This OSD provides the pilot with aircraft telemetry overlaid on the FPV video,
including battery voltage, airspeed, altitude, compass heading, distance and
direction to home, and latitude and longitude coordinates. It can even accept input
from additional sensors to measure motor and ESC temperatures, g-forces, and
other flight parameters.
Safe FPV flight operations require a minimum of two people
on the ground: the pilot (R), who controls the aircraft and
monitors the live video feed from the aircraft, and the
spotter, who advises the pilot regarding unseen hazards and
can take over control if the FPV system fails.
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simultaneously keeping an eye on their aircraft as it moves
through the environment.
Find a Friend
As described in Document 550, available on the AMA
website, FPV flying is a team sport. There need to be at least
two qualified pilots on the ground while the aircraft is in the
air: the pilot, who is operating the aircraft via the FPV system,
and the spotter, whose job is to alert the pilot to unseen
hazards and be ready to take control of the aircraft in case of
an FPV system failure.
After the goggles are on, the spotter plays a critical role in
maintaining the pilot’s situational awareness. Although the
pilot can see what lies directly ahead, he or she may not detect
a hazard off to one side or behind, or when there is a
risk of putting an obstruction between the pilot and
the aircraft. The wide field-of-view lenses typically
used for FPV can make it difficult to spot small, but
potentially show-stopping obstacles such as a bare
tree branch or a power line.
When conducted within the guidelines established
by the AMA, flying FPV is as safe as conventional
model aviation. It’s also a tremendous amount of
fun, and becoming involved will put you at the
forefront of revolution that will ultimately change
In the years ahead, unmanned aircraft that are
indistinguishable in their basic functions from
the systems that hobbyists are using today will help first
responders save lives, give farmers the ability to increase crop
yields, and perform thousands of other functions, most of
which haven’t yet been imagined.
It’s going to be an exciting couple of decades. Build yourself
a system and come be part of it!
Roswell Flight Test Crew
Amateur Radio Relay Network
AMA Document 550
26 Model Aviation APRIL 2014