Main freestyle quadcopter figures and how to do them @ Cédric Walter | Friday, Aug 25, 2023 | 5 minutes read | 1055 Words | Update at Monday, Jan 1, 2024

Freestyle quadcopter flying involves performing various aerobatic maneuvers and tricks to showcase the agility and capabilities of the drone. Remember that freestyle flying requires skill and practice. Always ensure you have a good understanding of your drone’s capabilities, and practice these maneuvers in an open area away from obstacles and people. It is recommended to do them at high altitude to be able to recover. Gradually increase your skill level as you become more comfortable with each maneuver. Safety should be a priority; avoid flying near people, buildings, and restricted areas.

Freestyle flying with a First-Person View (FPV) quadcopter is an exhilarating experience that combines the thrill of remote control piloting with the creative expression of art in motion. Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or just starting your FPV journey, mastering freestyle flying can take your skills to new heights. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential techniques, equipment, and tips that will help you become a true freestyle maestro.

Equip Yourself with the Right Gear

Before embarking on your freestyle journey, ensure you have the right gear:

  • FPV Quadcopter: Choose a quadcopter with a suitable frame, powerful motors, and an integrated flight controller. A popular choice is the “stretched X” frame design, which offers a balance between stability and agility.
  • FPV Goggles: Invest in quality FPV goggles for an immersive flying experience. Look for features like high-resolution screens and low latency to ensure a smooth and responsive view.
  • Radio Controller: Opt for a reliable radio controller with precise controls and ample range. Many pilots prefer a mode 2 controller setup, which places throttle and yaw on the left stick and roll and pitch on the right stick.
  • Batteries: Choose high-quality LiPo batteries with sufficient capacity and discharge rates to power your quadcopter during freestyle flights.

Master the Basics

Before diving into freestyle maneuvers, ensure you have a solid foundation in basic flying skills:

  • Hovering and Orientation: Practice maintaining a stable hover and keeping track of your quadcopter’s orientation. This is crucial for executing precise maneuvers.
  • Throttle Control: Develop a feel for throttle control to manage altitude smoothly. Being comfortable with throttle adjustments will help you navigate obstacles and execute tricks more effectively.
  • Yaw, Pitch, and Roll: Understand how yaw, pitch, and roll movements affect the quadcopter’s orientation. This forms the basis for all freestyle maneuvers.

Build Your Skill Set

Freestyle flying is all about pushing the boundaries of flight through creative and intricate maneuvers. Start with these fundamental tricks:

  • Rolls and Flips: Execute 360-degree rolls and flips to add flair to your flight. Practice these maneuvers at different speeds and orientations for versatility.
  • Power Loops: Combine a loop with a roll or flip at the top to create an eye-catching trick that showcases your control skills.
  • Split S Maneuver: Fly upward, perform a half-roll, and then descend, creating a graceful and dynamic move.
  • Mattystuntz-style Reversals: Popularized by FPV pilot Mattystuntz, these involve rapid changes in direction and orientation, demonstrating precise control and finesse.

Safety First

As you experiment with more advanced tricks, safety should remain your top priority:

  • Choose Suitable Locations: Freestyle flying is best suited for open spaces like fields or dedicated FPV parks. Avoid crowded areas or places with potential hazards.
  • Check Your Gear: Regularly inspect your quadcopter, batteries, and radio controller for any signs of wear and tear. Ensuring your equipment is in top condition reduces the risk of accidents.
  • Fly Responsibly: Respect local laws and regulations related to drone flying. Be considerate of others and prioritize safety at all times.

5. Embrace Creativity

Freestyle flying is an art form, so don’t be afraid to get creative:

  • Music Sync: Fly to the rhythm of music and time your maneuvers to the beat, creating an immersive experience for both you and any viewers.
  • Use the Environment: Incorporate natural or man-made obstacles into your flight, like trees, buildings, or gaps. This adds an extra layer of complexity and excitement to your maneuvers.
  • Experiment and Innovate: Freestyle is all about pushing boundaries. Don’t hesitate to invent new maneuvers or combinations that reflect your unique style

Main freestyle quadcopter figures along with brief explanations of how to perform them

Punch Out

Full throttle straight up into the air.

Rolls

Roll or Snap Roll Tilt the drone to one side using the pitch or roll stick, then increase throttle and roll the drone 360 degrees around its central axis.

Flip

Similar to a roll, but the drone performs a front or back flip by tilting forward or backward and then rolling.

Back Flips

Power Loops

Increase throttle to gain altitude.

Tilt the drone back to make it go upside down.

Start a roll or flip when the drone is upside down, completing the loop.

Mattystyle Spin

Gain altitude and reduce throttle.

Initiate a yaw spin while tilting the drone to one side.

Increase throttle to sustain the spin while maintaining the tilt.

Immelman turns

Inverted Yaw Spins

Split-S Maneuver

Gain altitude and reduce throttle. Tilt the drone backward to flip it over. Apply throttle and complete the flip, resulting in a half-loop followed by a dive.

Or

Flipping upside down (using roll) while going forwards, then pulling back on the pitch to go under something. Useful to change direction.

Power Roll

Gain altitude and reduce throttle.

Begin a roll maneuver.

Increase throttle while rolling to maintain altitude throughout the roll.

Inverted Look Back

Reverse Power Loop

Gain altitude and reduce throttle.

Tilt the drone backward and initiate a roll.

Increase throttle to complete the roll and loop upside down.

Bando Slalom

Fly through a series of obstacles or structures in a zigzag pattern, resembling slalom skiing.

Inverse Yaw Spins

YAW Spins and Snap Rolls

YAW Spin: Rotate the drone around its yaw axis, creating a fast-spinning motion.

Snap Roll: Quickly initiate and stop a roll or flip motion, creating a snappy rotation.

Dive and Recovery

Gain altitude and reduce throttle.

Tilt the drone forward to initiate a controlled dive.

Pull up the drone to recover from the dive.

Rubik’s Cube

Power Spin

  • Gain altitude and reduce throttle.
  • Apply yaw input to initiate a fast spin while maintaining altitude.

Inverted Flight

Tilt the drone upside down and maintain control to fly inverted.

Figure 8

Anti Turtle Mode

When your drone is upside down on the ground, the ability to spin the propellors backwards to flip back over.

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Me

Cédric Walter is a French-Swiss entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer based in Zurich, Switzerland. He spent his career developing software applications for Swiss insurance companies to handle billions of dollars in premiums. He cofounded Innoveo AG and as the software architect developed the no-code platform designed to reduce the manual coding that powers many software apps. As an active participant in the European hacking community, he works on many open source projects including blockchain. Cédric is a winner of multiple hackathons. His expertise include designing back end, event-based, and blockchain systems. Cédric is also the founded Disruptr GmbH, a software development company that offers full spectrum of services for businesses of all sizes.

JAVA full-stack developer since 2000, in Blockchain since 2017, Certified Scrum Master 2012, Corda Certified Developer in 2019, Ethereum smart contract expert in the SWISS Blockchain Security working group

Hackathons

  • HackZurich 2022 – Level Up in top 25 finalist among 134 submissions
  • SBHACK21 – SwiFi winner of best Solution on Algorand, overall Winner 3rd Prize, CV Labs Fast Track Ticket
  • HackZurich 2020 Europe’s Biggest Hackathon winner in category Migros
  • SBHACK19 – LendIt winner of Swiss biggest Blockchain Hackathon. On chain insurance and ledger for agricultural land soil.
  • Member of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland and Cryptovalley association Switzerland,

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