Review: Fatshark 101 -This is the best way to learn how to fly FPV
If you have ever wanted to get into FPV drone flying then the FatShark 101 drone training system is something you need to look into. This might just be the best beginner all-in-one FPV drone you can buy. You’ll get the drone, remote, goggles, race gates, a simulator and more for about $250. It’s all and you will get it all from the top name in the FPV business, FatShark.
FatShark 101, a turnkey solution
One of the most frustrating parts about the drone hobby is getting everything set up. Most drones don’t come with a remote or goggles, so you typically need to purchase all three components separately. Not all remotes and drones are compatible, so you’ll have to make sure whatever receiver your drone has will work with the remote you chose. Sometimes you have to buy and solder the receiver to make it work. Are you intimidated yet?
Assuming everything is compatible you will then have to go through a process to get everything bound and connected. Once you have figured out how to do that you’ll need to connect your drone to BetaFlight and make sure all the switches are set up and the drone is properly tuned. Even when all of this goes smoothly it is still a process. FatShark has done all of this for you already.
What is the FatShark 101 Training System?
The FatShark 101 starts with the drone itself. It is a small, brushed quadcopter with a 5.8 GHz camera that has a 25 mW transmitter. It has the right amount of thrust for a beginner. It isn’t overly powerful, but it isn’t a dog either. The camera is not angled but rather it is pointed straight forward. This is good when you are learning to fly FPV but unfortunately cannot be adjusted. That isn’t ideal for an advanced flyer but will be just fine for a beginner.
FatShark has included two batteries with the 101 training system. This is definitely a bonus since you will rip through them pretty quickly. I am not a big fan of how they connect to the quad. One of my two batteries tends to fall off. A bit of tape is a quick fix. In general, flyig FPV takes a lot of practice. FatShark has some excellent tutorial videos to help you along the way.
The FatShark 101 Remote
Not all drones come with remotes. I have already mentioned that the process of getting a remote bound to a racing quad is a hassle. FatShark has eliminated that problem by getting it all set up for you. The included remote has a solid feel and the sticks are responsive. It has a switch to arm and disarm the drone as well as a rate switch to change from beginner to intermediate and advanced modes. It is a FlySky-compatible remote, so you can also fly any drone with a compatible FlySky receiver.
FatShark 101 Flight Modes
Beginner mode is the typical self-leveling “angle” mode. Most drones that you fly will operate in this manner. This is definitely how you want to fly the FatShark 101 at first. The beginner mode has a fairly tame angle limit, effectivly limiting how fast you can fly. The default setting is excellent for beginners.
Switching to intermediate mode will remove the self-leveling feature and put the drone in a limited version of rate or “acro” mode. As a pilot that isn’t a pro acro flyer, I really appreciate this intermediate acro mode. It really helps to learn how to fly acro mode without having the super-sensitive controls that are common in acro mode.
Acro mode is how the professional pilots and drone racers fly. It allows for more freedom and control. You can do flips, rolls and other tricks in acro mode. The advanced mode on the Fat Shark 101 is full acro mode and gives you the freedom to fly without limitations. If you want to do flips or rolls you will have to be in the full acro mode. The intermediate mode isn’t sensitive enough to pull off tricks. I’d also recommend some more aggressive Ladybird props for a bit more responsiveness and thrust. Pick them up here.
Using a Simulator
I highly recommend you fly in a simulator before you attempt to fly in either of the two acro modes (intermediate or advanced). The controls are different and take some time to learn. Thankfully, you get a subscription to the DRL simulator ($20 value) with the purchase of your FatShark 101 training system. The DRL simulator is an excellent way to hone your skills either in angle (beginner) or acro (advanced) modes. You can gain valuable skills by practicing in a simulator and not risk damaging your drone.
Learning to fly means you will crash. Crashing means you will have to do drone repairs. It happens. It is inevitable. The simulator can help you avoid a lot of costly repairs. The best part is that you can use the included remote so you can practice on familiar equipment.
FatShark 101 Extras
Once you’ve logged enough time in the simulator you can try the real thing. You may want to pick up some additional batteries so you can practice for longer. FatShark included gates and obstacles for you to practice with. Start flying line of sight before you put on the FPV goggles. Once you are comfortable on how the drone responds it is time to gear up. The goggles sit comfortably and give you a first-hand view from the front of your drone. These goggles are pretty nice and are better than most budget goggles you will get with cheaper kits.
They can’t record so, unfortunately, you won’t be able to record your flights without picking up a different set of goggles that include a DVR (digital video recorder). If you want an inexpensive way to record your flights check this out. Once you get hooked you may want to upgrade to a pair of FatShark goggles with a built-in DVR like these.
In addition to the full all-in-one FatShark 101 training system, you will also get a membership to AMA or the Acadamy of Model Aeronautics. This gives you access to a lot of information and you can use it to network as well as find places to fly. You can also get discounted insurance through AMA. This is a nice bonus.
Should you get the FatShark 101?
While I really like the FatShark 101 system, I do have a short list of potential improvements. I really wish the camera angle was adjustable. Once you learn to fly you’ll want to angle the camera upward or you’ll be staring at the ground when the drone pitches forward. The other improvement is the propeller choice. I feel like it could benefit from some more aggressive propellers. This would give it a little more punch and maybe make it slightly more responsive. I recommend these Ladybird props. I also wish the goggles had a DVR but that isn’t realistic at this price point.
The FatShark 101 is probably the best beginner all-in-one FPV package you can buy. It isn’t cheap, but it is well put together. If you are looking for a less expensive option I’d recommend taking a look at the Eachine E013. This is a smaller, inexpensive all-in-one FPV package. It isn’t nearly as nice as the Fat Shark 101 package, but the E013 can be flown indoors and will only set you back about $100. In the Eachsine E013 packate you’ll get the drone, remote and goggles for FPV flying. Take a closer look at the E013 here or buy one from Amazon here.
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What Is the BEST Drone?
So what is the absolute best drone out there? That question isn’t as easy to answer as you’d think. BUT…for most people the answer is the DJI Mavic Air. It is portable, has an awesome camera and excellent flight modes. Learn more about the Mavic Air HERE.
What Is Our FAVORITE Drone?
The Mavic Air is great but the drone that has us excited to go fly the most right now is the Parrot Anafi. The camera and gimbal setup on this drone allow it to do things that no other drone can. Plus, having the ability to zoom in on what you are filming is priceless. Learn more about the Parrot Anafi HERE.
What Drone Is the Best VALUE?
The best value on the market today has to be the DJI Spark. Now under $400, this little dynamo can do things that once upon a time cost over $1000. Learn more about the DJI Spark HERE. Still too much money for you? There are still some great options. Check out our list of the best drones under $200.
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If you want to learn more about taking great pictures or flying FPV then check out our comprehensive guides on those topics. Also, take a look at our articles on how to choose the right drone for great aerial photos or for getting started flying race drones. Learn more about drones and how to get the most out of them in our Drone Academy. In the Academy, we also detail some of the advanced testing we do including drone thrust testing and camera quality testing.
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