And Our Hearts Racing In A Whole New Way
Story and Photos By: Brandon Bunch
The FPV drone hobby is taking the off-road world by storm, and for very good reason. To start, the feeling of flying one of these things is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced that’s actually rather safe. Sure, it’s not the full body near-death experience that’s received when behind the wheel of a UTV that’s being driven at the edge of control, but once you’re immersed in the world of those goofy looking goggles, you might need to take a seat as the visually-cued feelings and reactions are every bit as real. Although my body isn’t moving, the adrenaline rush received by diving over a rocky cliff or chasing a friend in a UTV is just as addicting as being behind the wheel myself…
My own addiction to this hobby all started when our friends and fellow UTV enthusiasts at XHover graciously invited us out to their shop in Hesperia, CA to take a tour of the facility that builds some of the best FPV drones in the industry, and they gave us a taste of how fun combining UTV driving and FPV flying can be. If you’re unfamiliar, an FPV quadcopter is an unmanned aerial vehicle flown from a camera that’s hard mounted in the first person view (FPV) transmitting video down through a set of FPV goggles, and controlled via a remote control (RC) transmitter like what you’d use for a RC helicopter or fixed wing aircraft. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and configurations, with the most popular being the 5” mini quadcopter like the XHover Stingy that we’ve been flying.
XHover has their own line of mini quadcopter frames, motors, and 3D printed accessories that will get you started on building your own FPV drone from the ground up… Or if you’re like us and want to get right into flying, they assemble complete ready-to-fly kits equipped with all the needed accessories and an FPV quadcopter that’s tuned and ready to rip—they are also more than willing to share the knowledge needed to get airborne without immediately crashing… Which is however, inevitable. But don’t worry as these drones are tough as nails and are (usually) cheap and easy to fix if you have a soldering iron, and a small set of allen wrenches.
As a photographer/videographer I’ve been flying gimbal mounted camera quadcopters (DJI Phantoms and Mavericks) for years now, which are pretty fun, but I’ve also been lucky enough to be one of those guys hanging out the side of small helicopters at 120mph, chasing trophy trucks through the desert… which is an extremely exhilarating experience. While the DJI drones are easy to fly and more than capable of capturing incredible imagery, they feel lazy, slow, and are a totally different animal to the FPV quadcopter, which is actually more like hanging out the side of a helicopter than I thought it’d be, giving you access to perspectives that are normally unattainable—minus the fear of death.
I know this is a “Tech Time” article, and I could definitely bore you for hours explaining the technical specifications, different components, and many options associated with building or buying an FPV quadcopter, but I’ll save us both the time. Watch the video at the end of this article to get a taste of what it’s like to partake in this amazing hobby, and pay a visit to xhover.com or reach out with questions if you’re ready to get up in the air.