FPV drone racing is a sport that is catching on quickly around the world. Teams are forming. Networks like ESPN are carrying live races. People are building local groups to race for fun on weekends. But despite its growing popularity, FPV drone racing can still be an intimidating hobby to get into. It generally requires a knowledge of drone flying, building drones, repairing drones, and plenty of time to practice. Despite the fact that the pros make it look easy on Youtube, take it from me, it’s not easy!
But have no fear, the introduction of quadcopters like the new Nano QX2 FPV from Blade promises to help lower the barrier to entry when it comes to learning and practicing FPV flying. The QX2 is a small, but not micro, sized quad that is designed for indoor FPV flight. It has a well designed, durable frame that can take some abuse as you learn to fly, but is small and light enough that it won’t damage your furniture (or family) when you crash spectacularly as you learn to fly with goggles!
The Blade QX2 FPV is unique from other quads its size for a variety of reasons. The first being that the propellers are inverted, meaning that they face down rather than up, which is different from most other quadcopters. The reasoning behind this is that the inverted props give it more stability and allow the prop guards to be completely integrated with the airframe. Its wide frame allows for the use of a larger than normal battery for this quadcopter class.
The QX2 also features an integrated FPV camera that is on a swivel, allowing for easy adjustment in the form of tilting it up or down, depending on where you want the camera facing during flight. The QX2 has a built-in 25 mW transmitter that works natively with Fat Shark goggles. You can adjust the channel it broadcasts on using a button located on the top of the drone. The drone comes in a RTF (ready to fly) and BNF (bind-n-fly) version that either includes a remote or binds with any Spektrum remote you already own.
|Camera||Wide Angle Camera With Adjustable Lens|
|Video Transmitter||25 milliwatt, 8 Channel Fat Shark Compatible|
|Max Flight Time||Approximately 7 Minutes|
|Flight Battery||Micro 500mAh 1S 3.7V 25C Li-Po|
|Length & Width||130 mm Square|
Quality of build
I have to say that Blade really put some thought into the design and build of this aircraft. It is unique looking, with the inverted props, but after several flights, I have to say that this does seem to help with its stability. And it definitely helps make it more rugged and durable in a crash. The body is lightweight, but feels very solid. There is also a plastic “rudder” under the body that acts as a kind of landing skid on hard landings by absorbing some of the shock. The motors are designed to pop out of their housing, which I suppose is to make them easy to change out if needed. Also, the propellers seem to come off (and go back on) very easily which may save them from getting damaged in a crash. The battery compartment is a bit challenging to get the battery in and out of. And finally, the camera is easy to adjust and channels are very easy to change on the video transmitter, which is very convenient!
Assembly and tuning
The Blade QX2 FPV comes assembled and just requires charging the battery and binding it with your radio. The binding process is simple – just plug in the battery with the quad on a level surface, at which point you will see a blinking blue light. Turn on the remote control while holding the bind switch on your radio. After a few seconds, the blue light will turn solid and you can release the bind switch. At this point, it’s good to test the signal by slowly spinning the propellers. If they come on when you push up the throttle, you are in business! One other thing I noticed on the QX2 was that mine had to have the trim adjusted on the radio a bit before it would hover in one place. This is a simple process using the trim buttons on your remote, but makes a huge difference in when you actually go to fly it FPV.
The QX2 FPV is very powerful and responsive when flown indoors. Because of the larger (and heavier) battery than most nano quads, it takes a bit more throttle than usual to get it in the air. But once you are up and dialed in with your trim controls, it flies like a dream! I definitely recommend flying it without the goggles a bit first to get used to how it handles. As I mentioned earlier, I really do think that the inverted propellers make a positive difference when it comes to handling and stability. Once you have mastered flying it without the goggles, you are ready to switch on the FPV and take it for a spin.
There are 8 possible channels that the transmitter can be set to, so once you turn on your goggles, you can either cycle through the channels on the quad using the button on top of it, or you can leave it on the default setting and find the right channel on your goggles. Either way, be sure to experiment a bit with the antenna on your goggles. The position of the antenna can make a big difference in the quality of the video signal that you receive.
Because of its power and design, this thing can be flown indoors or outdoors with a slight wind. Flying indoors, it is very quick and responds well to inputs…a little goes a long way with this bird! It took me about 5 crashes to finally master flying through my kitchen, into my dining room and then back into the living room. But now that I have practiced a bit, I can regularly do it without crashes indoors. Outdoor flying is fun, but keep in mind that this quad is very susceptible to wind. A slight breeze will mean that you have to really compensate by giving it more stick into the wind and less going with the wind. There are 2 flight modes – beginner and advanced. I find the advanced better for outdoor flight and beginner best for indoors…especially when you are learning.