate 2.4GHz RX-2460CK receiver - Get the combo - 45USD
  • Goggles: Fat Shark Dominator V3 goggles - 300USD


  • Transmitter: OpenLRS M2 Tx module - 73USD
  • Receiver: OpenLRS Rx v2 receiver - 59USD



  • Camera: DPC-480A / RMRC-480 / NGH-480A / BEV OSC 480 - 90USD
  • Transmitter: ImmersionRC / Airwave 5.8 GHz A/V 600mw Tx - 70USD
  • Antenna: Kit or rubber duck - 10USD
  • Ground antenna: Kit or rubber duck - 10USD
  • Receiver: Airwave 5.8 GHz receiver - 50USD
  • Goggles: Fatshark RCV922 V2 Base Edition - 230USD


  • Transmitter: Spectrum DX7S - 300USD
  • Tx Booster: 2.4 GHz Gain Booster - 50USD
  • Receiver: OrangeRx R610 Spektrum DSM2 + Satellite - 6+12USD



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