/ Guide

Setting Up Beginner Flight Modes in CleanFlight/BetaFlight

This short guide takes you through how to setup your flight modes on CleanFlight and BetaFlight. The process is pretty simple and doesn't really vary between CleanFlight and BetaFlight. I will be using the FlySky FS-i6 radio here with the Wizard X220 Quadcopter.

Setting up the AUX channels on your radio

  • First things first, you have to map the 'input' channels to an 'output' channel on your radio.
  • Basically, all the switches and toggles on your radio are input channels and these can be mapped to Channel 1, Channel 2 etc. on your radio. For example, the throttle stick (input channel) is mapped to Channel 4 by default.
  • The first four channels are taken up by default with Roll, Pitch, Yaw and Throttle (the stick inputs) so you don't need to worry about these.
  • We care about Channel 5, 6 etc. which we can map to any switch/knob on our radio.
  • We are going to focus on two switches on the FlySky FS-i6 to cover the flight modes and the arming switch - SWA and SWC. These will be mapped to Channel 5 and 6 which correspond to AUX1 and AUX2 in BetaFlight.

  • We first go into the Menu on the FS-i6 by pressing and holding the 'OK' button. You then select the 'Functions Setup'.

  • We then scroll down to the 'AUX Channels' and hit 'OK' to enter the mapping screen.

  • This is where the magic happens. Here we select what switch we want to be mapped to Channel 5 and Channel 6 by pressing 'Up' and 'Down'.
  • As mentioned above, we are interested in SWA and SWC and so this is what we choose.
  • You save by (counter-intuitively) pressing and holding 'Cancel'.
  • We are going to set up Switch A to be the arming switch and Switch C to be the switch that controls my flight modes.

Setting up flight modes in BetaFlight

  • So now that we've got some switches on our radio mapped to AUX1 and AUX2, we can start setting up the flight modes in BetaFlight.
  • This procedure is pretty simple. Once you have connected your flight controller to BetaFlight (and powered up the receiver and radio) you go to the Modes tab and you will see several options in front of you.
  • We'll start with the top option of 'Arm'. We select this to correspond to AUX1 (i.e. Switch A) and you should see that when you move Switch A, the little orange line moves correspondingly.
  • You can the choose the range of this channel manually. Obviously, you want the 'active' range to cover no more than half of the entire range so that is the quadcopter is armed when Switch A is in one position, and disarmed when it is in the other.
  • When you turn on the radio, you will notice it requires every switch to be in the 'up' position. This should therefore be the disarm position i.e. the lower half of the 'Arm' range.

  • We can then move onto the flight modes. Now there are many different flight modes for you to choose from and so you should do some research into this area. Here, we are just going to set the Wizard to fly in 'Angle' mode by default (i.e. the top position of switch C), and also 'Horizon' and 'Air Mode'.
  • Switch C is AUX2 on BetaFlight, and so we select Air Mode, Angle and Horizon to be controlled by AUX2.
  • We then add separate active ranges for all of these ensuring that Angle mode is the default mode as mentioned above.
  • As we then move Switch C to the different positions, we see that in position 1 (default), it falls under Angle mode, in position 2 it's in Horizon mode and in position 3, it's in Air Mode.
  • Remember to hit 'Save' after you have completed this process.
  • So why these modes I hear you cry? In brief, they are a great starting point for beginners but here's a little more detail...
Angle Mode

The recommended mode for a beginner - the quad will self-level using the accelerometer and gyroscope and it won't let your quad spin in any direction past a certain angle (50 degrees by default). This is a great mode to learn to fly in and you can move on when you are extremely comfortable flying in this mode.

Horizon Mode

This is basically the 'intermediate' mode. It is a more acrobatic mode that offers you stabilisation when the sticks are near the centre but it also allows you to perform flips and stunts when you push the sticks to their endpoints.

Air Mode

This is the most advanced flight mode out of the three. Only fly in this mode when you are totally confident with the other two. If you are reading about flight modes, this is essentially Rate Mode with additional features (in this setup).

No Horizon Mode?

If for some reason you cannot see horizon mode in the flight modes tab, this is because the accelerometer has not been enabled within betaflight. Some people disable the accelerometer and only use the gyro as this saves some workload on teh MCU. But as a beginner I suggest you use horizon mode. To do this go to the Configuration tab, and make sure the Accelerometer option is enabled.


So that's the basics of setting up flight modes, let me know if you have any comments.