Monday 3 November 2014

Flying with Fat Shark FPV Goggles - First Impressions

Recently I got the chance to fly with some Fat Shark Attitude V2 goggles with head tracker and a matching Pan/Tilt/Roll camera mount.  Here's what I thought about the experience.  Maybe it will help you decide whether it is worth it.

It was really cool to be able to look around with the goggles while the plane was flying.  I really wanted to love it, but I was left with mixed feelings.

  • You cannot wear glasses with the goggles.
  • It really was very cool to be able to look around by moving my head.
  • I enjoyed being able to "look into" my turns, which is a natural thing to want to do.
  • It was MUCH easier to keep my bearings and feel that I knew exactly where I was in the sky.  As I mentioned in my original FPV Guide, it's easy to lose your bearings when you're flying somewhere new because things don't look as distinct from the air as they do on land, and you don't have a good sense of direction.  It's easier when your camera can look around instead of stare straight ahead.
  • I found myself "looking down" at the nose of the plane a lot, because otherwise the camera view is just a disembodied view in the sky - because of where I mounted the camera, I didn't normally see any part of the plane.  It meant I didn't feel as though I was looking out of the plane - I just felt like I was disembodied in the sky.  This made it harder to fly and I didn't "feel there".  I just felt like I was steering a camera in the sky with my head.  Next time I'd like to make sure I can see the plane more easily, like I'm in a tiny cockpit.
  • There is a large comfort issue.  I can deal with cables hanging about as a necessary evil.  But the goggles are really not easy to put on and off quickly and with one hand, which makes it difficult to switch from goggles to FPV monitor.
  • Also, the goggles are held right up to your eye sockets with an adjustable band.  This is fine and blocks out ambient light so you get a clear view. The problem is that there is zero air circulation.  After a few minutes the lenses get foggier and foggier, making it harder and harder to see.  There really isn't any good solution to this.
  • Despite all this, when I went back to flying with a non-moving camera pointed straight ahead - it felt ridiculously cramped and like tunnel-vision by comparison.
In summary, I liked being able to look around by moving my head very much.  The rest of everything needed to make that work is expensive, clumsy, and uncomfortable.   It's worth trying out for certain, and it's undeniably a better flying experience when you can steer the camera hands-free.  

I'm just of mixed feelings whether it'll end up being worth the hassle.

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