Remote Control FPV cockpit

cockpit

FPV flying, for how awesome it actually is, still consists of fiddling around with a remote control transmitter and either wearing video goggles or squinting into a screen. Awesome, yes, but not as cool as [Brett Hays]’s enclosed cockpit ground station. It’s a trailerable flight sim that allows you to have the same experience of flying an aircraft over your local terrain without actually leaving the ground.

The centerpiece for this build is a 42 inch flat screen TV that was picked up for $160. This was placed at the front of a large plywood and 2×2 box along with a computer joystick, throttle, and rudder controls.

The pots inside the controls needed to be switched out to match the resistance of the ones inside an oldĀ Futaba transmitter. From there, completing the the cockpit was just a matter of fabricating a few panels for a video switcher, gear retract lever, flaps. and RC radio settings.

It’s a truly amazing build and when placed on a trailer towed by [Brett]’s jeep, has the potential to be the closest thing to flying a manned aircraft you can get without a pilot’s license.

Videos of the cockpit in action below.

24 thoughts on “Remote Control FPV cockpit

  1. What’s a good solution for sending video back from the plane/UAV? Seems most easily accessible stuff is way too low bitrate for high def/high framerate video.

    1. Get a Ham Radio license and use an ATV transmitter. I’ve seen cheap little TX kits for around $100, to receive you just need a cable ready TV.

    2. The Aerial Robotics club at my university uses 5 GHz 802.11 (Wi-Fi) with a big dish on the ground and a nice omni antenna on the plane.

    3. Recently seen a video of a guy who used a 500mW wifi on board of the plane. Worked surprisingly well, there was low latency and the link quality was excellent. Range was rather low in that video because it was quoted to be below 500meters. Though he used 5.8ghz not 2.4ghz. There have even been experiments using 3g and 4g networks though that added some latency and quality is lower for obvious reasons

  2. Awesome project.

    It would be interesting to outfit the aircraft with some mems gyros and send that information back to the ground-based cockpit. With that data, you could drive some actuators, and have movement in the cockpit that would in part mimic what is going on with the plane (I’m thinking pitch and roll at the very least). It would make the operator’s immersion in the simulation even deeper.

    1. I’ve seen builds even using headtrackers on the video gloves and servos to move the camera around according to your head motion

  3. Love the project. Good thing its battery powered as I would probably never be seen again if it was hooked up to a constant power source. Two things that would be interesting though as possible additions: PV panels on the top of the trailer to extend run time and maybe an ambi-light clone to increase immersion even further.

  4. Extremely impressive and awesome project man. the only things I could see possible improvement on is using two cameras on the aircraft and a 3D TV. Better depth perception.

  5. Reminds me of my wheeled ROV days, only things played out much slower on my ground vehicle.
    Also I was limited to the range of the video transmitter I was using at the time.

    This project is breathtakingly cool!

  6. Now coat the inside of the cockpit with retro-reflective material so you can use a castAR with this when it comes out. That’s what I’m gonna do. :D

  7. Awesome. Really Awesome.

    Wishlist:
    1. One of these
    2. Add side monitors for peripheral vision
    3. Add computer with video streaming service so others can view from their phone
    4. Add ventilation fan

    Keep up the awesome!

  8. Don’t quit there, add a 6 degrees of motion base, Sound effects for rain &hail, grass hitting the wing tips when you run off the runway and maybe drip some glycerin on a hot plate to simulate a fire then you need the vent fan.

  9. FPV on RC planes has been around a while now. Just search videos on you tube. The most popular bands for FPV video are 900MHz, 1.3GHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. The catch is the fact you have to have a license (tech class ham in the U.S.) to use some of those frequencies over a certain Tx power. You don’t send digital video over them, it’s analog video with an OSD (on screen display) device onboard your plane, which you feed your camera into, it overlays the data display over the camera video and then to the planes video transmitter. The video you get on the ground is simply fed to some FPV goggles or an LCD screen. It already has the OSD information on it, i.e. the “terminator” looking flight data over your camera video. All the processing is done onboard your plane itself. All the hardware is actually very small and pretty cheap if you go with the chinese made stuff. The most popular planes for FPV are made of cheap foam and aren’t all that big. Some of the goggles have gyro’s in the them for head tracking, so when you turn your head on the ground, the camera on the plane follows where you are looking. You can also get R/C radio systems that are “two way” meaning control data gets sent to the plane, and the plane can send telemetry data (no video) back to the ground. But again, most just use the camera-OSD-tx-rx-goggles type setup.

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