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UK Drone Registration Fee Lowered 🔻

CAA has published their latest updates to the controversial drone and model aircraft registration scheme. The annual fee has been reduced from £16.50 to £9 following an outcry from the [...]
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Caddx Kangaroo 🦘 Nano FPV Camera

I myself think the Ratel FPV camera is great and now Caddx have released a new camera that uses the same sensor (SONY STARVIS sensor), but now in a nano [...]
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One of TheFPV team pilots (SyncFPV) who’s day job is a game developer has been spending some time (when we would of otherwise been flying but cant because of the lockdown) working on some tweaks of his very own FPV simulator. And today is the day that its polished enough to release to the world.

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About a year ago Happymodel introduced the mobula7, a 75x brushless whoop that quickly become very popular as it bought impressive performance to the table for a very reasonable price. Since then, Happymodel have released a few other quads like the Mobula7 HD which brings back some customer support nightmares for us (the first version of this was basically a time-bomb as it used an under rated ESC for the motors). They then released two toothpick class quads, the Sailfly which was meh, and the larva X which although decent, did not realy stand out. But its the end of 2019 and Happymodel have released a new 65x brushless whoop, and on paper it seems ideal, read on to find out what we think.

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If you have taken the plunge and acquired the DJI HD FPV system, you are no doubt having a blast flying with crystal clear 720p video. As awesome as it is, there are a few things that will make your experience even better, so this article will point out a few extra accessories you may want to get to make it even better.

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CAA has published their latest updates to the controversial drone and model aircraft registration scheme. The annual fee has been reduced from £16.50 to £9 following an outcry from the industry. Here is a quick summary of the key facts you need to know:

  • Registration open from 5th November. Becomes law and is mandatory from 30th November 2019
  • If you are part of an approved association (FPV UK, BMFA etc…) you will not need to register directly with the CAA (more details below)
  • You will need to pass a 20 question online competency test
  • If you already have a CAA permission, or CAA approved association achievement certificate you will not need to complete the online competency test.
  • Two types of registration
    • Flyer ID – Anyone who wants to fly a drone or model aircraft over 250g (under 20Kg) will need to register to get a Flyer ID. This is free
    • Operator ID – Anyone who is responsible for a drone or model aircraft over 250g (under 20Kg) will need to register and use your operator ID on all drones and model aircraft. This is renewable annually and costs £9 per year.
  • This only applies within the UK, if flying outside UK you will need to consult with relevant governing bodies for rules and regulations.

Where do I register?

From 5th of November 2019 you will be able to register at https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/

Members of existing CAA approved organisations

You will not need to register directly with the CAA if you are a current member of ARPAS-UK, BFMA, SAA, LMA and FPV UK. With permission [of individual members], the associations will collect the registration fee from members directly and supply their data to the CAA. This will take place initially by 31 January 2020 and an exemption from the need to register will be put in place by 30 November to cover association members until then.

Read more about this on the CAA website – https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Our-role/Drone-and-model-aircraft-registration/

What is next?

At the moment there is no need for some of the more unreasonable requirements such as requiring an ADS-B Transponder, or geofencing on any aircraft over 250g. IT is also great to see that many of the model aircraft associations are fighting hard to get an acreement with the CAA.

We are grateful to the Secretary of State for Transport for his direct intervention in this matter which has allowed us to negotiate a more acceptable outcome for our community whilst enabling us to establish a much stronger relationship with the CAA and DfT in the process.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our members for their support of our campaign which was backed up by a significant number of MP’s, the wider aviation community, the APPG for General Aviation and our special advisers (Cliff Whittaker and Roger Hopkinson MBE).  It is very much a case of ‘United we Achieve’.

BFMA CEO David Phipps

So going forward we all hope to see some more positive agreements that allow us to enjoy the hobby while still giving authorities appropriate power to protect the public from bad operators.

So a few days after I shared my comments on what I think about Fatshark vs DJI for HD FPV, my main argument against Fatshark is that we did not have much details nor did we know when it will be released. Well that changed when Fatshark announced more details and that they are shipping out beta units this week. Lets take a look.

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you would of come across the DJI HD system released a couple weeks ago so I will not go into too many details of this. This article is for you if you have already decided you want to take the plunge into digital FPV, but not sure which system to buy, or if you should wait to see what is around the corner. Read on to find out.

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Despite the controversy the Jumper T16 has caused many of us think it is one of the best R/C radios you can get for the price. It runs a fork of the OpenTX firmware, renamed to JumperTX, but this has caused some issues when it comes to firmware updates that I wanted to address in this article.

A brief explainer

OpenTX is largely sponsored by Frsky (they pay some of the developers), when jumper came along to use this open source firmware, Frksy got upset and have come out to say that they will not support Jumper. Opinions aside, since its an open source project Jumper have forked it and started JumperTX so that their radios will be supported. Although the firmware are largely identical there are a few minor differences to make sure JumperTX works on jumper radios.

OpenTX Companion for firmware update is not officially supported yet

Some guides and video on the internet show that you can update the T16 using openTX companion app. This sometimes works, but Jumper have officially come out to say that you must not do this right now as it is not supported. Also do not try to flash OpenTX onto your radio as this will cause it to get stuck on the splash screen when turning on. Fortunately its an easy fix as explained here, That aside, lets go on to show the correct way to update the firmware on your radio via the bootloader method

Download the files from Jumper

Go to the jumper downloads portal, here you can download the firmware files, manual and SC card contents. Here you must download the following:

  • SD Card Contents zip
  • Firmware file (.BIN)
    • Download the FLEX file if using the 868Mhz R9 long range module
    • Download the regular one for the 2.4Ghz module that is included with the T16

If your native language is not English, there are some other languages available too such as FR, DE, CZ, so download the corresponding file.

Once downloaded, put the .Bin file onto the SD card in the FIRMWARE folder. Also it is a good idea to rename the file to something shorter as for some reason if the filename is too long, the radio cant detect it. I renamed mine to T16223.bin which worked fine. If you do not have an SD card reader, you can also load it into the radio via a USB cable once it is in bootloader mode, as shown in the next section.

Enter Bootloader Mode

To enter bootloader mode you need to perform the 3 finger salute. This is done by first pressing the two trim buttons inwards (shown below as 1.), then while still holding them in, turn the radio on via the power button (shown below as 2.)

One the radio enters bootloader mode you will see the following screen:

Now the radio will start in bootloader mode, when you connect your USB cable your PC will detect it as a USB device so you can move the firmware.bin file to the FIRMWARE folder. As mentioned before you might need to rename the file to something shorter for the radio to detect it in the next step. Its best to keep the name below 8 characters just to be safe.

Backup your models

If you already have a bunch of models setup on your radio, it is a good idea to backup your models now incase something goes wrong. You can do this via the OpenTX Companion app.

To do this turn the radio on in bootloader mode, open the OpenTX companion app, read the radio settings, and save them to file.

Flash the new firmware

Make sure your radio is at least 80% charged before flashing new firmware onto it

With the firmware files located in the FIRMWARE folder, turn the radio on into bootloader mode, and select write firmware option on teh screen. Then select the firmware.bin file you put on it and start flashing. After about 30-60 seconds it should be complete, be patient.

Once done, restart your radio and go to the version tab which will show the firmware version on your radio. To get there, hold the SYS button to open the menu, then press the page button to navigate to the version tab.

Load the SD card contents

The last step is to load the SD card contents onto the SD card. This is important as the radio uses these files to work properly. And without them the radio may not turn on properly. You do not need to always update teh SD card contents, especialy when upgrading minor firmware versions. But if you have a warning, or the radio will not turn on, then its a good idea to load the new SD card contents onto it.

If you are using custom files like a voice pack, you should back this up to put back onto the SD card after loading the new contents. With the files backed up:

  1. Please completely delete ALL files on the SD card
  2. Format the SD card
  3. Load the new SD card contents back onto the SD card
  4. If your radio turns on without any warnings, load the extra files back onto the SD card

And that it, now you have the latest firmware on your radio. Hopefully this article has helped, and if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know on our friendly forums as this hobby is all about helping eachother out. Happy Flying!

I myself think the Ratel FPV camera is great and now Caddx have released a new camera that uses the same sensor (SONY STARVIS sensor), but now in a nano form factor (14x14mm). Another fun bonus is that the camera has a interchangeable shell that lets you mount it as a 19x19mm or 14x14mm camera. Other key features are super low latency (4ms) and a nice glass lens. The camera also weighs just 3.5g.

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Happymdel have been working away on another toothpick style quadcopter (Larva X), and a new whoop flight controller (crazybee V3). Lets take a look at them in some more details.

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Both Runcam and Foxeer have two nano size cameras on the market that boast features compatible to full size cameras, both are also around a similar price point so it is logical to compare them directly head to head to see which one you will prefer. Let takes a closer look

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