Most if not all of us have a smart phone in our pockets. These multi-purpose and ubiquitous devices offer a wide range of applications that can make our lives easier when in the field. In this article, we will discuss some of the apps I have found to be useful for FPV.
Please note, I am not a user of Apple products and have limited experience with Apple devices. Therefore, the applications mentioned here are specific to devices running the Android operating system.
SpeedyBee is a full fledged configuration interface for Betaflight, iNav and EmuFlight based flight controllers. For FPV, it is one of the apps I use most often. It is especially useful when you are in the field and don't have access to a laptop.
SpeedyBee makes it easy to quickly change flight controller configuration values. The only required devices are your phone and an OTG usb cable. For those of you who spend a lot of time in the field, it helps make your setup more modular and lightweight.
Although I must admit, I don't use this app as often, I have found it useful a few times. Especially when I need to update an ESC. For example, reversing the direction of a motor. I usually build quads at my workbench and have access to a laptop. However, as I mentioned before, this has come in handy a few times. Especially when I had to do field repairs or swap out a motor.
Unfortunately, the 5.8GHz spectrum alloted for your video signal is limited. When flying with other people, it is often the case, that the video signals overlap, causing, crashes and general chaos. Signal harmonics can also bleed into other frequencies. There are a few ways to sort out this issue.
- Use an RF spectrum analyzer or SDR to sort out which frequencies are overlapping... this is a heavyhanded solution and isn't practical outside of the lab.
- Simply use Channelsorter.
Channelsorter is a free app that can make your life easier when flying with other pilots. It will automatically allot a channel to multiple pilots, keeping in mind the problem of frequency interference. I have used this app on many occasions and I highly recommend it.
You pack up your gear, charge your packs and jump in the car. All of a sudden, it starts raining. Weather is something that is difficult to plan for. Enter UAV forecast. It is a UAV specific weather app that keeps you up to date for your local area. Based on the weather conditions, it makes useful recommendations whether or not it is a good idea to go flying, lists no fly zones and has many other functions. Check it out!
This app turns your phone into a portable display for your FPV feed. Here are some use cases where I have found it handy:
- You can record DVR footage directly to your phone. This can eliminate the extra step of having to transfer video data from your goggle SD card.
- Remember google cardboard? It is possible to combine Go FPV with a VR headset. This can allow a very cheap FPV goggle solution. One caviat is that the latency might be higher than you're used to. This means that it is more suited and practical for slower cruising-style flights. This is an inexpensive option for anyone on a budget.
Please note, this app requires extra hardware; You will have to buy an external VTX signal receiver. Go FPV in combination with the Eachine ROTG02 has worked very well for me in the past.
This list will change over time and I am always on the look out for new mobile FPV applications. If there is one I didn't mention, please let me know in the comments section below. Check out Awesome Flying FPV. It's great resource for current apps, software, hardware and general information about the FPV world.